Bridging gaps, Building lives

To make ends meet and to provide a relief to his working mother, Ebrem took up a few low-paying jobs in a private bank and a knowledge processing outsourcing company.
Shobha Katuru
Shobha Katuru

CHENNAI: Co Ebrem, a 29-year-old data engineer, is a happy man these days, and it’s not all about the wedding he just had. After years of burning the midnight oil and graduating as an aeronautical engineer from a private college in Perambalur, Ebrem did not land the job of his dreams, for no company participated in the campus recruitment process.

To make ends meet and to provide a relief to his working mother, Ebrem took up a few low-paying jobs in a private bank and a knowledge processing outsourcing company. However, this resident of Tiruchy was able to tide over the crisis with the help of interventions made by an edutech startup Nxtwave, founded by alumni of IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur, and IIIT-Hyderabad along with a team of graduates from premier institutions across the country.


With its programmes, Nxtwave aims to bridge the gap between college education and what the industry expects, by upskilling students, mostly from tier 2, 3 and 4 towns and make them employable in Industry 4.0 technologies. Founded during the pandemic last year, the startup stands out among its competitors with programmes to all candidates irrespective of educational background and imparting training in vernacular languages.

“I got training in Tamil and was able to grasp the concepts quickly,” said an elated Ebrem. Engineering graduates, Dhivakar Balasubramanian from Chennai and Siva Subramanian from Ambasamudram, also had similar stories to share. Similarly, with Nxtwave’s intervention, Shobha Katuru, daughter of a small-time farmer, became the first person from her village in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore to land a job in an IT company.

A topper in Class 10, Shobha got a free college seat based on her results. She took her uncle’s help to convince her family to be sent off to college. In a post on LinkedIn, she wrote, “During the pandemic, I joined an online course and started studying at home. I didn’t have a laptop, so I used an old phone. Internet connection was weak in the village in the evenings. So, I used to wake up early, go to the terrace for better signals and finish my classes by afternoon. During interviews, my cousin lent me his phone and data pack.”

“People didn’t understand my stubbornness for studying. They thought it’s useless for a girl. But, they no longer think this way,” wrote Shobha. According to various findings, over 60 per cent of young graduates remain unemployed across the country. The remaining settle for lower salaries, despite an abundance of opportunities, as forecast by the World Economic Forum, that 13.3 crore new jobs will be created by 2022 in Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science, cyber security, internet of things (IoT), augmented and virtual realities.

Girish Akash, Vice President of NxtWave, said money comes in from the nominal registration fees paid by candidates. While bootcamps are offered free, the maximum fee per programme is `75,000. According to data shared by the team, in the last four months, at least 1,000 of its students have landed jobs in over 180 companies, including Amazon, Accenture, IBM, Bank of America, TCS, and Deloitte, among others. The startup also claims to have sensitised over two lakh students from 3,000 colleges across the country on 4.0 technologies and career opportunities.

Are there specific programmes for the underprivileged from tier 3 and 4 locations? The startup is conducting 4.0 online boot camps which anyone can attend, said Akash.

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