What is that one challenge that college graduates and freshers from Tier II and Tier III cities face when they come to metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi or Chennai for employment?” asks Rajib Chowdhury, co-founder of Paathshala Learning Solutions (PLS), an educational solutions initiative that focuses on taking development to the grassroots through its employability skills, rural BPO and entrepreneurship programmes in the tier 2 and 3 cities of India. “We work on their Spoken English, competencies, and functional skills such as customer orientation and sales, etc,” answers the 44 year-old, who has worked in senior leadership positions in corporates.
PLS, which Chowdhury founded with 35 year-old Sonal Seth in March this year, began with a discussion on how the gap between competency in the college campus and the corporate world affects both, businesses and professionals. “Both Sonal and I are from the corporate sector and we wanted to start something of our own. We wanted to help the youth of India. At PLS, we work on the lines of taking development to grassroots. We have tie ups with colleges as well as individual signs ups,” says Chowdhury.
PLS has two programmes — Yogya and Setu — which span over four to six weeks and cost Rs 3,000-5,000. The Yogya programme offers a 60-hour course on understanding the concept of values and confidence building — which includes conversational English, body language, written and email etiquette — and skill building. “These activity sessions give them an edge.
The USP of the programme is that it is completely experiential in nature. It works on each individual’s unique skill set and capacity to absorb information. That makes the learning long term and sustainable,” says Chowdhury.
Meanwhile, Setu, a 120-hour programme, focuses on improving the placement percentage in institutions. “It is designed to transform the student’s attitude, behaviour and skills to make them an organisation’s best choice,” explains Chowdhury. PLS is also working towards creating franchisees to expand their centres across India, and a BPO programme in the rural areas. The programmes involve group discussions, roleplay, mock interviews, public speaking assignments and interactive question-answer sessions.
“The emphasis is largely on English, conducted not in a classroom but in human labs. We have one facilitator for around 25 students. Students learn from each other and from their own mistakes through discussions and exercises,” says Chowdhury, who recently finished a Yogna programme with BSc and Msc students of biotechnology at Vidya School of Biotechnology, Baramati. Today, they have six facilitators and have worked with 60 students all over Maharashtra. “The aim is to have centres across the country,” signs off Chowdhury.