Within two days of taking up her first job at Persistent Systems, a software firm in Pune, Neha Katkar, 22, knew that she had already fit in. Katkar's confidence did not stem from her 4-year engineering degree in computer science, but from a three-month course at a skill development company.
"The course prepared me for my job. Nowadays companies use new software, which I did not learn in college," said Katkar, who graduated last year. "The short course also included some industry projects, which was hands-on training that I had never had before. I learned how to make a presentation and developed other soft skills. On the first day of my job, I was already accustomed to the corporate culture."
Over the past three years, several skill development companies have come up across India. They bridge the gap between academics and industry requirements. According to NASSCOM, only one in four engineering graduates in the country is employable based on his/her technical skills, fluency in English, teamwork and presentation skills.
"It is a very nascent industry (skills development). The oldest player would probably be four years in the business," said Girish Singhania, 28, who started Edubridge in 2009. Based in Mahim, Singhania, an IIM graduate, has 40 companies using his services.
"College education gives you knowledge of a subject, but it does not train you for a specific sector. For instance, a BPO job requires a typing speed of 40 words a minute. No graduate learns that in class. We equip them with skills for the job," said Singhania.