Recently, we interacted with Shantanu Rooj, Founder and CEO, TeamLease Edtech, and asked him about his vision for the education industry, and how they are disrupting this space with innovation and ideas.
Here are the highlights of the interview:
- How TeamLease Edtech was conceptualized and what makes it stand out from other edtech players in the market?
TeamLease EdTech was formed with the mission of Making India Employable. While digitalising a large number of public and private universities and hundreds and thousands of students, we realised that most of the degrees offered by our universities in distance and online mode failed the student when it came to employability. Higher education is expected to work as a pathway leading people to making their careers; but most of the universities and colleges haven’t delivered the type of outcome that students expect. We realised that based on our experience of working with a large number of employers across industry segments, we can help universities create courses and programs that would be at the intersection of education and employment. These hybrid programmes would include formal degree from the university and skill building through on job training – this can help improve the employability for these programs significantly.
On the other hand we work with a large number of employers and help them create long term sustainable talent supply chains, improve productivity of their employees and reduce attrition of talent. TeamLease EdTech is amongst a handful of B2B tech companies in the country who are profitable and are making an impact at scale. We sincerely believe that the innovation of TeamLease Edtech has the potential to change the face of higher education in the country in the next few years.
- Again, going from 100 to 1000 is a whole different story. What are the key strategies that you have been following since the beginning? You can also include any tie-up/partnership.
The business is divided into three identifiable parts:
· Education – we partner with large reputed universities and help them design, develop and deliver online degree programs. Our services range from marketing services, learning and academic services, student support services, online assessment services and employability services. We are in the process of partnering with a large number of universities across the country and expanding our university base and learner numbers
· Employability – we help our partner universities design and deliver work-integrated modular degree programs. These programs are an innovation as they are co-created in partnership with employers. The students receive the academic knowledge from the university using an online platform and get the on-job training from the employer. We are in the process of signing up with a large number of universities rolling out these innovative programs as per the UGC guidelines. We are also approaching the state governments to adopt this initiative that can have a cathartic effect on graduate employability in their states – we have signed an MoU with the State of Telangana and are in the process of signing a few more of them.
· Continued Employability – We are working with a large number of employers (approx 1000) across 17 industry segments to help them improve productivity and improve resilience. Upskilling and reskilling provides a competitive edge to an organisation – TeamLease EdTech, through its partnership with universities, is helping employers achieve their goals.
- As per recently launched TeamLease Edtech Career Outlook Report, the inclination of companies to hire freshers continues to be on an upward trajectory. Can you shed some light on the role of skilling and upskilling will play in this regard?
The war for talent has been a perpetual one! But hiring lateral talents is becoming expensive and counterproductive; the great resignation movement heralded a mad rush to hire lateral talents at unsustainable costs. But owing to a high attrition rate and uncertain productivity levels, this is definitely not working for the employers any more. This is where companies will need to think creatively; starting with changes to recruitment style and creating their own strategic talent supply chains. A definitely sustainable way to deal with a shortage of qualified team is for firms to manufacture their own employees by participating in the qualification framework themselves. A successful partnership with a few good universities to co-create programs that can equip the students with the academic knowledge and the industry skill can definitely make the hiring process predictable and resilient. By beginning to invest in creating new touchpoints for the potential hire, companies can build a long term competitive advantage for themselves. This means forecasting hiring trends, as well as being open and flexible to new working models.
- Talking about one of the interesting offerings of TeamLease Edtech. What is the significance of employability linked degree programmes for students and how the company is leading this revolution and enabling universities to drive guaranteed employability among fresh graduates?
Degree Apprenticeship (which is at the intersection of education and employability) is set to become a flagship product for the brand catering to all stakeholders – employer, student and university. Today, the degree apprenticeship program has 32,000 students enrolled, across 14 universities, with 650 employers on boarding these apprentices; 99% of the learners are employer funded for even their course fees. The apprentices earn an average stipend of 9500 per month. In the next 1 year, TLE is expecting to on-board 80,000 degree apprenticeship students (hopeful to reach 1 lakh students by early next FY). Currently, TLE is partnered with 40 universities and are aggressively expanding this base. From a corporate perspective, they are partnered with 500 corporates and aim to expand this to 900 companies by FY23 end.
We believe that this product of TeamLease EdTech shall revolutionise the higher education industry. These programs are unique as they signify:
· Learning while doing (Work-integrated learning)
· Learning with Earning (Stipend every month)
· Learning with flexibility (learn at your own pace)
· Learning with modularity (Multiple entry and exits)
· Learning with higher signalling value (signals degrees with employable skills)
- How the company is leveraging technology to achieve its mission of ‘Making India Employable’?
TeamLease EdTech is a digital first company. We operate multiple tech platforms which are interwoven into each other.
· UMS – This is our Multi-university student life-cycle management platform
· Digivarsity – Our AI driven metaverse enables learning platform
· TrainerPortal – Our trainer engagement platform
· Qurio – Our online examination platform
· Optara – Our virtual employment exchange
These platforms offer a seamless experience to our learners.
- Tell us about future plans of the company and what’s the milestones you are looking to reach?
In the next 4-5 years’ time, we believe that we would like to partner with about 100 reputed universities and 5000 Employers and have five million students on our platform. This shall help us make a great impact on the country by improving the GER of the nation, improving graduate employability at scale without the need of creating physical infrastructure and having created a large pipeline of employable and skilled resources for the formal sector.