After realising that there is a huge gap between what students are taught in colleges, and the kind of work they are expected to do once they join the corporate world, Vijay Pentareddy decided to quit his job and start a training centre for skill development. A resident of Hyderabad, Vijay started Lastmile Solutions, now known as Lastmile Finishing School, as a training centre in an empty cellar at his house. After years of facing extreme hurdles in terms of finances, today he has become a ray of hope for many students who are struggling to find jobs.
He now has a team of seven trainers and with them he trains gradates, post graduates and corporates about the basics of employability, what needs to be done once you get the job, what needs to be done before you get the job, where to find these jobs, and more. They are trained in communications skills and personality development. With a placement rate of his centre being 80-90%, he has helped more than 600 students get placed in different multinational companies.
Many of these students come from financially weak backgrounds, and Vijay offers them concession in fee. He trains in small groups of 25 students so each student receives adequate attention.
But this was not where he decided to stop. In 2011, Vijay started a Facebook group named Kaizen with the aim of helping those who were not coming to his centre.
“Back then, students were going to consultancies for guidance and also to gain information on job prospects because they did not have much time to go through the different newspapers. All these consultations were charged. That is when I thought – why not use Facebook where students can get obtain such information free of cost. Now, instead of going to job portals, many students prefer to come to this group where they get all information at one place,” he says.
The group started by collecting information about job opportunities from different sources and posting them on Facebook. And it grew organically, turning out to be a huge success. Today, Kaizen has 25,000 members. It offers job updates, videos on interview techniques, counselling to students who need it and more.
According to Vijay, nearly 4,000 students have found jobs with the help of Kaizen, free of cost. Currently, the target users for him are MBA graduates.
“Many students write to us asking for help related to interviews, required skill sets etc. Some even say that they want to commit suicide because they are unable to find a job or to cope with the stress at work. We try and counsel them, showing the right direction,” he says.
Vijay did his B.Tech at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad and then went to USA for higher education. After completing his MS in Computers, he joined Accenture. He identified the lack of knowledge among freshers when he was working with Wipro and was heading a project there.
This was when he discovered that 90 per cent of the freshers were lacking basic skills in the industry.
Through Kaizen he chats with students every day, reading about their doubts and clarifying them with his experience. The students also interact with each other and share their experiences of writing exams, group discussions, personal interviews, etc.
“Every student can be trained to be able to get jobs. One cannot just put a label on them and say that only these many students are employable and the rest are not. It is not about employability or the student. It is about how we train students and guide them in the proper direction,” he concludes.
You can join the group by contacting Vijay on Facebook, here.