Development of career skills when still in academia

Rashik Riasat | Published: September 05, 2018 21:02:17 | Updated: September 06, 2018 16:42:44

Students lining up for enrollment for the Brand Management course arranged by Skill Hunt —Old photo collected from Facebook page

For most of the entry level jobs in Bangladesh, academic expertise is overly glorified while practical skills are broadly overlooked. As a result, there is always a gap between academic development and career or job-oriented skill development in young professionals. With this view in mind, Skill Hunt, a student-focused skill development-training platform in Bangladesh, has embarked upon a mission to bridge this gap. They have been providing practical, skill centred, and competency-based training programmes dedicated specifically for university students in Bangladesh.

Shahoria Ahmed, founder and president of Skill Hunt, discussed about the company's inception, initiatives, value delivery, challenges and future plans.

About Skill Hunt

On July 11, 2017, Shahoria Ahmed had a meeting with some of his friends and juniors about the idea of  training. They all agreed that there was a significant gap between academic learning and job relevant skills. To bridge that gap, they all decided that they should start working on it. Within less than a month, that idea gathered a group of people who would give their everything to bring that idea to reality. Eventually, on August 05, they launched their first course on Graphic Design. The goal was to create a low price training platform for students in Bangladesh. Right now, it has just crossed one year and it has already become very popular for its student-friendly system.

'Skill Hunt' is designed for university students. They have so far excelled in providing services at a very cheap rate. It is the country's first training platform designed for university students. In other words, they are specialised in training university students. The core value they are adding to the students is hands-on education. They are encouraging them to learn practically, appreciate their innovative ideas and believe in their self-employment efforts. Corporate professionals instruct the programmes of Skill Hunt and they take the participants close to their relevant work fields. 

The journey so far and current engagements

Every month, they are offering two training programmes. Until now, they have completed several seasons on Digital Marketing, Brand Management, Video Editing, Graphic Design, PowerPoint and Advanced Excel. Within one year, they have trained more than two thousand students. Now, they are working at the University of Dhaka, particularly at the Faculty of Business Studies.

Right now, the classes of Digital Marketing course are going on and the registration is going on for PowerPoint and Animation courses. They are also conducting some surveys on students to understand what they want to learn and how they want to learn.

Problems and challenges

Having to operate an up-and-coming organisation, the founder considers time management to be his biggest personal challenge: "Time is very limited. I wish I could get more than 24 hours a day to work! At the end of the day when I reflect back on what I have done throughout the day, I see I have only finished 60-70 per cent of the work I planned to complete. However, I understand this is an age of smart work and I am trying to work strategically by emphasising the importance of time management." The whole team also shares the workload and aims to move fast and achieve new milestones.

Why Skill Hunt and not online courses instead?

Although there are plenty of skill development courses available online, there are distinct reasons why Skill Hunt offers much better according to their team. Firstly, online training is not interactive. It cannot ensure two-way communication, which is essential in learning. Secondly, most of the tutorials and online courses are made in the English language, creating a language barrier. Thirdly, Internet does not have the ability to replace the concept 'feel and touch', which is very important in training. In addition, it fails to create the environment required for training.

Responses from the students

So far, they have been successful from their very first course, "Graphic Design course (Season-1)," the registration of which had to be closed three days prior to the deadline. The founder said, "The response we are getting from the students is notable. Our teachers are responding very positively about our initiative."

Few of the students who attended the training sessions of Skill hunt expressed their thoughts. Sharif, an undergraduate student, who took part in the Digital Marketing course said, "I think Skill Hunt is providing a great platform for students to learn skills that are equally important as academics. I do not think I would have done an online course on Digital Marketing. So had I not taken this course offered by Skill Hunt, I would not have learned so many aspects of the highly important skill, digital marketing".

Another student, Ibrahim, from the University of Dhaka, said, "I wish to work on Data Analytics in the future and hence learning Microsoft Excel is of utmost importance to me. I do not get to learn that in my department unless there are some topics about it. Therefore, I enrolled in this course offered by Skill Hunt and it helped me a lot. At least I learned the basics and some of the applications of Excel."

Future work plan

They have plans to reach out to every university in Bangladesh in near future. "I believe, one day students will get everything they want from Skill Hunt. Our top management is working day and night for our expansion plans. And very soon we are going to get complete reports," said Shahoria Ahmed.

The writer is a first-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at rashikriasat404@gmail.com

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