I believe that all of us are interns all our lives.: Piyush Srivastava, CEO, Internshape


In this interview segment, we have Mr. Piyush Srivastava, CEO of Internshape, talking about Internshape’s journey, how it all started, how Internhsape is helping people be job-ready? What kind of soft skills and professional skills will interns get to learn? And what role does it play in this fast-changing business environment?

Can you brief our readers about your initiative – Internshape?

Internshape is an endeavor to make people job-ready. Our primary focus is on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where opportunities are minimal. The students in metros get various opportunities, have multiple career options and gain exposure to corporate culture because they live in places where industries and offices are concentrated, which is not in the case of smaller cities and towns.

Frankly speaking, making people job-ready is the task of the system. The existing education system is outdated. Lord Macaulay formed this system to graduate clerks who could serve the British. Thankfully, our culture is such that it allows us to create excellence with our initiatives. From computers to IT revolutions, architecture, agriculture, or even space technology, this country’s prowess is acknowledged and accepted around the globe. An example would be Parag rising to the level of Twitter’s CEO at the age of 37.

A firm building can not stand without a strong base, and internships play a crucial role in creating a strong base for any professional career. The Government of India’s initiative – National Education Policy, 2020- also emphasizes internships, explicitly stating that they are essential for professionals. With our initiative, we are doing precisely the same job of building a strong foundation for tomorrow’s professionals.

How are people made job-ready by Internshape?

We start the journey with students very early in their life. Due to a lack of guidance and exposure, students have little clarity about their interests, career options, and future plans. At an early stage in their career, after high school or graduation, we make them do small projects, which we call Internships. These internships help them explore their interest areas and further opportunities in the field.

In the next step, we have- Simulated projects based on industries’ needs. In this fast-changing environment, curriculum and faculty may not be updated with new and upcoming technologies such as smart cities, data analytics, digital marketing, coding, and many more. Therefore, we create simulated projects of such vital topics for students.

With our two-way approach- one is domain knowledge, and the other is soft skills, students can build a career of their choice. At Internshape, dedicated coaches are assigned to observe a student’s strengths and weaknesses and guide accordingly. Many students are very good at academic knowledge but lack soft skills like teamwork, communication, and presentation. We equip our students with all necessary soft skills and provide Industry Live projects for industry experience and practical knowledge.

These are the steps that make a person genuinely job-ready. And when I say ‘job-ready,’ I mean life-ready. It does not only imply readiness for jobs but also learning skills, like action planning, Problem Solving, thinking out of the box, and teamwork, through experience. Today, some people do not want to take up jobs for the rest of their lives, and youngsters are willing to take risks and explore the new possibilities life has for them. We are trying to enable them to take such initiatives. 

So much emphasis is being put on hands-on training. What sets apart a person who has hands-on training from someone who does not know when to make a break in the industry?

It’s an excellent question. It has been repeatedly proven that real education comes from experience. That is why Internshape’s pedagogy is “Do – Learn.” Our courses provide lectures as well as emphasize on doing projects, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Today’s environment demands more than classroom learning and a couple of degrees. As data suggests, 47% of the workforce in India is millennial, which means almost half of its population is young. Connect it with the fact that about 53% of the engineers and 40-42% of MBAs are not employable as per the CII Skill Report (December 2021). One of the reasons for this situation is the quality of education. After education became private, dozens of institutes have emerged to ensure that students just pass the exams. Now, engineers and MBAs are being churned out like products in a factory. But what do they know about life beyond their course? A person who lacks soft skills like teamwork, communication, time management, and other professional skills will be a misfit for employability.

 We believe that learning by doing is the most effective way to have skills that will pave the way for individuals to get employed because experiential learning can give them many things like confidence, domain knowledge, other job skills like action planning, working in teams, etc. That is why we emphasize hands-on training through internships.

Who are the people who can benefit from the courses at Internshape?

The students who are studying the area of their interest will obviously benefit. Graduates who haven’t been placed yet will benefit. The people who are working will also benefit as these courses will help them realize their true potential. In current rapidly changing times, one person hoping for three or four divergent career options is not uncommon.

I believe that all of us are interns all our lives, and learning continues. Internshape will be beneficial to anybody who wants to learn at any point in their lives.

How do you see the future of jobs, and how do you train your students accordingly?

I am very fascinated by this question. In 2021, we cannot predict what jobs will be available in 2026-2030. In my opinion, there is going to be a massive disruption in everything. One technology might come out today, take over the world tomorrow, and be replaced the day after. What kind of jobs will be available in the next 10 years will be challenging to predict then how can we prepare for the future? The answer is to focus on those elements which make a human unique rather than the binary thinking of zero and one.

We have to understand that certain skills will always be exclusive to human beings. A machine may be able to think by parameters and logic, but it will never understand how it will impact the emotions of people. Empathy will always be a human trait. So I think the jobs in the future will move towards a different plane. The different plane will not be pure technology but a huge amount of those elements that make us human. That is the reason why when we prepare our students, we also focus on specific aspects like teamwork, collaboration, and understanding what issues the other people in the Team are facing. So all these traits will play a more significant role in the future. And of course, all the mundane and small jobs will be done by machines, but humans will be required to innovate. There may even be domains that are not even heard of now. Fields will become more diverse and different, and people will have to get ready for that.

What makes Internshape different from other skill-training institutes and organizations?

What makes us different from other organizations is that we refrain from extending college work into internships. We create situations where a person takes the initiative, thinks about the solution, may make mistakes, and internalizes learning. We focus on situational learning to show people that they learn in the best way possible when they do the job by themselves.

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