Charting their own path

Charting their own path

Choosing a career is one of the hardest decisions that a student has to make. In a world that is a relentless rat race from school to college to coaching classes, students are pushed towards battling for seats for engineering, medical and other conventional courses. Most often than not, students take up courses about which they have limited understanding.

 It is rare that they have the leeway to take a step back and think what their career entails, what their skill set is or whether a given course suits their interest
‘Unherd’, a Bengaluru-based education startup, is trying to solve this problem. As their tagline says, ‘experience your career before making the choice’, they aim to bring a change in the way a child thinks about his/her career — through experience based learning.

‘Unherd’ aims to connect students in the age group of 14-16 to corporate firms where they can work as interns in a sector or department of their choice. This lets the students learn and understand about their field before they make the final choice of choosing their career. Besides, they also get an opportunity to connect to mentors who can guide them and share tips that will help them achieve their career goals.

The startup was started by 26-year-old Alister D’Monte along with two of his colleagues, Howard Berlie and Nithya. “We believe every child is unique and a choice that suits one may not necessarily suit another. Through ‘Unherd.in’, our mission is to help every youngster in India make an informed career decision that suits their interest, skill set and capability.” says Alister.

Talking about the reason behind the idea, Alister says, “I too followed the rat race and joined an engineering course only to realise in my second year that was not where my heart lay. My life would have been much more simpler if I was guided about my career or took an internship to experience what engineering actually involves. But unfortunately, such a concept has never existed here till now. This gave birth to the idea of ‘Unherd’.”

The startup seems to have struck a chord with many and has received applications from conventionals schoolers, low income schools and homeschoolers alike. “We were overwhelmed with the response we received for the pilot launch. We received calls from across India from students and parents who wanted to know if such a concept existed in their city as well,” says Alister. The startup was launched with a partnership with two companies — ‘Salesforce’, a cloud-computing company, and ‘Gensler’, an American design company. Students interested in management and technology applied for the Salesforce internship and those interested to pursue a career in architecture and design, applied to Gensler. More than 200 students applied for these. The team at ‘Unherd’ now aims to expand into diverse career opportunities like sports, journalism, photography, music etc.

While it a blessing for students, corporates too stand to benefit as they get to impart skills to the future workforce and have an opportunity to hone their leadership skills by mentoring the young students. “A student internship also gives a chance to the corporates to develop the soft skills of future employees, creating a pool of talented and employment-ready graduates,” says Howard, a co-founder who also manages his full time job as a marine engineer.

The startup’s long-term vision is to eventually build a one-stop learning platform where students can connect to mentors across the world or simply sign up for an apprentice program. “A career choice is the most important decision one takes in their life, and we want students to choose this based on their interest and simply not follow the herd mentality. That’s our mission,” says Alister.

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