Online portal EmployabilityBridge, a platform that provides students from Tier-II and III cities access to employment opportunities, is planning to expand the initiative across India after tasting success in the southern regions. With a presence in Tamil Nadu, North Kerala and Bangalore, it plans to expand the programme towards the east and west of the country.

Its First Look at Aspiring Graduates (FLAG) programme is a series of hiring events that happens across the southern region. Since a majority of colleges have campuses on the outskirts of cities, companies find it a logistical nightmare to go to each and every college for recruitment. “The companies only visit the campuses that are easily accessible and ignore the smaller towns, which translates to students from these regions being rendered unemployed,” said Emmanuel Justus, CEO, EmployabilityBridge in an interaction with BusinessLine .

To address this problem, the portal created the programme with help from the Confederation of Indian Industry, where companies can meet college students from different regions on a given day. EmployabilityBridge organises the whole process on its website where timings are earmarked for each of the participating companies.

“It makes economic sense for the participating companies, and is beneficial for the students,” he added.

Initially, companies were hesitant to participate in such an aggregation. “It took us a while to convince companies that they will find the right personnel in tier-II and Tier-III towns.”

After much convincing, companies did participate and were surprised with the response. The portal conducted its first event in 2012 where 1,400 eligible students from 12 colleges participated from across two regions. Around 350 jobs were offered by 25 companies.

To make the programme financially viable, EmployabilityBridge charges a fee of ₹1,950 per student for attending the FLAG programme.

They also conduct ‘Success at FLAG’, a workshop which doubles up as a counselling session for students. The session educates students about the companies and is usually conducted a fortnight before the recruitment process.

The programme has grown in leaps and bounds. The portal recently conducted its 27th event at Prathyusha Institute of Technology and Management in Chennai on September 26. It garnered an overwhelming response with 900 students participating. FLAG 2015 had participation of companies from multiple industries including IT, manufacturing, marketing, publishing and ITeS. AdoRoi, MagicWoods, Exeter Premedia, Cognitive Platform Solutions were some of the companies that were present and they were enthused by the response from colleges and students for the event.

Chennai-based Adroit has been a regular participant for the past four years. “We recruited three candidates at the event in Chennai in September. What draws us to this event is the systematic way it’s organised. This helps us as we can conduct the recruitment process without any hassle,” said Muralidharan Pandian, President - Consulting, Adroit.

Expansion plans

“We plan to reach out to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha and Bihar,” Justus said. Expanding to Andhra Pradesh and the rest of Kerala is also on the radar, adds Justus.

The programme will not only cover fresh graduates but also skilled and unskilled workers as EmployabilityBridge has recently tied up with National Skills Development Corporation. “This tie-up will help plumbers, electricians and fitters get a shot at regular employment.”