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Well-rounded education is crucial for job readiness: Sumit Shukla, Scholars Merit

Career feature story

Well-rounded education is crucial for job readiness: Sumit Shukla, Scholars Merit


In an interview with EduKida, Sumit Shukla, Chairman of the i-merit Steering Committee and Founder & CEO of Coonexrm Pte Ltd, spoke about the programme and future plans

What inspired the creation of the i-merit program, and how does it specifically address the employability challenges highlighted in the India Employment Report 2024?

The i-merit program, developed by Scholars Merit, a dynamic online platform committed to fostering holistic growth in the education and professional spheres of an individual, is designed to enhance job compatibility for students and early-career professionals by aligning them with corporate culture and individual growth aspirations. The program offers specialized training in high-end technology areas and mock interview sessions to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge for quick placements in top corporations both in India and abroad.

Scholars Merit was inspired to launch the i-merit program in response to a significant gap observed in the current education and skilling landscape. According to the India Employment report, India’s youth account for almost 83% of the unemployed workforce and the share of youngsters with secondary or higher education in the total unemployed has almost doubled from 35.2% in 2000 to 65.7% in 2022. This is because many graduates and early-career professionals possess strong theoretical knowledge but lack practical, job-ready skills required by the corporate world.

The i-merit program aims to bridge this gap by providing hands-on training in high-end technology areas, specialized mock interview sessions, and comprehensive knowledge of corporate culture. This initiative is designed to equip candidates with the practical skills and competitive edge needed for successful placements in top corporations, addressing the critical need for job readiness in today’s dynamic job market.

Can you elaborate on the six essential pillars of success that i-merit focuses on? How are these pillars integrated into the curriculum to ensure comprehensive skill development?

The i-merit program is built around six essential pillars of success, designed to equip students with a comprehensive skill set that meets evolving market demands. These pillars are:

” General Knowledge: The program emphasizes the importance of a broad understanding of various subjects, ensuring that students are well-rounded and informed about global and industry-specific trends and developments.

” Attitude: Developing a positive and proactive attitude is crucial for success in the professional world. The program focuses on nurturing the right mindset, including resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn and grow.

” Education: While theoretical knowledge forms the foundation, i-merit enhances traditional education with practical, real-world applications, ensuring that students can effectively apply what they have learned in their studies.

” Industry Knowledge: Understanding the specific demands and dynamics of the industry is key to career success. The program provides insights into industry practices, standards, and expectations, helping students to align their skills and knowledge with what employers are looking for.

” Technical Skills: Mastering relevant technical skills is a core component of the i-merit program. This includes training in high-end technology areas, ensuring that students are proficient in the tools and technologies that are in demand in their chosen fields.

” Soft Skills: Effective communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills are essential for professional success. The program places a strong emphasis on developing these soft skills, which are critical for building relationships, collaborating with colleagues, and navigating the workplace effectively.

By focusing on these Six Pillars, the i-merit program aims to produce well-rounded, job-ready graduates who are equipped to meet the challenges of the modern professional environment and succeed in their careers.

i-merit emphasizes both technical proficiency and soft skills. How do you balance these two areas in your training programs to ensure graduates are well-rounded and job-ready?

At i-merit, we believe that a well-rounded education is crucial for job readiness. Our training programs are meticulously designed to balance technical proficiency and soft skills development. We achieve this balance by integrating practical, hands-on technical training with modules focused on communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability.

Technical skills are taught through immersive, real-world projects and state-of-the-art technology tools, ensuring our graduates are proficient in the latest industry standards. Simultaneously, we incorporate workshops, role-playing exercises, and collaborative projects to enhance soft skills.

By fostering an environment that values both technical expertise and interpersonal abilities, we ensure our graduates are not only capable of meeting job-specific requirements but also excel in collaborative, dynamic work environments. This holistic approach equips them with the necessary tools to succeed and adapt in their professional journey

Given the rapidly changing job landscape, what strategies does i-merit employ to keep its curriculum up-to-date with industry demands?

At i-merit, we employ a multi-faceted approach to ensure our curriculum stays current with the rapidly changing job landscape. Our strategies include:

” Expert-Led Curriculum Design: Our curriculum is crafted by industry experts who possess extensive real-world experience. These professionals ensure that our programs cover essential business processes, integrate technical skills with functional applications, and include advanced technology training. Their ongoing involvement helps keep our curriculum relevant and aligned with industry demands.

” Industry Partnerships: We maintain strong partnerships with leading companies across various sectors. These collaborations allow us to gain insights into emerging trends and skills in demand, which we quickly incorporate into our training programs.

” Continuous Feedback Loop: We actively seek feedback from our alumni and their employers to understand the effectiveness of our training and identify areas for improvement. This feedback loop ensures our curriculum evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of the job market.

” Regular Curriculum Reviews: Our team conducts regular reviews of our curriculum to incorporate the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices. This proactive approach ensures that our students are always learning the most relevant and up-to-date content.

” Professional Development for Instructors: We invest in the continuous professional development of our instructors, ensuring they stay updated with the latest industry trends and teaching methodologies. This enables them to deliver high-quality, relevant education to our students.

By employing these strategies, i-merit ensures that our curriculum remains dynamic, relevant, and aligned with industry needs, equipping our graduates with the practical skills and knowledge required for successful careers.

How does i-merit collaborate with industries and employers to ensure the training provided is relevant and meets the specific needs of the job market?

The i-merit program addresses the current gaps in the Indian job market, particularly for engineering graduates, by focusing on practical skills, industry alignment, and comprehensive training. Here’s how:

” Practical Skill Development: Many engineering graduates possess strong theoretical knowledge but lack practical, hands-on experience. The i-merit program provides extensive training in high-end technology areas and real-world applications, ensuring that graduates are job-ready and can effectively apply their knowledge in practical scenarios.

” Industry Alignment: The program is designed by industry veterans who understand the evolving demands of the market. By aligning the curriculum with current industry standards and requirements, i-merit ensures that graduates have the specific skills and knowledge that employers are seeking.

” Comprehensive Training: i-merit goes beyond technical skills by incorporating training in soft skills, general knowledge, and industry-specific insights. This holistic approach ensures that graduates are well-rounded professionals capable of thriving in diverse work environments.

” Mock Interviews and Job Preparation: The i-merit program includes specialized mock interview sessions that prepare graduates for the hiring process. This helps them gain confidence, improve their interview performance, and increase their chances of securing employment.

” Bridging the Education-Industry Gap: By addressing the discrepancy between academic education and industry requirements, i-merit ensures that graduates are not just theoretically proficient but also practically competent. This reduces the job-readiness gap and makes graduates more attractive to potential employers.

” Career Stability and Growth: The program not only helps fresh graduates secure their first job but also equips them with the skills needed for career advancement. This addresses the issue of job instability and frequent job changes by providing continuous learning and growth opportunities.

What future plans or expansions do you envision for i-merit? Are there any new initiatives or programs in development to further support graduate employability?

We are launching 3 specific programs as part of our future expansion plans:


    1. i-merit Nova


i-merit Nova offers a unique opportunity for institutes and students to collaborate seamlessly in a structured program designed to enhance students’ employability and career prospects.

Through this initiative, students can enrol from the second year of their academic journey and continue until their penultimate semester, gaining invaluable skills and experiences along the way. At i-merit Nova, we recognize the importance of early skill development and continuous learning in shaping successful careers. By joining our program, students have access to a diverse range of upskilling modules and workshops tailored to meet the demands of various industries. From technical certifications to soft skills training, we provide comprehensive support to help students navigate the transition from academia to the professional world with confidence.

Furthermore, i-merit Nova serves as a platform for institutes to enrich their academic offerings and cultivate a culture of innovation and excellence. By partnering with i-merit, educational institutions can augment their curriculum with cutting-edge training modules and industry insights, ensuring that their students are well-prepared to excel in their chosen fields upon graduation. Through collaborative efforts and a shared commitment to student success, i-merit Nova aims to bridge the gap between education and employment, empowering the next generation of professionals to thrive in an ever-evolving global economy.


    1. i-merit Rapid


i-merit Rapid is a 90-day, high-speed program tailored for students seeking a swift yet comprehensive learning experience. This accelerated program focuses on delivering essential technical skills and soft skills in a condensed timeframe, ensuring that participants are job-ready in just three months. The curriculum is designed to cover critical industry-relevant topics, offering a balanced blend of theory and practical application. Our expert instructors provide intensive training and mentorship, enabling students to quickly grasp key concepts and apply them effectively in real-world scenarios.


    1. iQuest


iQuest is our intelligent AI-based interview preparation platform. Leveraging advanced artificial intelligence, iQuest provides personalized interview coaching and practice sessions tailored to individual needs. The platform analyzes each user’s strengths and weaknesses, offering targeted feedback and improvement strategies. iQuest features a vast repository of interview questions across various industries, simulated interview environments, and real-time performance analytics. This innovative tool empowers job seekers to enhance their interview skills, boost confidence, and increase their chances of securing desired positions.



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