SMS a Carpenter

Dec 10 2012, 12:34 IST
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SummaryTodays key challenge in a world where jobs and job-seekers are increasingly in flux is to empower the technologically challenged.

Todays key challenge in a world where jobs and job-seekers are increasingly in flux is to empower the technologically challenged. Portals like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc have become the new forums for job seekers, and increasingly recruiters, as well. The conventional wisdom is that a majority of such sites cater to the rarefied world of white collar jobs. That, however, is changing to include blue collar workers as well, ranging from electricians to plumbers and carpenters. Even if this category may not have access to websites and the internet, technology is reaching them.

That is courtesy innovative sites like The brainchild of Sharad Vajpayee, it is a platform that connects skilled tradesmen with recruiters through a simple SMS on the job-seekers mobile phone.

Vajpayee is an engineer who spent 15 years living in the US as an IT professional. He had his own Swades moment, decided to return to the country and is currently based in Hyderabad, where his idea took root. With the mobile phone revolution having gained momentum, he hit upon the idea of building a solution to empower the digitally challenged. was launched in 2009. It is a simple platform. The job-seeker registers, the details are then matched by the websites personnel and made available to recruiters who then contact and negotiate. But there was a catch. The job-seeker in this case is usually illiterate and not technologically savvy. The platform could work only when the job-seekers details could be first registered, says Vajpayee. Through state government schemes that impart skills training, this problem became easy to surmount. We partnered with governments and various NGOs to reach out to such people and enrol them, says Vajpayee. employs around 50 developers and volunteers who register the job-seeker. It then brings on board the potential employers who can match professionals with their requirements and a phone call is all it takes to seal the deal. General illiteracy also meant that job listings sent as SMS would not be understood. We have addressed this by sending voice alerts for jobs, says Sangeetha Kumaraswamy, co-founder of the organisation.

Vajpayee conducts road shows regularly to popularise the portal. He recalls an incident when a young man who initially did not believe in the concept actually got a job. Our volunteers were campaigning door-to-door in a slum area in Hyderabad explaining the concept. Initially, nobody believed us. Only one family showed interest

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