Learning platform for ‘upskilling’ wins competition for start-ups

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A learning platform that is seen to address the demand of individuals wanting to “upskill” has been recognized as one of the winners in a country-wide competition for technology start-ups.

Eskwelabs CEO and co-founder Angela Chen

The learning platform was developed by Eskwelabs, a technology start-up founded in Singapore. The learning platform was recognized by local incubator QBO Innovation Hub as one of the 10 winners among 100 start-ups which joined the competition.

In an exclusive interview with Newsbytes.PH, Eskwelabs CEO and co-founder Angela Chen said the start-up is focused on upskilling the data skills of individuals who signed up for the Eskwelabs courses.

The demand for data skills continues to rise, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected many industries and in turn caused a massive impact on employment, Chen said.

Chen said individuals who undergo the courses in the learning platform can have a better chance of landing a job during these trying times. She said the learning program was first piloted in Singapore, and about 90% of graduates got a job within 90 days.

Chen said Eskwelabs also has an existing tie-up with private companies. Thus, the learning platform was a natural fit to answer the demand for data skills.

The executive said there has been an increase in the number of individuals wanting to apply for scholarships in the various courses within the learning platform. “Our goal was to come up with a low-cost and scalable upskilling program,” Chen said.

She said that Eskwelabs also continues to seek more individuals, particularly women, to participate in the learning platform. And so far, it has been able to attract a substantial number of women participants, Chen said, noting that currently, 80% of Eskwelabs Covid-19 upskilling courses are “stay-at-home moms”.

Individuals wanting to try the Eskwelabs program can go to the website and sign up for the course.

Chen said for the learning platform offers courses that not typical massive open online courses or MOOCs. She said the Eskwelabs course are “asynchronous” and that participants are encourage to “practice” what was taught and that “if you don’t do it, you don’t learn.”

The courses are also self-paced and shorter courses. Chen said the courses were designed to answer the questions of how to make course completion more meaningful and how courses can help individuals them look for jobs in the “gig economy.” A typical upskilling course can take about three weeks, she added.

Katrina Chan, director of QBO, meanwhile said the competition was supported by Google.org and Youth Business International as part of the “RESQUE” Start-ups vs. Covid-19 Competition.”

The competition highlighted start-ups that have either provided Covid-19-related services that directly tackle Covid-19-related challenges or delivered sustainable pivots amid the crisis.

The competition hailed 10 winners last August. They took part in a holistic two-month support program which includes learning and feedback sessions, business clinics, and consultation sessions with seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts. The start-ups also took home P100,000 each to further amplify their Covid-19 initiatives.

And speaking about Covid-19, Chan said “technology is a way out” of the pandemic. She noted that QBO continues to support and look for technology start-ups.

In fact, QBO is set top participate in Philippine Star-up Week this November. The event is said to be the biggest gathering of local start-ups in the Philippines.

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