Lockdown: Virtual job fairs come to rescue of rural youth

Pune: Even as industries in Maharashtra face a manpower crunch because of the mass exodus of migrant labour from the state, “virtual job fairs” in some rural areas of Ahmednagar and Solapur are connecting recruiters from Pune to job aspirants.

Migrant labourers have left the state in large numbers triggered by the loss of livelihood due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, leaving behind a vacuum in the industrial workforce.

Virtual job fairs are being organised in NCP MLA Rohit Pawar’s constituency of Karjat Jamkhed in Ahmednagar district and at Barshi in Solapur district.

“Although the state government has allowed industries in MIDC areas to resume work, companies are facing an acute shortage of labour, as the migrant workforce has left the state,” said Shriram Satpute, the founder of Job Showcase, a Pune-based job portal and the brain behind the initiative.

This was a golden opportunity for local youth, as several jobs are up for grabs in manufacturing, retail, banking, finance, agriculture, e-commerce and several other sectors, he said.

However, job aspirants, especially those from rural areas, cannot travel to city firms for interviews due to the ongoing health crisis and lockdown, which was why “virtual job fairs” were the need of the hour, Satpute said.

“The initiative helps recruiters to interview candidates through video-conferencing and shortlist candidates or even give spot offers,” he said.

Explaining the process, Satpute said Google forms were circulated among job aspirants in the area and based on their qualifications, skills and work experience, the data was segregated and sent to the respective firms.

In keeping with the norms of social distancing, only 50 candidates were called at a particular venue for virtual interviews every day.

“In Karjat-Jamkhed, at least 100 job aspirants were selected by six to seven firms in the last four to five days,” he said.

In Barshi, the job fair started from Tuesday and in two days, out of 26 candidates, 14 people have received job offers, he added.

Local Shiv Sena leader Bhausaheb Andhalkar has extended his help in mobilizing the local youth for the job fair in Barshi, Satpute said.

For 30-year-old Dhiraj Gholap from Barshi, the virtual job fair came as boon.

“I had lost my job before the lockdown and I was worried due to the current situation. Now I have landed a job at a Chakan-based plant of an engineering firm,” he said.

NCP MLA Rohit Pawar, who has facilitated these online interviews at his offices in Karjat Jamkhed, said so far, they have received over 3,000 job applications.

“We created this platform at seven of my offices in the constituency and facilitated the online interviews through video link adhering to social distancing norms,” Pawar said.

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