Leap Skills & Skillr: Ensuring that Access to Opportunity is Democratic and Skill-Based

BW People in a conversation with Ankit Durga and Megha Aggarwal, Co-Founders, Leap Skills discussing their efforts for unemployed professionals during this COVID-19 disruption and shared about their long term vision about their venture.


Megha Aggarwal and Ankit Durga, Co-Founders, Leap Skills

Millions of enthusiastic young Indians from small towns enter the workforce each year. They are hardworking, resilient, and driven to secure better livelihoods for themselves, and with that, a promising future for their families. They are often from economically weaker backgrounds but are undeterred in their aspirations to dream big. After all, if they put in the hard work, they should reap the results, right?

It was worrisome that their access to opportunity was curbed by where they were born, and not by their innate potential. So, in 2013, Leap Skills started its first communications and professional skills training programs to enhance the employability of job-seekers in small towns.

Skillr launched in 2019. Skillr extended its fierce commitment to individual potential, by ensuring that job-seekers - regardless of their backgrounds, get access to aspirational job opportunities. Using skills as a proxy for the potential of a candidate, Skillr connects job-seekers with employers based on their skill-sets, rather than other misleading indicators of performance, such as the college a candidate was from.

In March 2020, things took a dramatic turn. COVID-19 rendered millions of unemployed professionals and even more were placed on indefinite leave without pay. Fear and panic began to spread as people were unsure of when they would secure their next job.

To improve the discovery of active job openings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Skillr rapidly launched a free platform to track the hiring status of companies in India and began to crowdsource additional entries to track down companies that were actively hiring in India. Moreover, they allowed job seekers to leave their details with us, enabling Skillr to match them with openings that fit their profile.

"Opportunity and success in life should not be a function of where one is born"; this is the fundamental belief that Ankit Durga and Megha Aggarwal hold close to their heart who founded this organization with all their efforts and will.

What is that one thing that makes you most happy while doing your work? 

Being able to add real value, from measurably improving the employability of jobseekers through our training programs, to placing them with meaningful work opportunities, is what makes us incredibly happy. Meenakshi, a Leap alumna, is one such job-seeker from Saharanpur, Haryana. She dreamt of a promising and independent career for herself, but her family could not support her education to help her realize her aspirations. She worked at the college library to afford her daily train fare to college. Despite her grit and hard work, she was statistically unlikely to get placed through her college, which placed a mere 4% of students. But Meenakshi was audacious and rose above the situation. She attended Leap’s communication skills training program “Propellor”, and got placed at Tata Consultancy Services soon after. She now earns comfortably for herself and her family. Stories like that of Meenakshi epitomize why we started our programs in the first place, and fuel our drive to impact many more like her on a daily basis.

What is that one idea behind initiating this venture? 

The motivation to work hard and the audacity to pursue one’s dreams should determine one’s success in life, not where one is born. This is the fundamental belief with which Ankit Durga and Megha Aggarwal started Leap Skills, an organization that equips job seekers in tier-2 and 3 cities with the skills and abilities needed to earn better livelihoods. After successfully training 50,000 jobseekers, and over 7 years later, the approach to solving India’s employability challenge has broadened in scope by enabling access to high-quality jobs through Skillr, an enterprise skills accelerator that helps companies identify, hire, and train skilled talent. This combined approach involving ability development and access creation, we believe, represents a more comprehensive solution to this systemic problem. 

How are you helping professionals who recently lost the jobs because of this pandemic? What Leap Skills is providing? 

Skillr provides access to information about companies that are hiring during COVID-19. This pandemic has left rendered millions unemployed, and placed even more on indefinite leave without pay. To improve the discovery of active job openings amid the pandemic, Skillr has launched a platform to track the hiring status of companies in India. Our platform provides job seekers free and easy digital access to jobs, which they can filter by job-type, by location, or by industry. Moreover, we allow job seekers to leave their resumés with us, enabling Skillr to match them to openings that fit their profile. You can view the tracker live on 

Leap Skills too is contributing during this pandemic and has made its proprietary program “Compass”, a workplace skills digital program, available for students and aspiring job seekers to prepare for interviews post-lockdown. Students associated with our partner programs can access Compass virtually through our application, free of charge.

What is your vision, the larger goal?

Our overarching vision is to ensure that access to opportunity is a democratic process, determined only by one’s skills and willingness to work hard, and not by one’s familial, geographic, or economic background. 

How has the response to this been? How are companies and candidates reacting to it? 

In just two months since the launch, our website has been visited by
• 1,00,000+ job seekers (candidates)
• 4,000+ companies have listed themselves (crowdsourced) or been listed on the platform manually
• 75% of these companies across 21 industries are actively hiring, indicating huge scope to connect job seekers with viable opportunities at this time
The tracker is free and will always remain publicly accessible for everyone, something that people across India are finding incredibly helpful, as it is helping them during an acutely stressful time.

What is that one powerful message you want to give in these tough times?

It is important for us to acknowledge that these are incredibly difficult times, not ones that any of us could have predicted. At the same time, we must be biased towards action and utilize the extra time that this lockdown brings judiciously. Take this time to learn a new skill, complete an online course, perhaps even revisit a forgotten hobby. And as we stay confined to our homes for the foreseeable future, take some time to connect with your families. It is a luxury that many of us will cherish as we get back to the hustle and bustle of our daily routines once lockdowns restrictions ease up.


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