Breaking the English Language Barrier to Employability: Why We Invested in BlackBoard Radio

Breaking the English Language Barrier to Employability: Why We Invested in BlackBoard Radio

"By leveraging artificial intelligence to provide interactive, personalised English language instruction over basic smartphones, Blackboard Radio is enabling conversational English competence for young professionals from all socio-economic backgrounds, including the Next Half Billion. Its AI-powered personalised English coach helps students regularly practice and improve their vocabulary or grammar, and in doing so helps improve their confidence in speaking and increases the chances of upward mobility in the workforce"

In a fast-moving, competitive and globalized world ,English has become synonymous with greater access to employability and opportunity. Global studies have found that almost 50% of employers offer a better starting package to applicants with good English language skills and India is no exception to this.  Knowledge of English is an important ability for Indians to get access to jobs and break through socio-economic barriers.

However, given the important role it plays, the penetration of English in India is surprisingly low. A 2019 survey by Lok Foundation and Oxford University has shown that just 3% of rural respondents and 12% of urban respondents said that they could speak English and that  caste and gender played an important role in the opportunity to learn and therefore the ability to speak English.

This is the gap which BlackBoard Radio (BBR) is aiming to bridge. BlackBoard Radio is an AI-powered personalised English learning solution focused on working professionals from all socio-economic backgrounds. It is leveraging the increasing penetration of the internet by providing  interactive English learning courses over basic smartphones, customised as per the stage of career and requirements of the professional.

Founded by Vatsal Dusad who identified the need for such a product throught his own struggles with English skills or lack thereof growing up, Blackboard Radio has created an assisted learning solution which helps its learners not only to read, write and understand English but also improve their public speaking, interview skills and overall confidence through curated micro-sessions, interactive workshops, and other features such as daily news, vocabulary practice, and 1:1 sessions with an instructor and career mentor. These exercises help these professionals learn and use English in a practical way that can be integrated seamlessly into their daily lives and corporate activities.

Blackboard Radio doesn’t believe in a one size fits all strategy and instead offers its courses as per the stage of career of the learner. The learning tracks within the courses are customised to meet the goal of the learner. These goals could vary from simply improving fluency to becoming better public speakers to acing interviews or even getting promoted faster. This unique approach allows fast tracked progress for the learner and clear mapping of outcomes for BBR and a continuous feedback loop.

Blackboard Radio uses its platform to help English become a daily learning and speaking routine. This way, both professionals and students are able to practice their spoken English skills, evaluate and improve it on a daily basis. Over time, users develop the confidence to speak in English and have the opportunity to use it to their advantage.

Blackboard Radio’s goal is aligned with our vision of helping to create meaningful lives for the Next Half Billion by harnessing the power of technology and the internet. With an aim to make more Indians employable in the global work force and also make them more confident in the daily lives, BlackBoard Radio and its ambitious, innovative solution is a bold idea we’re proud to support.