KOOH Sports delivers sports education and training to schoolchildren. Since it was founded in 2010, it has reached out to over 2 lakh kids and plans to tap more than 5 lakh children over next three years. KOOH stands for Kids Out Of Home.
It has now launched Sports Naukri—a job portal for sports persons. Chirag Patel, CEO, KOOH Sports, says that Sports Naukri works like an employment exchange wherein people who get trained through the KOOH Sports Institute of Training & Excellence for Sports Skill (KITES)—which is accredited by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)—have an opportunity to get access to jobs on the portal. In an interview with Vikram Chaudhary of The Financial Express, he adds that with the advent of professional leagues, the need for sports support staff has increased. Excerpts:
Where did the idea of launching Sports Naukri come from?
As KOOH Sports was scaling up, a lot of sports persons were writing to us, enquiring about jobs. We also offer vocational training to sports coaches and physical teachers, so we thought of facilitating employment for them. This led to a sports-specific job portal, allowing job-seekers get employed as sports coaches, physical education teachers, sports marketing professionals, sports event managers, etc, in schools, universities, academies, clubs and communities.
Was it easy to get the name Sports Naukri; there is a big company in the career space by an almost similar name?
There is no perceived conflict with any other firm, as we come more from a training and skilling angle, we facilitate employer and employee exchange, and we are positioning ourselves as a specialist in the sports sector, not digressing into other sectors. In addition, we have ‘.in’ domain name, not ‘.com’.
Is a career in sports lucrative?
There is a need for sports coaches and sports professionals, and if India has to create transformation at the grass-roots level, we will have to attract people to take up jobs in this space. With the advent of professional leagues, the need for sports support staff has increased, as more and more tournaments are being aired. All this augurs well for sports.
Are sports teaching jobs available only in urban India?
If we mean physical education teachers and sports coaches, then these jobs are there in urban and semi-urban areas, both in private and state sectors. Schools, universities and academies are opening up jobs, so are residential communities. There are a lot of people who operate on their own, pretty much like maths and physics teachers, where they are associated with a school or a university and then offer private coaching.
How does society view sports teachers in rural India?
If you look at some rural sports that have gotten popular in recent times, like Kabaddi, and if you see how people from rural India are getting into the mainstream, then opportunities for skilling these sports coaches will only increase.
The society does not see sports as rural or urban; it views sports as about winning and losing. The question of rural versus urban is something some people indulge in; the actual question should be, how can the rural sector benefit from skilling and development and financial inclusion initiatives and other missions that need to be executed well?
A maths or a science teacher enjoys high social standing. What about a sports teacher?
A teacher or a coach in India, irrespective of the field, is given respect as part of our culture.
Are there enough sports jobs in corporate houses or PSUs?
Corporate- and PSU-run schools and institutions are one direct area where jobs exist. Then there is indirect job creation through CSR funds from corporates and PSUs.
What kinds of job categories are allied to the field of sports?
There are many, like sports analyst, psychologist, physiotherapists, injury prevention experts, dietician, talent identification experts, equipment specialists, facility technician, stadium management experts, sports PR and media managers, fitness trainers, academy managers, life guards, camp managers.
We believe there is a potential to create 1 million jobs in the sports sector alone over the next 7-10 years. There are various bodies conducting research and, over a period of time, the labour statistics will indicate the job creation potential too. Private sector participation is important to facilitate the development of sports and creation of employment.
When did KITES got accredited by the NSDC?
KITES got an accreditation in early 2016. It aims to skill 50,000 people in 8-10 years. We will keep adding new training centres to cover the geographic spread and add faculty to offer vocational training.