Platform steering students to their dream career paths


Manish Sardana, founder of Craydel, a platform that seeks to “democratise” higher education by providing students with a variety of courses from universities across the globe. PHOTO | POOL

Manish Sardana is on a mission to help young people study courses they are passionate about and in the process save the country billions of money.

Majority of student transitioning from secondary schools into institutions of higher learning select courses based on influence from family, friends or celebrities.

In other cases, freshmen are allocated programmes by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) based on high school grades, taking career paths they never dreamt of.

Working with a team of career counsellors and technologists, Mr Sardana has created an online portal for students to apply courses objectively based on their desired career paths and abilities.

Craydel is a platform that seeks to “democratise” higher education by providing students with a variety of courses from universities across the globe.

“In my previous role at WPP Scangroup I got to talk to a lot of people how they made their career choices. A lot of people did not know why they chose a certain path and that's a problem,” says Mr Sardana.

The web-based platform allows working professionals and students to select courses from a large pool of local and international universities. Users are also able to compare the cost of studying their chosen course in various schools.

It has a personalised career guidance tool and course recommendations from institutions across Africa and the world, which gives learners a variety to choose from.

Learners sign up and use the platform for free, but the institutions listed pay the company for the visibility they get from the platform.

The higher education sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is valued at $20 billion, Mr Sardana says. But pursuing the wrong degree and vocational programmes costs the region close to $16 billion.

By establishing students career goals by using psychometric assessments before selecting a course, the entrepreneur and his team believes they are working to solve the $16 billion problem.

"Solutions to unemployment must start at school. The future of this country and the continent lies in the hands of young people and if we can assure great career outcomes from them in the long-term we will prosper,” explains Mr Sardana.

The platform has already listed over 100 universities, mostly private and have about 40 on the waiting list in the two months of operations. They are targeting to list at least 1,000 institutions of higher learning by the end of the year.

The website currently has 700 students who have signed up for their various services, a number they are hopeful would grow given that the idea is still new.

While the concept is not entirely new, Craydel is the first of its kind in Kenya and the entire Sub-Saharan region.

Sardana left Scangroup in 2020 to build Craydel, which has now been operating for six months.

“It was not easy. It takes a lot of courage to give up a job, put all your savings behind this, but I think this is the happiest phase of my life. I feel I am doing something more fulfilling,” says Mr Sardana.

The entrepreneur says he is on a journey to help people make the best career choices and build a platform that will outlive him.

“I was in a very good place in my career. I was a managing director at Scangroup, which is a very large organisation. However, I felt like I am incentivised to build a legacy because money will not leave with you when you die,” he says.

“The only way one can immortilise themselves is if they are able to build a platform that can be used by generations to come.”

The biggest challenge Craydel is currently facing is getting local universities to join the platform. Most of Kenyan universities are hesitant to list their courses on the website.

Mr Sardana thinks that this is something that will soon go away because the idea they are rolling out requires a total behaviour change.

The team is currently working on collaborations with major stakeholders in education sector in their pursuit to secure each student's future.