Corporate involvement in Skilling programs show higher outcomes

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Over 70% placement for 5,000 individuals supported under POWERGRID CSR project

India CSR News Network

NEW DELHI: As the world comes closer to celebrate the second World Youth Skills Day on 15 July 2017, it is important to highlight results from some of the early efforts since formation of the new Ministry with special focus on skill development & entrepreneurship.

In its effort to increase participation of private sector contribution in skilling, the National Skill Development Corporation in partnership with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, launched a special initiative to solicit participation from both public and private sector companies.

Under this initiative, close to 100 Crores has been committed through the National Skill Development Fund (NSDF), a receptacle for contributions from Government, private sector, public sector and multilateral agencies on projects linked to outcomes.

The POWERGRID Skill Development Project is the first of this kind, signed in Jan 2015 as a tripartite between POWERGRID, NSDF and NSDC. With an outlay of 6.5 Crores, the project has trained 5000 people in over 50 job roles across 13 economic sectors. The training was spread across 24 states, 33 locations and 46 training centers over 2 years. To overcome the challenge of access in remote locations, mobile sites were also setup to impart skill training.

Various aspect of the project such as geography, courses, timelines, models of collaboration, budgeting and other key requirements were finalized in consultation with all stakeholders. This helped develop a project that was broad enough to be extensive and specific enough to be relevant to local circumstances.

While the overarching monitoring policy under this initiative applied, the participation of POWERGRID managers at the central and field locations ensured efficiency, good standards and helped build mutually beneficial relationships in local communities. Quarterly meetings, reports and field visits helped ensure that the project was vetted carefully and documented sufficiently both physically and with the use of technology where possible.

All training programs were aligned to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF), a competency-based system with curriculum set by sector-specific industry skill councils.

Speaking on the experience, Naga Sainadh from Vijayawada, Telangana trained for Desktop Publishing course said, “I lost my father when I joined in intermediate first year and had to leave my studies as I am the only breadwinner in my family. I started working in a Homeopathy hospital as an office assistant for a monthly wage of Rs. 3500. I enrolled in DTP course at training center while working part time at the Hospital. After completing my course, I got placed in First Source Ltd at Vijayawada as a Customer service representative. Today I earn more than double of earlier salary and I am happy with the prospect of earning more.”

While the average women workforce participation rates have dipped in the last few years, this program benefitted 1800 women, over 35% of the total trainees.  21 of the 24 states had women trainees enrolled in various courses. Nearly a third of them came from the North-Eastern states of the country. Third party study reported that the training program has also increased self confidence among the candidates particularly women, who opted for sectors such as healthcare, apparel, retail and beauty and wellness. Program timings were structured to cater to women to meet their domestic responsibilities.

Nearly 60 odd employers have absorbed candidates from this project. The services sector has been particularly attractive for both men and women heading for jobs in tourism, hospitality and IT sectors. Employers like Eureka Forbes, Cafe coffee day, Idea Showroom, Muthoot Finance, Kotak Securities, DTDC Couriers, Mainland China, Amazon, SBI Bank, Google, Amazon, Tata Chemicals, BSNL Office, Medplus stores have employed candidates trained under this project.  The salaries range from 5000 to 12,600 for many of these first-time workforce entrants. This is a small yet powerful validation of the industry becoming responsive to the productivity gains from candidates that undergo formal skill training.

Some of the candidates have also made themselves independent of the placement process by becoming self-employed or adding new skills to existing family venture. This has been quite inspiring especially in the case of women candidates, 40 of whom got together into small self-help groups and are collectively earning over a Lakh rupees a month. They have achieved this by setting up home business as tailors and have cultivated their own tie ups with local businesses like schools and apparel manufacturers.

Self-employment can be seen primarily seen in the sectors of agriculture, apparel, beauty and wellness and certain IT related courses. Overall 38% has been reported as self-employed under this program. In Maharashtra, daily laborers in the construction sector, a notoriously unorganized sector, reported an average wage increase of 9300 rupees. One of the training partner under the project even reported 100% placement in the tourism and hospitality sector, with an average starting salary of 5000 rupees besides food and accommodation expenses covered by the employer.

By ensuring skill training incentives are linked to placement, and through vigilant and continuous monitoring, the project has also ensured transparent disbursement of funds to the donor.

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