Ketan Deshpandey started a social development organisation Friends Union For Energising Lives (FUEL) at age of 19. President of India Dr Abdul Kalam inspired him to serve the society. Ketan has received blessings and previlaged to meed Dr. Kalam to exchange the ideas of youth affairs. Ketan has vision to transform the lives of 1 million youths of India. The Pune based NGO has transformed the lives of thousands of youths through various CSR and corporate partnerships.
Ketan said, Dr Kalam was the president of country and he used to respond to youth letters. Ones I wrote a letter to him with a copy of my book on carrier. He liked and invited me for discussion at Raj Bhavan during his visit to Pune. He said that young people like you and Santosh (Chief Mentor of Fuel) should guide and create opportunities and reach 1 million youth of India and transform their lives.
“This was my inspiration to run FUEL and which is aptly named as “Friends Union For Energising Lives”, he said.
In an interview with Rusen Kumar, Founder, India CSR Network Ketan Deshpande shared about his vision and interventions.
SDGs and FUEL
FUEL works with SDG Goal no. 4 ‘Quality Education’ by providing career counselling talent search program with emphasis on academic coaching and scholarship to needy girls of Govt. schools and soldiers children. Our Future Skills Training is focused on new age skills of machine learning, digital technology aligns with SDG 8 of decent work and economic growth for India.
Purpose of FUEL’s Aptitude Talent Search Olympiad
Fuel runs Aptitude talent search Olympiad for 2 sets of students one for Class IX to XII and for Pre and Final Year graduates. The aptitude Olympiad acts as qualifying test for this Talent Search coaching and Scholarship programs.
For students of Class IX to XII the aptitude along with personality/interest Olympiad is to recommend career clusters also we use the scores for awarding various scholarships and coaching programs which we implement for different corporates.
For pre final year graduates the Aptitude Olympiad Is Crux before Interviews take place. We implement future skills training at various colleges and the major feedback received by recruiters is most graduates cannot qualify their recruitment process due to less scores at Aptitude screening and lack of communication skills during an interview.
Considering this to make competition among colleges and students we have started FUEL’s Aptitude Talent Search Olympiad where this year more than 15,000 youth will compete with 75 colleges. Best students are awarded on unique categories like best resume, best linked in profile along with top scorers of aptitude are eligible for Free Future Skills training and mock placement drives.
Vision for the youths
” I have a vision for the youth of the country is that no student should miss his or her career opportunity due to lack of financial constraints and Future Skills training.”, Ketan said.
This could be achieved through movement where we practise endowment scholarships for needy, volunteering led models of internships and teaching through blended approach of technology and ground implementation by effective social organisations.
“We at Fuel wish to set up cooperative Future Skills University at 5 locations for Farmers and Soldiers Children with unique support of corporate India and distinguish philanthropists.” he said.
Education and Right to Education
Ketan recently had an opportunity to visit a cooperative Univeristy at Germany which runs a model where Company selects students before they take entry into formal education and half of the course duration they are on the company site or shop floor.
Ketan observed that that critical challenge which we face is teaching for which various sections can contribute by sharing experiences. Few examples we do is volunteering programs like “School Chaliye Hum” go back to your own school and scholarship giving programs gyandaan.org we do at Fuel wherein all sections of the society contribute for future of our Nation.
Our program “Edu Raksha” which we do for Jawans children boosts the morale of their families by doing career counselling program.
Soft skills and Future Skills
Life skills, value based education in the beginning years, digital literacy skills especially powerful tools contributing to knowledge. Internships, industry visits and volunteering experience of events, completions adds lot to make youth employable. The Soft skills like communication, confidence building, adaptability, time management, interpersonal skills, social skills, attention to details, stress management of today’s generation are some of it which needs to be nurtured and inculcated from the school years itself.
The CSR norms are welcome especially emphasis given on future skills, research and incubating entrepreneurs could be game changers. Future Skill development and education initiatives are among top projects being undertaken by various corporates.
Especially scholarships and future skills development for weaker sections of society could help in bridging the gap between educated youth and employment.
Cause, Capacity Building and CSR
Specially with concerned to CSR one important issue is that the implementing agencies which are social non- profit organisations are trying to solve the most complex issues of the country but do they have adequate talent which could be retained and supported?
Globally lot of investments goes into cause, building capacity of social organisations and their leadership! Are we doing that? This question is important to answer by corporates to get maximum potential from social organisation who are helping “the youth and country for its demographic dividend advantage.”