Tata Capital has impacted 3000 underprivileged youths at ProAspire: Avijit Bhattacharya, Tata Capital

In an interview with India CSR Network, Avijit Bhattacharya, Chief Human Resources Officer, Tata Capital discussed the CSR initiatives of Tata Capital specialy ProAspire, the skill development initiative

MUMBAI: Avijit Bhattacharya talked on how ‘ProAspire’ a standalone initiative under the Tata Capital’s CSR project is positively impacting the lives. ‘ProAspire’ aims to train and place right candidates from underprivileged backgrounds including affirmative action communities in various sectors. Edited Excerpts:

Can you please take us through this initiative?

ProAspire, the skill development initiative under Tata Capital CSR, was conceptualised to skill, place and thereby improve the economic conditions of the underprivileged youth. ProAspire builds on the professional aspirations of such individuals to enable a better livelihood for them.

Under ProAspire, Tata Capital has outlined opportunities under BFSI and other Vocational trainings to address the aspirations and encourage opportunities in rural, semi-urban and urban areas.

Why was the need to establish such a program? Please elaborate

India is reaching the peak of its demographic dividend by 2020. But at the same time, various socio-economic issues are stymieing the development of a large number of communities, especially the lower strata of the population.

NSDC predicts that about 1.01 million jobs will be available under the BFSI sector by 2022, of which about 40% jobs will be in roles related to sales and marketing.

This was the base for us to establish the Proaspire skill development program and prepare the current & future generations of such marginalised societies on various skills in the current & upcoming sectors, thereby making them employable. The initiative has not only helped improve their economic status but has also contributed to India’s progress.

How is Tata Capital contributing towards skill development?

Tata Capital works closely with all the implementation and training partners. Apart from funding the skilling and placement of the candidates, there is active participation in terms of volunteering too.

For e.g. with Tata STRIVE, our largest BFSI skilling partner, we have been on the curriculum development panel as industry experts to develop the BFSI Business Development Executive course. Our employees are invited as guest lecturers to address the candidates on various topics like Sales, lead generation, career trajectory, etc.

What are the various sectors the program is focusing on? How has been the response?

Tata Capital has identified two main sectoral streams under ProAspire program – BFSI and Vocational skills. For each skill, we have selected training institutes that specialise in the domain knowledge and have a strong connection in the industry for placements.

ProAspire-BFSI aims to be aligned strategically to benefit the BFSI sector by identifying unemployed youth from underprivileged backgrounds and providing them with free training under the Business Development Executive (BDE) course. Successful candidates are placed under various roles like BDE, Front Line Sales Executives, Back office Executives with Banks/NBFCs/Microfinance Companies, etc.

Within the vocational skill spectrum, 5 skills have been identified namely, Motor Mechanic, Hospitality, Welder, RAC and Electrician for youth, mainly, from Affirmative Action and other marginalized communities with some formal education. In total, we have trained more than 3000 candidates and have placed over 65% of the individuals in the process.

Can you briefly elaborate on the process and the roll-out program

ProAspire follows a series of stages– the process for which is customised for each partner, course and location.

Mobilisation – Within the chosen location, youth are mobilized through gatherings, by reaching out to local communities, colleges, advertisements, referrals, etc. The mobilization drive focuses on creating awareness & providing information on the training & career opportunities. Interested candidates sign up for the training modules at this stage.

Selection – For BFSI, the interested candidates undergo a pre-assessment test to understand their aptitude and interests. Based on the results and aspirations, candidates are shortlisted for the specific course. The shortlisted candidates are then enrolled for the course. For vocational courses, the candidates fill out an admission form to enroll for the specific course.

Trainings – The training duration, curriculum and facilities are dependent upon specific domains. BFSI BDE course could range from a 21 days’ full time residential course to a 45 days’ part time course. While vocational skill trainings are full time courses between 3 months to 1 year. The curriculum for each course follows the common norms and available standards which comprises domain knowledge and personality development modules. Facilities like labs, computers, mock drills, etc., are made available by the trainings institutes.

Assessment & certification – Assessments are a combination of ongoing assignments and a written theory test that takes place at the end of the course. Successful candidates are issued certificates.

Placement – Upon successful completion of the course and assessment, they are counselled on preparing their CVs and go through mock interviews. The institutes have sector tie-ups and organize campus interviews or send the candidates for interviews to potential employers.

Tracking – Once the candidates are placed, their progress is tracked for a period of 3 months to 1 year to ensure handholding and continuity of employment.

Has this program impacted the lives of people? Has the company started placing?

Through the efforts of our implementation partners, Tata Capital has impacted more than 3000 underprivileged youths in the past two years and has been able to place more than 65% candidates in the BFSI, Hospitality and other allied sectors.

What are the overall initiatives and future plans of Tata Capital in the CSR belt?

Besides being a part of the philanthropic Tata Group, at Tata Capital, we always strive to do what is right for all our stakeholders, which includes our society at large.

In today’s world, while philanthropy is important, creating and sustaining the impact through various initiatives is essential. Tata Capital has defined 5 thrust areas to make a measureable difference, namely, Education & Skill Development, Health, Sports & Music, Entrepreneurship and Climate Action. Each of these areas have distinct focus and long term projects.

Under ProAspire, Tata Capital aims to skill a minimum of 2000 candidates each year and place a minimum of 70% of the candidates in the sector of training. Under BFSI, we also aim to enroll a minimum of 40% women candidates in the training modules.

Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the interviewee in this feature are entirely his own and does not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR Network and its Editor.

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