The American India Foundation highlights skill development in India

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“Skilling India’s Youth” addressed poignant topics for India including how the youth of the country must be armed with marketable skills for India to compete in the global world economy
The American India Foundation (AIF), in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation (NDSC), held its third national knowledge seminar on skill development entitled “Skilling India’s Youth: Successes, Lessons, and the Way Forward” at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on August 3, 2011.
The annual seminar, which brought various skill sector experts from around the country together, was especially notable this year as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, attended and delivered the keynote address to an audience of training providers, governmental agencies, employers and non-profit organizations.
“Skilling India’s Youth” addressed poignant topics for India including how the youth of the country must be armed with marketable skills for India to compete in the global world economy. Particularly discussed was the way in which stakeholders, including the governmental organizations and NGOs, will address the emerging challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for providing skills training to unemployed youth. Additionally, ways to present innovative delivery approaches and facilitate private-public partnerships to expand skill building capacity in India were debated as some of the best practices in the field were shared.
AIF CEO Dr. Sanjay Sinho remarked, “As India continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century, it still faces significant issues with unemployed youth. We hope today’s event can be a jumping-off point for knowledge sharing between organizations that allows all  important information to be collective, because it will take many actors to be a part of the solution.”
Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of NSDC, added, “Skill development holds the key to India being able to leverage its demographic dividend to join the league of developed nations by the turn of this decade.
All stakeholders – government, industry and civil society – would need to play a part to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of skilling 500 million people by 2022, and transforming India into the skills capital of the world.”
The August 3rd event also had a special address on Global Benchmarking on Skill Training by Paul Kazarian, the Founder, President, and CEO of Japonica Partners and the Charles & Agnes Kazarian Foundation. Dr. Kazarian presented, for the first time, a special report on “Global Benchmarks and High Value Best Practices for Improving Performance in Massive Scale Youth Skilling.” The report featured the results of a year-long study covering organizations from across the globe on the best practices for addressing the critical need to rapidly advance skills training for youth in the 16 to 30 year old range. “The social pressures of unproductive youth have become ever more increasingly pressing and obvious over the past year, as youth unrest and related political turmoils have shaken all forms of governments … this Project Report seeks to empower great aspirations in the whole human family.”

Another highlight of the seminar was the launch of the Financial Literacy modules by Dr. Kalam, Paula Bennett, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Citi Asia Pacific and Victor Menezes, Chairperson, AIF. AIF recently entered into a partnership with the Citi Foundation to expand their Market-Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. The Citi Foundation’s grant aims to provide 2,500 unemployed youth in Delhi and Jaipur with the necessary skills to secure entry-level service sector jobs and for the first time includes financial literacy training. Ms. Bennett said, “We are delighted to be partnering with AIF to support the MAST program and to incorporate customized financial literacy modules into the MAST curriculum. At Citi, we believe that financial capability is a critical life skill. Learning about budgeting, saving and financial planning can improve people’s financial security and well-being, and is especially important for low-income individuals.”
A wide panel of expert speakers attended to discuss and participate in the meeting, including Manish Sabharwal, CEO, TeamLease; Central Bank of India; Shyamala Deshpande, President of HR, Café Coffee Day; Arbind Singh, CEO, Nidan; and Venkat Srinivasan, Founder, EnglishHelper.
The event was sponsored by the Central Bank of India, who’s Executive Director, RK Dubey, also spoke on the financing of skill training through skill loans – a pilot currently being conducted in partnership with AIF – and the Charles and Agnes Kazarian Foundation.

(India Infoline News Service)

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