Skill & Enterpreneurship Development
Bridging skill deficiency in India is a huge challenge. Reports indicate that the vast pool of the rural youth in India are marginalised; have no/low opportunities for skill building and little access to sustainable livelihoods. One of the reasons for this is lack of access to any sort of skill training. They rely mostly on agricultural or local livelihood opportunities, which are fast diminishing. This results in unemployability of the youth that are unskilled or unable to match their skill with the available job opportunities, due to an inefficient marketplace. This is especially true for the blue-collar and the low-end white-collar jobs. If India's youth is not appropriately skilled and linked with correct livelihood options at the right age, they will never have job security. The situation would not improve, even if the Indian employment system generates massive job opportunities in the future.
DA looks at these gaps in skills as a massive opportunity to create sustainable and large scale impacts in rural India’s communities. Through its special purpose business unit called TARA Livelihood Academy (TLA), youth and women are given vocational training and suitably linked with sustainable forms of employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The skill building programs currently being offered, range from short term training programs (of two days) to long term training courses (of up to 60 days). Currently, these skill building programs are structured into two prominent verticals:
As the name suggests, the first vertical conducts skill building trainings, targeted towards making the youth work-ready and employable. At the end of these training batches, many are successfully linked with employers and self-employment value chains.
The second vertical focuses on conducting trainings, targeted towards creating an entrepreneurship system within youth communities. After undergoing this training, the youth is also educated on the ways and means to set up and run their own sustainable micro-enterprises.
Through these skill building programs, focus is maintained on creating green enterprises and green jobs at the community level. Till date, the efforts have resulted in 22,000 youth being trained and successfully linked with sustainable livelihoods. To financially support the candidates through training; TLA relies on multiple revenue streams to ensure that cost per trainee is as low as possible. In many cases, TLA subsidises the training cost to be paid by trainees to a bare minimum. It relies on sponsorships being given by Government run programs or on CSR funds of corporates and PSUs. It also adopts ‘Employer-as-Payer’ model in which an employer with a massive recruitment-need pays TLA to mobilise and train young labour force, in order to make them work-ready. The trained youth are then absorbed by these employers, making it is a win-win situation for all three sides, i.e., the youth, the employer as well as TLA.
A very important factor for the success of our skill building programs at the grass roots , has been the practice of incorporating life skills training, within all skill training programs. This ensures that trainees who are completing any kind of skill building are also equipped with life skills. They are aware of the importance of their skills, approach, behaviour and personality for their overall development.
In one of the recent examples, hundreds of unemployed and unskilled youth from the Bundelkhand region in Central India, were trained on Employability skills and Life skills. They have been successfully linked with HUL’s Kwality Walls brand for employment. These trained candidates now earn at least INR 7,000 every month and contribute financially to their families and communities. There are many such examples, where appropriate skill-building and livelihood-matching related to employability, or entrepreneurship through DA’s intervention has led to sustainable livelihoods for the youth.