India is home to over 54% of young people, making it one of the youngest nations in the world. Whilst around the world this is seen as a 'demographic dividend', it becomes a burden when only 2.3% of the workface has undergone formal skill training.
To address this issue, the Skill India Mission was launched in 2015 by Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day with an aim to train over 40 crore people in different skills by 2022. Initiated because India was facing a severe shortage of well-trained, skilled workers, where large sections of the educated workforce had little or no job skills to meet the demands of employers and drive economic growth.
The Government of India has set an ambitious target for providing skill training to 500 million of youth by 2022, which is in line with the estimated demand for skilled manpower over the next decade. ACF through its Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Program (SEDI) is aligning with the government and also setting an ambitious target to play its part - aiming to train 1 lakh rural youth by 2022.
ACF's skilling journey began in 2006 with its first Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institute being established in Jaitaran (Pali District of Rajasthan) in collaboration with the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur. Enrolled trainees were provided with technical training in a particular trade as well as soft skills training to build their personality and get them 'work ready.'
Today, after 14 years, this program has expanded into 34 centres and has trained over 62,000 youth. And ACF is rapidly scaling its efforts in this area via strategic and funding partnerships. ACF works in the neighboring communities where ACL commissions its plants. However, in the coming years, ACF plans to establish more SEDIs within 100 kms to 200 kms radius of plant locations in partnership with other like-minded organizations.
Whilst many stakeholders are 'jumping on the skills bandwagon', few are delivering tangible outcomes to students and communities and many players in the market are small, unaccredited centres that do not meet the guidelines of the government or the needs of local rural youth.
ACF's skills programme stands apart in this regard. The sectors for vocational training are chosen carefully at each SEDI centre after understanding the market needs and local skill requirement, for example, automobile, construction, electrical, garment-making, beauty and retail. It is this careful mapping that enables SEDI centres to meet the needs of local employers who provide tangible, real jobs to trainees on completion of their courses - providing much needed secondary family incomes to underprivileged families who rely on unpredictable income from agriculture.
This is in alignment with guidelines stipulated by Skill India Mission which states that the 'implementation framework should align to the demands of the employer for a well-trained skilled workforce with aspirations of Indian citizens for sustainable livelihoods.'
Whilst the programme was meeting the needs of ACF communities, the team was aspirational to make an even bigger impact - harnessing the proven model of SEDI to reach out to many more needy youth in the interiors
In the community of Murshidabad, Farakka, West Bengal where ACF runs a SEDI, geographical barriers left youth who lived in remote areas with no opportunity to access skill training. To tackle this problem, the team at SEDI set their sights on establishing two residential facilities, and with the launch of the DDU-GKY Scheme, under the Ministry of Rural Development and Utkarsh Bangla (PBSSD, GoWB), in 2017, ACF became one of the first implementing partners under the scheme. Funding was allotted to ACF for the establishment of hostel facilities to support rural youth from marginalised communities in the districts of Howrah, Hoogli, Malda and Murshidabad, West Bengal, in accessing skill training. Additionally, the Ministry provided financial support for 1125 trainees to attend skill training courses - learning trades such as 2/3 Wheeler Automobile, Electrician, Sewing Machine Operator, Smartphone Repair and Welding.
- Trained over 62,000 youth till date
- From 1 Centres in 2006 to 33 Centres in 2019
- 21 Funding Partners
- 10 Knowledge Partners
- 2700 Placement Partners