Skilling India: Improving employability of youth from low-Income families

| | Ranchi
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Skilling India: Improving employability of youth from low-Income families

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 | PNS | Ranchi

Manoj is a suburban boy who had to take up family responsibilities very early on in his life, when he had to quit his education mid-way in order to support his ailing mother. Having not completed graduation, it was very difficult for him to find a fulfilling job.

He started working as a delivery agent. But he was losing confidence at his workplace with every passing day. When customers or colleagues used to speak in English, he didn’t know how to respond to them. He was worried about talking to strangers as well. It was during this time that he learnt about The/Nudge Foundation’s Future Perfect program from his friends.

At Future Perfect, he built his spoken English and communication skills and gradually became confident to speak in front of people. He is still working on and improving his English, but the fear of speaking up in English has gone entirely. This also helped him in preparing for interviews, and other important career skills.

Manoj now works at a Barista outlet in Bengaluru and earns Rs. 18,000 per month along with incentives! He has also started saving his income and has recently invested in a life insurance scheme. He can confidently say that his quality of life has changed after undergoing the Future Perfect program.

There are 364 million youth in India between the ages of 15 and 29 years. Over 80% of this  youth population is believed to be unemployable. The scale of this challenge with youth employability is bigger in India than in any other country in the world today.

The/Nudge Centre for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (CSDE) started working towards improving youth employability and the quality of life for youth in 2015 with its flagship program - Gurukul, a 90-day fully residential training program for underprivileged youth - aimed at job and life-readiness. The Gurukuls are located in Bangalore and Delhi, have benefitted more than 6000 youth from over 10 Indian states, enabling them to specialize in livelihoods such as BPO, Retail, Plumbing, Electrician, Beauty and achieving 100% placements.

With the intention of increasing the scale and providing quality education to underprivileged youth in every nook and corner of the country, The/Nudge CSDE launched the Future Perfect program in 2019. /Future Perfect is currently delivered online. It incorporates all the learnings from Gurukul, and adapts it to the online medium. It may have been born out of the needs of the pandemic situation, but has been developed for the needs of the future. It is aimed at making youth employable for various job roles in the service sector by providing training in spoken English, 21st century skills (critical thinking, creativity, team work, emotional development), interview preparation, career awareness & other essential workplace skills.

/Future Perfect is a 260 hour program delivered through online and offline platforms with a focus on experiential & project based learning. Students learn through activities, mini projects and group assignments. The program has very early on adopted gamification techniques to drive higher engagement, retention and learning outcomes among the students.

The prime focus of the program is on youth between the age of 18-29 years from rural & semi-urban, low-income families, whose primary source of iIncome is agriculture or daily wage work. /Future Perfect is currently serving students from operational across 10+ states, impacting 10,000 youth a year and is planning to increase its scale to 25,000 youth a year in the next few years. 

“I am more confident now and  I can  express my thoughts clearly in English.  I can’t thank my trainer and the /Future Perfect team enough for being a part of my journey”, says Soniya, one of the /Future Perfect students, who received a 30% salary increase from her previous employer after she completed the program.

180 million youth will enter India’s workforce in the next 15 years. With a massive skill deficit of 400 million people by 2022, we are facing a simultaneous opportunity and challenge. Skilling and employability programs are highly essential to bridge the gulf between talent and employment, hand-holding youth from a demographic inertia to a demographic dividend.

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