Some Innovative Initiatives in Skills

13 July 2016

Innovative ideas, concepts and practices can positively impact and create a multiplier effect in the skill development space. Some of the skill development initiatives by various companies, practitioners and training agencies have implemented unique interventions to reach out to the remote areas or target a range of beneficiaries. Some of these initiatives are mentioned below:

Livelihood Advancement Business School for Persons with Disability
In 2010, Dr Reddy’s Foundation (DRF) initiated a special training component as an extension to their existing CSR project of Livelihood Advancement Business School to address the need of disabled youth.

The 60-day training with a customized curriculum was designed with inputs from industry experts to ensure the training would empower differently-abled youth to get suitable employment. Sign language interpreters are also involved as the present curriculum caters to youth with orthopedic or hearing impairments. Post-training, students are supported for job placements.

Lady Tractor Drivers Training Program
Lady Tractor Drivers Training Program, a CSR initiative of Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (M&M), gives women the opportunity and education to get behind the wheel of one of their farm’s most valued assets. This program, and others like it, is helping women step out of the shadows and into the forefront of farming.

M&M along with its dealers and farmers have developed courses to help women build self-confidence in safely handling tractors and their accessories, educate them in tractor maintenance, and prepare them for proper licensing to operate tractors as professional drivers. It’s an ambitious goal: teaching women how to do everything from operating and driving a tractor to becoming licensed operators all in just three days of training. But Mahindra knew how driven Indian women can be when faced with a challenge, and it was confident that the program would be a success.

Learning Initiative for Employment
DLF Foundation has established a series of Skill Training Centers with the aim of training 1 million youth. The objective is to reach out beyond the conventional trades and provide instruction in a host of emerging avenues including Hospitality, Customer Relations and Sales, IT enabled services, Electronics and Construction. Market linkages have been established to ensure employment of all trainees.

To train the underprivileged and enable them to earn their livelihood, DLF has established Employability Linked Vocational Training Centers under the banner of DLF LIFE (Learning Initiative for Employment). Trainees at these Centers largely comprise of rural unemployed youth and those from underserved areas. After successful completion of training the trainees are provided employment assistance. The programme has been carried out through 42 centres in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi.

Bees for empowerment
The decline in agricultural growth and productivity in India is negatively affecting the lives of marginal farmers who comprise 75% of India’s population. Alternative means of livelihoods thus, can be very effective in providing an additional source of income.

Taj Group, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and EdelGive Foundation, provides monetary and non-monetary support to Under The Mango Tree (UTMT) a social enterprise that promotes beekeeping to enhance incomes and improve livelihoods of marginal farmers in India. UTMT promotes beekeeping to increase agricultural productivity, enhance incomes and improve livelihoods of the marginal farmers. The farmers are being trained to use bees to diversify their revenue sources and by establishing market access for the honey produced.

While Taj Group provides engages with the village communities by introducing beekeeping as a livelihood option and by providing financial support to programme implementation; RBS supports UTMT with volunteers in various events and programmes. EdelGive Foundation is providing financial and capacity building support to UTMT since 2009 that includes strategic planning with thoughts on organization structure, hiring plans, fund-raising strategies and process improvements.

Giving school dropouts a Second Chance
With a staggering 70% dropout in schools, India is looking at a social issue with huge unemployment/ under- employment, which cannot be addressed till a large percentage of school dropouts are given vocational training enabling them to earn a living.

Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF), the CSR arm of Marico Limited, has been extending its support to Yuva Parivartan (YP), Kherwadi Social Welfare Association’s flagship programme. Incepted in 1998, Yuva Parivartan annually empowers 1,00,000 school dropouts of which over 60% are gainfully employed including those that take a bigger leap of becoming entrepreneur.

Although YP had successfully managed to create a low cost traing model, it was constrained by the number of youth who came to its physical centres. The key challenge was to set up

infrastructure in remote areas where the population was scattered, ensuring that the youth need not travel long distances to get trained.
To address this challenge, MIF team along with its Knowledge Partner Innovation Alchemy evolved a mobile camp model. The mobile camp enables free life-skills and experiential industry-level training to youth at home itself. Placement guidance is also provided to those trained in nearby villages and towns or cities. YP is standardizing the mobile camp modules into replicable formats, thus enabling other private and not-for profits organizations to use this model across India. MIF and YP are working towards creating a market based placement model. YP team, aims to skill over one million youth and engage with other constituencies in the skill universe to embrace the model incubated by MIF.

5by20 – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
Studies show that women do 66 percent of the world’s work, yet earn 10 percent of the world’s income—90 percent of which goes back to their families and communities. To help address this disparity, The Coca Cola Company launched a global initiative, 5by20 in 2010 to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across all six segments of the Company’s value chain by 2020. Drawing on local expertise, capabilities and resources, 5by20 aims to help women entrepreneurs overcome the common social and economic barriers they face due to the lack of business skills training, financial services, assets, peer networks and mentoring.

The initiative has taken shape and is being implemented through 4 on-ground projects by Coca Cola India- Ekocool Solar Powered Cooler, Parivartan, Pragati and Unnati. Project Parivartan and Pragati builds the retailing capabilities of women entrepreneurs especially in the areas of product knowledge, business start up support, shop management, customer interactions and, cash & stock management. The solar coolers help reduce the cost of running retail business for women retailers in electricity deficit areas of rural India. The company also supports women mango farmers to adopt modern farming techniques and good agricultural practices.

i-Saksham Education and Learning Foundation is an initiative of Prime Minister Rural Development Fellows (PMRDFs), which trains youth from isolated, remote and backward areas to be digitally equipped community tutors. A tablet powered with content on elementary education and IT skills is shared with each tutor on lease basis. The tutor runs a financially sustainable community learning centre to tutor kids and youths. The innovation is now being implemented in two districts of Bihar affected by Leftwing extremism.

As a service-based concept, i-Saksham provides the following benefits: