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The Skills They Taught You In College Are Very Different From What The Employers Want

By Anup Patwardhan:

Are you a part of the great Indian rat race? The county has a vast pool of talent and everyone is running mindlessly, not even aware that the race in reality, is not even a race. It is more like a run on the hamster wheel. There will be no stopping until we ourselves decide to put an end to it. The participants in this ‘run on the wheel’ are large in number. This number however, is not that significant when compared with the total populace of close to 1.25 billion. There is still a significant part of potential that is virtually, going down the drain.

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The number of unemployed youth today, is large. I will not get into the statistics for the sheer variations that are existent in different findings. The bottom line is that unemployment is threatening to plague the future of our nation. On the other hand, there are many vacancies that exist in our industries. According to ‘The National Association of Softwares and Services Companies’, there are about 3 million graduates and post graduates who enter the workforce each year. Almost a quarter fof these i.e. 25% are from a technical background. However, only 10 — 15% are considered employable by the IT/ITES industry.

A similar situation can be found world over. In a report titled ‘Education to Unemployment’ published by McKinsey, it is mentioned that the high percentage of unemployment can be attributed to the lack of skilful workforce. In US, 45% employers say that the vacancies at entry level jobs are due to the lack of skills while 42% of the employers worldwide believe that entry level workers are not efficient enough to begin work skilfully.

At the root of this problem lies the rift in the skills that are being imparted through various education platforms and the skills that are needed in industries and the actual field. The primary reason for this rift can be attributed to the inability of the outdated syllabus to keep abreast with the current demands of the job. Rectifications in this lacuna will be a time consuming process. This will only result in widening of the rift, further making it difficult to patch the gap.

There needs to be a support mechanism for this process of upgradation and assistance must be provided to ease the transition for entering the workforce from academic universe. Introducing skills training can come in handy in such scenarios. Providing training that will enrich the trainees with skills that are needed in the field and in industries will help them with their chances of landing a job. Thus, such training programs apart from providing a boost to the skill sets that the trainees have in their arsenal, will also be able to provide the necessary shot in the arm against rampant unemployment.

Upgradation of skills cannot just be limited to the new entrants in the workforce but also for the old war horses. They can stay updated with the changing times; not to forget that the improved productivity and efficiency that these programs will be able to deliver. It is a win-win situation for the firms as well as their employees, both present and prospective. Even the new government has started paying attention into this aspect. This is pretty evident from the Prime Minister’s first address in the parliament when he said that it was time to reform our identity to being ‘Skills India’. There has been a separate ministry for Entrepreneurship and Skills Development that has been created by the Central Government. Sarbananda Sonowal is head of this department. This is first such instance where a separate ministry has been created for the cause by our government. We must, though, not wait for the government to act and be proactively taking the necessary measures that will benefit us as individuals as well as India Inc. together. We must look into enhancing our skill sets that will provide a boost to our career. This, along with improving the employability chances of the ones not employed yet will also help lay a strong foundation to their careers in the industry.

In the McKinsey report, cited earlier, it is also mentioned that the employers are willing to pay 22% more salaries to the employees if they are equipped with the required skills. The employers as such can be said to be on a look out for readymade employees. With this in mind, there can also be collaborations between the education institutes and the industry to get rid of the skills gap.

Skills development can also be achieved through various internships. An impetus must be given in providing students with trainings at college level. The skills training will be a career building option. The trainings will act as a career booster for them. Skills training can also be achieved through internships which can help with the skills that are necessary in the required field. internship programs are helpful in imparting soft and transferable skills to the interns. There are various ways to get into an internship program in India. One such website that provides internship options in Letsintern. There also are others like Twenty19, Internshala, Hellointern, Makeintern among others. Many companies like Intel, Microsoft, Siemens also give industry exposure to the students via internships.

The training program can also give the trainees some exposure of the industry. There will also be an improved productivity that can be attributed to the expertise that will be gained through the skills training programs. The trainees will also become industry oriented with strong foundation knowledge and will have the competencies that are required to excel in a job.

You must be to comment.
  1. Kinshuk

    School life was a waste. due to which now my college life is getting wasted.

  2. PRIA India

    We are talking about exactly this topic over the next few days at the Youth and Inclusive Citizenship Workshop organized by PRIA and ASPBAE.. JP Rai Director General of National Skill Development Agency would follow the live blog http://priaaspbae50.wordpress.com/

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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