The ‘World Population Prospects: The 2016 Revision’ Population Database by the United Nations projects India as having the world’s highest number of 10- to 24-year-olds, at 242 million, as compared to nations such as China, which claims the second spot with 185 million youth.
According to the same database, India is expected to have a 34.33% share of the world’s youth population by 2020. This puts India at an advantageous position globally, yet it is not being effectively utilised. With the GDP that was growing at 8% per year (2018-19) and millions of skill-based jobs being created, Indian youth needs to be adequately educated, skilled, and technologically literate.
However, the problem lies within India’s low-income population, who might not have access to quality education and Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) according to Dasra.org, which results in high drop-out levels, lack of motivation, and a lack of skills required in current jobs such as technical literacy and soft skills.
Although the government is trying to tackle the issue of poor mainstream education systems, they are not fully succeeding. This is where the importance of social enterprises, NGOs and inspiring individuals comes in. One such inspiring individual is Vivek Sahil, who traveled down from Pune to Mumbai to make his mark on enhancing youth employability.
Mumbai is a city of contrasts. Within these numerous contrasts lies the enormous wealth gap, which can be seen between the skyline of glistening high-rise buildings and its overcrowded slums. One of the biggest slums in Mumbai is Dharavi. It is filled with gifted, hardworking and determined young people who want to better their lives. That’s where Vivek comes in. This 21-year-old graduate has a passion for business and entrepreneurship that impacts our society.
Vivek partnered with a Dharavi-born and bred social enterprise, “Be The Local Tours” on a program “Enhancing Youth Employability.” The homegrown organisation hires young local guides to show tourists a different side to Dharavi whilst earning an income to help pay for their studies. All the local guides are students, a criteria needed to be a tour guide for the firm.
After learning about the different areas the young guides were struggling with, Vivek put together a comprehensive training module to present to them in the heart of Dharavi. We walked through the crowded streets of Dharavi until we reached the Be The Local Tours office, a small room located up a steep step ladder.
From the get-go, Vivek had their full attention. He used examples, anecdotes, prominent business figures and questions to gain their understanding and got them interested. The young guides were full of questions and a desire to learn too. The presentation taught the young men the fundamentals of starting their own business, how to use online platforms to increase their profits, and the importance of a good resume and soft skills.
Although these young men are all in college, they have not been privileged enough to have access to the top schools and additional help that a portion of Indian youth does. This makes the work Vivek is doing even more important. He is transferring the skills he has had the privilege of learning onto the young men and giving them the tools to start better preparing for their future. The work and effort he is putting into his presentations and interacting with the young men of Dharavi, coupled with the young guides’ determination to better their lives, will go much further than he anticipated.