This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhimanyu Saxena - Co-founder, Scaler Academy. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How Skill Development Courses Can Fill The Gap Between Recruitment And Employability

In 2017-18, 33% of Indian youth was unemployed. While unemployment has always been a cause of concern for India and at the forefront of the nation’s challenges, this figure causes alarm as it includes formally trained professionals, too.

India is considered among the youngest nations in the world. However, while this remains one of our strongest virtues that can contribute to us becoming a global power, the lack of practical skills holds us back. The recent unemployment numbers among trained youth are a testament to India’s faulty education system and the lack of the right learning opportunities for young professionals.

Government Projections And Reality

The Government of India had announced that it wanted to create a workforce of 500 million skilled professionals by the year 2022. Of course, the government did not foresee the coronavirus pandemic and the obstruction it would bring with it. Nevertheless, these goals seem unattainable from where we stand, a year from 2022.

a group of students sitting in class studying
Representational image

 

There was a time when a degree could get a person their desired job. However, a degree is no longer equivalent to education as even educated Indian youth find it hard to get a job where they can excel. The biggest issue remains the battle between theoretical and practical knowledge. Classroom learning is more or less focused on theory. When students step into professional world, they find themselves ill-equipped to handle the work that comes their way.

The unemployment rate for postgraduates is 36.2% and graduates 35.2%. Professionals with formal vocational training have an unemployment rate of 33%. This highlights the inadequacies in our education system.

Importance Of Skill Development To Reduce Unemployment

Recruiters across industries are struggling to find skilled candidates as most of the educated Indian youth is not necessarily ready for employment. They still lack new-age skills that companies are using on a day-to-day basis. Tech professionals may be the most impacted. With limited online and offline courses for industry-specific training such as engineering, IT, etc., most young professionals lack confidence while encountering on-the-floor problems at their workplace. Moreover, since schools, colleges and universities are following age-old curricula, there is a significant dearth of knowledge of new technologies being adopted by industries. This poses a hurdle when professionals come to face with a real-life circumstance.

But this is where skill development can help. Skill development can end the disparity between the numbers of skilled and unemployed youth. Skill development goes a notch above education and makes students ready to be professionals. Being one of the youngest nations in the world, India has the potential to be a preferred destination for global sourcing. Skill development can bring this to reality by instilling more confidence in young professionals.

As their employability will increase, unemployment rates will decrease and ultimately lead to the nation’s financial growth.

man siting on laptop at his home
Representational image.

Solution

Only 3% of India’s workforce is formally trained. On the other hand, over 80% of China’s workforce is trained. With immediate competition in our neighbourhood, we need to adopt better strategies too. It is time to say goodbye to mediocre standards of education and adopt newer methods. The higher the standards of training and skill development, the better our workforce can be.

Edtech platforms are bridging the gap by offering programmes that provide insights from industry experts and a curriculum that helps an Indian youth take the journey from being students to professionals and, ultimately, true leaders.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) can also contribute to solving the problem. Skill development still does not get the kind of attention it deserves. The NSDC can create more awareness around it and come up with suitable programmes that can help professionals. Its current success rate of placements is only 12%. This speaks volumes of the cracks that still exist in the curriculum.

These issues may likely take many years to solve. But a step in the right direction can help us get there eventually. Change can only come when the government, the education system, industries and students unanimously understand and acknowledge the importance of skill development and hands-on knowledge.

About the author: Abhimanyu Saxena is the co-founder of Scaler Academy, an upskilling platform for students &and working professionals.

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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.

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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.

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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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