Vandana Foundation and Skills Academy had started offering free skills training to many which have started bearing fruit already. Around 100 young people from the slum areas of Mumbai have been given training for skill development in banking, BPO (business process outsourcing), retail and many other jobs during the last three months.
The training program is the initiative of Vandana Foundation, a non-profit enterprise based in Mumbai and Skills Academy, a startup company for skills training.
The initiative is aimed at combating the twin evils that plague the country currently-lack of education and poverty on the one side and shortage in skilled manpower on the other.
According to Saumya Roy who is chief executive at Vandana Foundation, around 90 percent students of the training program have received a minimum of two job opportunities from various companies such as HDFC Bank, Serco, KFC, Café Coffee Day, Reliance Shared Services and Reliance Retail.
Saumya Roy said that one of the students out of the program got a job offer for Rs. 18,000 as the starting salary from Serco. The various skills for which training is imparted at the program include basic computer education, English speaking, basics of BPO industry, dining etiquettes, debating, talent-building etc.
The students who are attending the BPO course have already passed the Nasscom Assessment Competence, which is a certification test conducted by Nasscom, the Indian software lobby.
The initial success of the venture has inspired the alliance to propel their further plans forward. They are aiming to take in around 6000 students in the current year and the pilot project is to be implemented in various other cities of Maharashtra as well.
Skills Academy is a venture that has been established by Pramod Bhasin who is the vice chairman and founder of Genpact, the largest BPO in India, and Pia Singh of DLF, the real estate major.
The Academy plans to charge nominal fees for the courses for skill development offered by them in the future as the venture seems to have the potential to expand all over India.
According to Pia Singh, their aim is to create a social enterprise for profit. She said that their approach towards the project was not with a mindset for business. Their motto was to set up a business that make profit and generates money and at the same time, aims at creating large-scale social change.
According to S Ramadorai, advisor to the Prime Minister in the National Council on Skill Development and vice chairman of TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) said that India would have a requirement of 400-500 million skilled workers in different fields by the year 2020.
As per a white paper submitted by FICCI on skill development, one of the biggest challenges that the country faces in the present day is the task of skill-building.