National Youth Day is observed in India on the 12th Jan every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The was established by the government of India in 1984 in order to honour and recognise the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
The theme of the National Youth Day 2023 is ‘Viksit Yuva, Viksit Bharat.’ On this day, let us look at the top companies for CSR for youth.
The employability of graduate Engineers has & is always been a concern in India. Tata Technologies pioneered its flagship CSR program, ‘Ready Engineer, ’ way back in 2010-11, with employability enhancement in tier 2/3 city students as its core objective. Addressing the gap in the industry-academic & disconnect with tech developments, ‘Ready Engineer 2.0’, in 2019 add the element of innovation and entrepreneurial skills, making it most relevant in today’s fast-changing environment. A major part of the program is developed by and run by the employees/subject-matter-experts of Tata Technologies, thereby bringing their live project experience from the design studios into the college classrooms & in turn, making the students industry-ready and billable in the shortest time.
The program, with its unique design, has become scalable and self-sustainable and creates a multifold impact. It addresses the gaps in the engineering education system by providing access to contemporary technology courses, comprehensive soft skills, employability assessment covering cognitive and logical reasoning, aptitude, personality traits skills, NPTEL scholarships etc. Over 70 to 100 women Engineers from low-income families are supported financially for the entire engineering course.
Under the innovation leg, students are provided with access to live problem-solving industrial projects in the MSME sector, thereby strengthening the research aptitude amongst students and MSMEs. Under the entrepreneurship domain, students are trained in product development, design-thinking, legal aspects etc. Supporting youth in the pre-incubation phase of their entrepreneurial journey is another important area where we play a vital role through initiatives such as ‘India Innovation Accelerator Program’ wherein apart from financial and mentorship support, they are also provided with access to national & international virtual platform in the start-up ecosystem.
The program reaches & impacts over 5,000 youths and 100 Professors every year from 33 Engineering colleges across 6 clusters in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Certain courses are recognized as ‘electives’ by State Technical University DBATU. Over 100 innovative projects are created & supported in MSMEs every year with the help of local industry associations. Ready Engineer is also recognized as an “Honorable Mention” at the National CSR Awards 2019 by MCA, Govt. of India.
With an objective to address the acute skill deficit in the country, NASSCOM Foundation is working relentlessly to empower over 700 individuals from marginalized communities with digital literacy, delivering life skills and socioemotional skills; job-specific skills, which support the transition into the workforce; and entrepreneurial skills to enable the youth to become self-reliant and future –ready.
According to India Skills Report 2022 by Wheebox, the overall youth employability in India stood at 48.7%. However, various skilling initiatives spearheaded by the government are covering the ground, but not enough to meet the targeted supply of 109 million workers by 2022. To bridge the skill gap in India, NASSCOM Foundations’ Resurgent Communities Program, supported by Micro Focus, has successfully trained 730 community members with digital literacy skills and nurtured 35 micro-entrepreneurs in the community by providing them with basic entrepreneurial skills. These include creating awareness about relevant government schemes and portals, introduction to using digital devices such as smartphones and laptops, educating the communities on the uses of digital payments and building awareness on cybercrime, internet fraud and social bullying.
Apart from the skills training, individuals have also been guided on increasing self-awareness through aptitude and soft skills training to help them understand the different career paths and the skills that they will need in order to achieve those roles down the line. As part of the project, 300 potential candidates have been given the assisted with communication skills, resume building, formal terminologies and their usages, technical and non-technical job training required for job placements and have also been connected with relevant industry professions/partners for internship and permanent job opportunities. Additionally, Micro Focus has distributed tablets to several school students at the training centre to help blend online and mainstream education. This encourages students to use digital platforms to support their studies. Executed by Smile Foundation, these trainings are imparted once a week for an hour at a training centre based in Bangalore.
Talking about the impact of the initiative, Nidhi Bhasin, CEO of NASSCOM Foundation, said, “A 2020-21 Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data states that 86 per cent of those between 15 and 59 years had not received any vocational training and the remaining 14 per cent had received training through diverse formal and informal channels. To convert this pool into human capital will require a dedicated focus on skilling and education. There is more than enough evidence to prove that upskilling the youth could lead to increased incomes, higher profitability and greater productivity in the economy. India is growing in terms of the young population, and we are confident that our collaboration with Micro Focus can transform the youth into an asset through skilling and therefore contribute to nation-building.”
Sarah Atkinson, Director of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) at Micro Focus, said: “It is imperative that industry stakeholders, including the government and private and public sector together, bring cognitive skill, growth mindset, cultural intelligence, and digital literacy to create innovators and entrepreneurs in the country and enable the youth to be job ready and contributing significantly to the country’s economic empowerment. Micro Focus is proud to support such an impactful program which builds the capacity of youth for various kinds of job opportunities and provides budding entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to expand their business journey at speed and scale.”
Young children are the future of the world and to build better lives for children, Godrej Agrovet took a small a small step by contributing time and resources to train and educate young children in rural regions of India. Godrej Agrovet initiated ‘Pragati’ – a community-based programme to educate the children and provide them with the benefits to build their future. With the view of offering basic education and facilities, the Pragati programme aims to reach the maximum number of children in the rural areas of India. Under the program, two projects have been initiated and partnered with by various foundations/institutions. Covering different geographies across India, the programme has supported more than 5000 students to date.
Being lost in the digital era of the pandemic with limited or no access to computers and the internet, Godrej Agrovet initiated a project called Digital Cafe in December 2020. Partnering with AAS Vidhyalaya, they set up digital cafes in schools in small districts and villages like Chandauli, Miraj and Mahad. The campaign was launched with an eye to supporting young children during the uncertain times of the pandemic when many were unable to continue their education due to unstable or no internet connection and other digital resources. The programme includes support from mentors and teachers who are present at the learning centre to motivate students and parents to study and track their progress. Since its inception, that program has covered 1563 students and has engaged with more than 60,000 hours on the platform.
While project 1 covered digital education, project 2 covered the physical well-being of young children in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. Initiated in October 2021, ‘Sports for change’ was implemented with the support of Sportz Village Foundation, wherein more than 4700 students were provided with the opportunity of broad-based sports education. The training is provided at the grass-root level for kids who do not have access to good quality sports education and resources. The aim is to improve health, educational outcomes and development-related outcomes of disadvantaged children through sports.
Through this project, students are trained in various sports on a weekly basis. This encourages them to stay physically active and fit. While the project began during the pandemic, the activities were taken up in communities and on online platforms. However, since June 2022, offline training and activities have been conducted in schools that will help students connect better with sports. The engagement for this activity is at 80 per cent.
The Mahindra Pride Classrooms (MPC) programme was initiated in 2016 to create an asset-light model for the expansion of the already successful Mahindra Pride School programme. The modular training program in life, language, and aptitude skills is designed for students enrolled in government/government-aided vocational colleges and institutions. Under the programme, the institution is required to provide space and 40 hours of their academic timetable to the MPC team, which is utilized towards imparting critical skills to the students boosting their employability. Currently operational in 12 states and has trained a total of 392,360 students, MPC is touted to become India’s most popular skilling programme. From the expanding metropolis of Chennai to the Govt. Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in the remotest village on the fringes of Purulia, West Bengal, the programme spans the entire nation. In states like Andhra Pradesh which has 79 ITIs, MPC has trained students in every single one of them. The network of 7023 classrooms has found its way to almost every corner of the country, touching 19 states over the last 4 years.
In 2018, the MPC programme also introduced an innovative, tech-enabled job drive known as Job Utsav. A total of 42 Job Utsavs have been conducted since each, recording a footfall of over 10,000 students and the participation of over 100 potential employers. In the last financial year (2020-21), the programme overcame the challenges imposed by the COVID lockdown by shifting its training entirely online and ensuring that over 40,000 students were skilled. Partnering with government institutions lies at the core of the MPC model, the number of which continues to grow as the programme looks forward to training 100,000 students by March 2022.
Newgen Software contributes to the holistic development of underprivileged children. In its continuous endeavour to enhance the quality of education for these children, it constituted the Personality Development and Career Counselling program under the aegis of its flagship initiative Newgen Digital Discovery Paathshala (NDDP), in 2019.
– Personality Development Program
While working with the students in the government schools the Company adopted under NDDP, it realised a critical need to build their self-confidence and self-worth. Therefore, it introduced self-motivation and self-development sessions under the personality development program and engaged an external organisation to help with the execution.
These sessions included life skills development and a peer leadership program. Both these initiatives aim toward the holistic development of the students by helping them become change-makers. Additionally, the senior students (peer leaders) act as catalysts in creating awareness on various topics, including mental health, self-awareness, well-being, understanding emotions, etc.
NR Centre for Community Development
NR Centre for Community Development program, started in 2019, is an initiative taken by the NR foundation to empower the differently-abled and disadvantaged community through skill and entrepreneurship development training programs that provide equitable and inclusive employment and livelihood opportunities. The organisation was set up to provide visually impaired, physically challenged, and economically challenged students with training in basic computers, English, and soft skills. As part of the program, the foundation also facilitates job placements after training the participants.
Ranga Rao Memorial School for Differently Abled
Ranga Rao Memorial School for Differently Abled (RMSD) is an initiative by NRRS to bring the light of education into the lives of visually challenged girls from underprivileged families. Apart from the regular school curriculum, the girls are given mobility training and taught life skills, music, dance, and basic cooking, giving them the confidence to be responsible for themselves. A few students have brought pride to the institution by choosing to pursue higher studies in regular schools. RMSD Alumni are today proudly employed in private and government sectors, thus making a bold statement and case for inclusive workplaces.
Vocational Training for Women
NR Foundation firmly believes that empowering women is critical for a society to thrive. The association conducts vocational training programs for women in tribal and rural areas, teaching them skills that include bamboo splitting, stick-making, agarbatti rolling, and packaging. This program is also provided as rehabilitation training at Mysore Central Prison and prisons across Karnataka State.
Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS)
HGS’ approach towards community impact is to enable access to basic endowments for individuals so that the communities can move towards greater possibilities. In line with this, HGS extensively works in the area of vocational and employability skilling, in addition to nutrition, education, PwD welfare and education. Over the past 7 years, HGS has constantly supported the skilling of close to 3,000 youth in order to help them find jobs and improve the overall quality of life for their families and communities.
HGS has partnered with the Magic Bus Foundation to impart employability skills through the Youth Livelihood Program. This has enabled employment for over 85% of the beneficiaries across BPM, finance and retail sectors. The program goes beyond vocation-oriented skills training for the youth and focuses on building leaders within underserved communities. The beneficiaries who are placed through the program often emerge as the youth-role models for the communities and bring credibility to the individuals. Banking on this, the program focuses on fostering collaboration and dialogue across age groups (this is also the theme of IYD 2022). the program has been successful in initiating discussions with community elders and parents on various sensitive yet critical topics such as alternate career paths for their children, sex education, sanitation & hygiene etc., all led by the community youth leaders created by the YLP program.
Today ~65% of India’s youth live in rural areas. Hence rural youth skilling interventions are critical to the overall development of the communities. Considering this, HGS took up Vocational skills training for rural women in Chikkaballapur District across 7 taluks. As part of this program, 200 women are currently undergoing training in tailoring, beautician courses, computer skills and spoken English. The program has also helped fulfil the entrepreneurial aspirations of over 50+ women as they run their own tailoring businesses and beauty parlours. This has not only enabled the beneficiaries to become the primary breadwinners of families but also increase their roles in household decision-making.
Microsoft Cybersecurity Program
As global systems experience digitisation of processes, a major gap is expected to be seen in the job market. On the one hand, many older skills are to become obsolete with AI replacing the need for human intervention, while on the other hand, new skills are expected to be in high demand to keep up with the rising threats of cybersecurity, among other challenges.
Keeping into consideration the future of the job market, Microsoft has launched a Cybersecurity Program in 24 countries, including India.
Microsoft’s CyberShikshaa program is helping break down the gender divide in the cybersecurity field in India. Since 2018, the program has helped young women with technical training in cybersecurity with mentoring from industry experts, especially from women leaders in the field, followed by job placement assistance with leading companies. By 2025, the cybersecurity sector in India will have an estimated 1.5 million job vacancies. This represents a 42% talent shortage even as cybersecurity job growth is projected to grow by 32% by 2028, according to India’s Labor Bureau. The demand is there, but more must be done to meet it; most higher education and technical institutes do not offer cybersecurity courses.
Microsoft has also partnered with ICT Academy, a nonprofit in India, to develop cybersecurity training programs for educators and higher-education students at 100 institutions in five states, with an emphasis on rural colleges. Through this initiative, CyberShikshaa for Educators, Microsoft aims to help more faculty become cybersecurity trainers and then provide students with cybersecurity training and job placement assistance to help them find new careers. In the first phase, the company aims to train about 6,000 students and then work with its partner network to connect students to job opportunities and internships.
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