While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the shutdown of educational institutions and training centres across the nation, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF), the CSR arm of GMR Group has introduced an online solution to train school/ college dropout youth to enhance their employability during the lockdown.
GMRVCEL (GMR Varalakshmi Centre for Empowerment and Livelihoods–Hyderabad) at Shamshabad is a Skill Development Centre supported under CSR of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, which has been offering several skill-based training facilities to the unemployed youth from across the state since 2008. However, due to compulsive shut-down of the training centre amidst pandemic, this was adversely impacting the youth who were dependent upon the skill-based training courses imparted by GMRVF.
For their benefit, GMRVF introduced customized online training classes, which could be accessed by the candidates from the safety of their homes. GMRVF has adapted all available courses (except Driving) into a ‘Blended Learning Method’. This approach combines online educational literature and opportunities for virtual interaction along with physical training (to be conducted once the centre opens as per Govt. guidelines). The course is also beneficial as it offers students some element of control over their time, place, path, or pace.
For this training module, the candidates who are selected are being given online training classes in their respective line of subjects. They are taught Selected Job Role content, Soft Skills, Spoken English and also assessed through Online Assessments during these sessions. Once the centre operations recommence as per the govt guidelines, the practical sessions will be imparted to these candidates. Through this online teaching methodology the students are not at a loss in any manner and stand to benefit with the education they get.
The courses under blended learning methods include – Drywall & False Ceiling Technician, Excavator Operator, Welding Technician, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician, Automobiles and Two wheeler repairing, Solar Technician, Electrical House Wiring, Hotel Management (F&B), Computers – MS Office & DTP (Only for Women), and Tailoring. All school and college dropout youth are eligible to join these courses.
Till now GMRVF at Hyderabad has trained over 9500 youth with 90% placement record. The centre has tied up with various industry partners over the years, like Voltas, Schneider, Hero MotoCorp, Volvo, Everest Industry, Maruti Driving School, etc. for quality training, joint certification and placement support. The trainings at the centre are part of the Skill India Mission. It has also undertaken a unique RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) project under the PMKVY scheme for training and certifying all the airport House Keeping and landscaping staff. Till now over 400 such staff have been trained and certified.
Another interesting and successful initiative has been related to women empowerment. Around ten years back, women from villages near the airport were trained for making jute bags, paper products, etc. To take this training to its logical end, it was thought that market linkage has to be provided for the products that are being made by the women group. Hence the initiative of EMPOWER – ‘Enabling Marketing of Products of Women Entrepreneurs’ was born in 2008. The women’s group at Shamshabad has been registered as a separate cooperative society while GMRVF supports in providing the space, machines, etc. as well as marketing avenues such as two shops in the airport, bulk orders for conferences and seminars, corporate stalls and online sales. The turnover of the initiative has reached around INR 75 lakhs and participating women are able to earn around INR 10,000 to 12,000 every month.
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