It is imperative in skilling programmes to ensure that trainees are conditioned for technical and non-technical training before their commencement and their expectations set and managed.
Occasionally, people’s aspirations may not be in tune with their local realities. To ensure that skills imparted are appropriate for trainees, it is important to map aptitudes that determine the current skill set and learning capabilities of the trainees.
Sensitising parents and families
To create greater acceptance for the skill development programme, it is important to engage with parents and families of the potential trainees. Families can actively encourage and maintain oversight of target groups such as unemployed youth or school dropouts to consistently attend and complete skill development programmes.
On the other hand, in traditional households, parents and families could also act as a roadblock for beneficiaries, especially young girls and women, due to socio-cultural barriers. Engaging and convincing families, thus, becomes not just desirable but necessary.
Here are two examples of CSR programmes which benefitted from pre-training counseling.
Ambuja Cement Foundation
Established in 1993, Ambuja Cement Foundation works exclusively with rural communities in various areas including skill-based livelihood generation. As part of this, ACF has instituted Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (SEDI) that provide vocational training, backed by life skills to local youth.
Some training courses conducted by SEDI require participants to relocate for jobs, which is often a barrier at every stage of the programme. Against such a background, ACF realised that the role of a parent is extremely important, especially when the participants are girls.
ACF conducts counselling for parents at three junctures—at the beginning and end of the training, and before placement. Through these sessions, parents are counselled to shed their inhibitions on sending their children to work outside and are reassured on the safety of their children as ACF sends its trainees in groups to any workplace. This group placement proved effective in improving retention not only with girls but with boys as well.
Tata Strive is the Tata Group’s flagship CSR intervention in skill development. Vocational and soft skill training is supported through a network of skill development centres, five of which are owned and operated by the group, with an extension of centres in partnership with governments and local NGOs across the country.
Strive’s unique approach to aspiration-mapping is composed of three steps: interest inventory, career discovery and self-discovery. At the first step, a picture-based assessment of student interests is done by showing them 60-65 pictures and gauging their reaction to doing the jobs shown. At the second step, the trainees are shown audio-visual material that helps them better understand the jobs to which they showed an inclination to.
Parents are also invited to be a part of this process. At the last stage, trainees are required to introspect on their lives and aspirations. Throughout the day, they also attend sessions on beliefs, emotions, self-confidence, and mindfulness, among others. Thus, at the end of the process, trainees and the trainer are well-placed to begin a fruitful training programme.
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The CSR Journal Team