National Youth Day is celebrated every year on 12th January but since the pandemic, the much-discussed demographic dividend is facing many challenges. India’s corporate might is doing its bit to make the young future ready. Here is an overview of the CSR programmes that are empowering the country’s youth.
1. ICICI Academy for Skills
ICICI Academy for Skills is the flagship initiative of ICICI Foundation and seeks to provide underserved youth with employment opportunities and skill sets that are industry specific. In over 27 centres across 19 states and one union territory, over 13 pro-bono, diverse and multi-faceted vocational training courses help youth to be absorbed in the employment stream gainfully. Training is also provided to hone communication skills, financial literacy and how to adapt to an organised working environment.
The technical skills and office skills courses are conducted at residential and nonresidential centres, respectively. Till March 2020, the Academy had skilled over 1.45 lakh urban youth of which 42% were women. The beneficiaries, once trained, find employment within the Academy’s placement network. Over 400 companies have participated in the placement process so far and a job portal has been designed to facilitate employment for the candidates completing the courses.
2. Unnati for India by Visionet Systems
Envisioned by Alok Bansal, Visionet Systems India’s MD and Global Head of BFSI Business, this CSR initiative was started during the pandemic when most companies were cutting costs. The goal is to bridge skilling gaps and make the young employable in a fast evolving job market. The aim of the ambitious project is also to train at least 50,000 students over a period of 5 years to make them employable in the Information Technology and BPM sector.
Completely free, the course offers world class training that would cost anywhere between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2.5 lakh per person. This includes technology backed modules in a classroom as well as on-site live demonstrations and interactions with trainers. The duration of the programme is around 45 to 60 days and candidates who successfully complete the programme are awarded a certification, post an assessment by Visionet. The skilling programme is open to undergraduates and graduates from any stream.
3. Skills-for-Market Training (SMART) by Tech Mahindra
Skills-for-Market Training (SMART) is another flagship CSR programme in employability and is spread across over 100 Centres at 11 locations across India. These include SMART Centres, SMART+ Centres (for people with disabilities), and SMART-T Centres (training in technical trades). The idea is to reskill young people in an innovation-driven environment so that they can keep up with the world.
In 2019, Mahindra Foundation also set up a SMART Academy for Digital Media in Hyderabad to help provide courses in English, basic IT, soft skills and technical skills courses. Six-month certificate courses in graphic and web design, animation, digital marketing, web development and logistics and supply chain management are available. Internship opportunities will be provided for practical on-the-job training in established industries.
4. Youth Employment Programme by TCS
The Youth Employment Programme is Tata Consultancy Services’ flagship CSR program to make women from rural colleges, unemployed graduates, especially from socially and economically disadvantaged sections of the society employable. The idea is to empower under-privileged, marginalised graduate youth to enter the job market equipped with adequate skill sets, communication skills, confidence and technical knowledge.
Exposure to industry and vocational training make the youth eligible to take up employment in the corporate sector, government, and other MSMEs. This also helps expand the talent pool available to the nation and increases diversity and gender parity. The training content is prepared by TCS experts, with focus on industry needs and through a teach-coach-and mentor model, the trainees are guided for jobs within TCS and externally.
5. Microsoft Cybersecurity programme
In the post-pandemic world where rapid digitisation is transforming industries, Microsoft is giving learners hands-on experience in the fundamentals of security, compliance, and identity with four accredited certification programmes. The idea is to create a skilled workforce ready to serve the cybersecurity landscape, democratise cybersecurity learning and make it accessible and affordable for all. To achieve this goal, Microsoft is working in synergy with a strategic consortium of partners including Cloudthat, Koenig, RPS, and Synergetics Learning.
The modules are designed to support all levels of learners, and shape them into security leaders. The idea is to contribute to the successful digital transformation of the Indian enterprise world and lay the foundation of security for enterprise data centres in India. So far, over 3 million people have been skilled in India through this initiative.