Ambuja Cement Foundation, India: Creating gainful employment in rural areas.

Project description

While on the one hand the Indian economy has been booming, it is evident that this prosperity has not reached all levels of society. Already existing economic disparities are further compounded by unemployment, and more often underemployment in India. In rural India, lack of gainful employment often makes people migrate to urban habitats, which create several other difficulties. It is evident today that there is a total mismatch between available jobs and skills needed to master these jobs. Ambuja Cement Foundation is trying to bridge this gap by establishing Skill Training Centres for gainful employability.

Objectives

The aim of the project is to train young people on skills for which employment is available and to in turn ensure that available jobs are bagged by local people. It is also part of the project to teach young people entrepreneurial skills, to enable them to establish and be successful in self employment.

Activities

To establish the Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (SEDI), Ambuja Cement Foundation first develops a partnership with a local bank. This partnership ensures that while ACF focuses on the types and quality of training programmes, the bank partner facilitates easy loans as well as post training to young people to help them establish their small businesses.

Before initiating a SEDI in any location, ACF conducts in-depth surveys among young people in surrounding villages to gauge their level of interest. Local businesses are also included in the survey to understand what kind of skilled personnel they need. Based on the results, the curriculum is tailored to the needs in the region. Young people are encouraged to opt for skill training courses held in rural clusters within a radius of 80 kilometres. The Institute, besides offering facilities for quality skill training, also provides dormitory accommodation for those who come from far-flung villages.

Currently Ambuja Cement Foundation runs 13 SEDIs across India, providing training in 17 different trades. These trainings include among others, computer courses, mobile phone repairing, housekeeping and video editing, etc. The courses are accredited by the government, and are run in collaboration with local banks.

Each course lasts from 3 to 12 months, and is followed up by an apprenticeship opportunity in an appropriate existing set up. After completion of the training, those trainees keen to establish small business are facilitated to apply for and obtain a bank loan to get them started. Former trainees are accompanied both through written correspondence as well as through quarterly meetings organized for ex-students at the Institute.

Results

Up until now, SEDIs run by ACF have trained 3’647 students in 207 batches. Through the support of ACF, 2’200 students were able to find employment. Over 70% of those who completed a training course at one of the centres are now gainfully employed and contribute to the income of their families.

Update: September 2011