Ashok: Youth Skilling Program run by SOS Children’s Villages and HSBC Software Development
An initiative under the Youth Skilling Program run by SOS Children’s Villages and HSBC Software Development
PUNE: The Pune branch of SOS Children’s Villages of India, in association with HSBC Software Development (India), has been training 430 vulnerable youth from poor socio-economic backgrounds over the last one year in various job-oriented courses to enable them to get gainful employment in the formal economy.
The youth, including 244 boys and 156 girls aged between 18 to 30 years, are mostly school and college drop-outs from Pune’s slums who could not complete their education due to financial constraints. They are now enrolled in courses that range from six months to two years in duration, including Computer Applications with Financial Accounting, Advanced Diploma in Air Ticketing & Travel Management, Supply Chain Management, Fire Engineering and Safety Management, and Medical Lab Technician and Multi-Purpose Health Worker.
The Youth Skilling Program was initiated in January 2019 in Pune as part of the Family Strengthening Program of SOS Children’s Villages in which vulnerable families are assisted to increase their earning capacity. The initiative was supported by HSBC Software Development (India) with a focus on projects which impart skills to youth and link them to formal employment.
Commenting about the initiative, Sudarshan Suchi, Secretary-General of SOS Children’s Villages of India, said, “Skill development is a powerful instrument to reduce poverty and inequality. Our focus is on employment and entrepreneurship-linked skill development of disadvantaged youth so that they can earn a living with dignity. We picked up young people from Pune who had discontinued their formal education due to financial reasons. We went by whatever educational background they already had and enrolled them in training programs in various training institutions in Pune according to their aptitude and aspirations. Job-oriented training has tremendously improved their employability. I am happy to note that a large percentage of those who have completed their training courses have managed to enter the formal job market and are now able to add to their family’s income.”
He added: “India is today the world’s youngest country, with an average age of 29 years. SOS Children’s Villages is committed to ensuring that Indian youth have relevant skills and knowledge to help them become self-reliant and contributing members of society. In our comprehensive approach to make young people from disadvantaged backgrounds employable with various skills and capacities, we focus our efforts on providing them access to professional, technical, and job-oriented courses, including higher education, vocational training, and skilling programs. Thousands of youth all over India have benefited from our programs till now and managed to find a job or become self-employed.”
The Case of Ashok
Ashok (name changed to protect privacy) is a youth from the slums of Mulla Road in Khadi, Pune. He is enrolled in the SOS Children’s Villages and HSBC Software Development’s Youth Skilling Program. His father is employed as a salesman in an outlet of a telecom company, while his mother works as a house cleaner in nearby apartments. With the family struggling financially through the years, Ashok managed to pass his Class 12thexams. Even though he wanted to pursue further studies, he had to discontinue his dream of going to college and took up odd jobs to support his family. He is now pursuing a Diploma in Computer Hardware from a computer institute in Pune, with support from the SOS-HSBC youth skilling program. He is very dedicated and sincere with his training program.
Since the lockdown began, Ashok has been studying online with the study material provided by the Institute by borrowing a laptop from his friend for online classes. He has often faced difficulties in attending classes because of poor network connectivity in the slum where he lives, but his teachers at the Institute have been most understanding and are helping him in every possible manner. Ashok is determined to complete the course and find a respectable job in the field of computer maintenance and repair.
Said Ashok: “While going through the training syllabus, I realized that the field of computer hardware can offer good career opportunities. However, I had no previous knowledge about this subject. But I admire the way I am being supported by my trainers and sponsors. I think I have a bright future ahead once I complete this course. With this skill, I can stand on my own feet and support my family with dignity.”
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