PUNE: According to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, only 5% of youth aged between20-24 have obtained vocational skills through a formal training system. Many students who drop out of the formal education system are unaware of the alternative educational and employment opportunities available. While the government has started several initiatives to address this gap through its Skill India Mission, there is an urgent need to empower more youngsters to create a robust workforce. This will not only address industries’ need for a trained workforce but will also enable more and more people to become financially independent.
To address this issue, Tata Motors through its skill development and entrepreneurship program titled ‘Kaushalya’ has been running a host of initiatives to impact technical skills training to youth. The company also disburses scholarship to financially needy and meritorious students and facilitate special coaching classes and mentorship across the spectrum. Initiated as a special project for 3 years (2014-2017), Tata Motors in association with Vigyan AshramPune designed a unique project titled ‘Tata 20’ to enable entrepreneurial concepts of 20 young aspiring women into concrete business plans through a necessary skill infusion. The overall aim of this program was to make villages self-reliant by developing skills on basic rural technology for self-employment so that youth doesn’t have to migrate outside their village. Tata Motors supported these girls with a scholarship amount for a year to help test their ideas on-field and start their enterprise.
One such beneficiary of the Tata 20 program is Pooja Jadhav. Hailing from a small village in Maharashtra, she always wanted to study in the field of Computer Science. Given her good academic credentials, her parents somehow juggled to finance her graduation in Computer Science. Following her passion, she enrolled herself in the Tata 20 program at the Vigyan Ashram in Pune, where she learned new-age skills such as 3D printing, web communication, and web management. Pooja with her newly acquired advanced skills soon became the face behind creating a knowledge source in Marathi at Wikipedia. She is now a role model and a Master Trainer at Vigyan Ashram as she inculcates digital skills in young women at the Ashram. Like Pooja, there were 16 other girls who were also offered an assignment to work with Wikipedia, post completing their 1-year course with Tata 20. Today, all the 20 girls who were trained under Tata 20 have got successful placements.
Expressing joy, Pooja Jadhav, Beneficiary of the Tata 20 Programme, said “At the beginning, it was difficult for me to learn new skills, design software’s, Ubuntu OS, etc. but now I have all the necessary expertise in these areas. With this knowledge at hand, I got the golden opportunity to work with Wikipedia for crafting open knowledge in the local language (Marathi). To date, I have edited more than 4000+ articles for Wikipedia in Marathi and did OCR of 15000 pages on Wiki source. With the objective to train more and more girls, I also started running workshops on Wikipedia in my villagePabal.”
Elaborating on the Tata Motors Skill Development Programme ‘Kaushalya’, Vinod Kulkarni – CSR Head at Tata Motors, said“Through our programme ‘Kaushalya’, which aims to address the high rate of unemployment by skilling people in automotive, non-auto trades and agriculture & allied activities, we were able to train over 1 lakh people in FY19-20. Over 63% of the trained youth have found employment (or are self-employed) resulting in an annual increase in family income by ₹1 lakh. Our programme also ushers in women empowerment by introducing them in traditionally male-dominated industries.”