From migrant labourers to IT professionals, these organisations are ‘skilling’ India, one talent at a time


Only two percent of India’s population falls under the skilled workforce. Here are seven organisations that are trying to reskill and upskill the country’s untapped potential.

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India, with its labour force, plays an important role in the global skilling ecosystem, says a report by FICCI-KPMG. Supporting this is the most recent Economy Survey which showed that 63 percent of the population is economically active (15-59 years). But bringing this number down to earth is the fact that only two percent of the country’s total population makes up its skilled workforce.

The numbers only strengthen a fact we already know—Indian youth struggle to find employment because of the broken bridge between education and employability. Many are simply not prepared to enter the workforce. Moreover, the employability of the disadvantaged and rural population, which make up the majority, is further impeded due to their already compromised economic stability.

But keeping a broken boat afloat are many government initiatives, organisations and startups which are striving for skill development not only among the educated youth, but also among the underprivileged sections like migrant labourers, rural youth and women, and even the physically disabled. On the occasion of World Youth Skill Day, here are seven such organisations which are taking skill development across dimensions of geography, sectors, and social strata.

For the learned but unemployable

PositiveShift is a Hyderabad-based startup founded in 2013 which works in association with the central government’s skill initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY), NSDC, and ESDM. This startup, which gained its momentum when it trained 6,000 students from IIT campuses, introduces the youth to learning programmes in areas such as data science, business analytics, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and project management; the youth are also trained for retail, telecom, electronics, and healthcare sectors. The startup’s commercial brand, WIISE (World Institute of Innovation, Skills and Entrepreneurship), is a digital TV learning platform for learners in the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia.

Image credit: Liran Mimon

In the IT realm

Jetking was founded in 1947 as an electronics manufacturing and training company. Today it is best known as a leading institute in digital skills and networking training. It has trained over seven lakh students, most of whom are from tier-II and tier-III towns and cities. Guiding students through processes like mock interviews and writing resumes, and programmes like computer hardware, networking, network security, business analysis, etc. Jetking prepares them for placements with their array of recruitment partners. Jetking also imparts computer literacy among the underprivileged with minimal fees. It provides 30 percent scholarship to all girl students in order to encourage them to further their careers.

Employment beyond cities

Five Splash, an Udaipur-based IT services company, was founded in 2009 to help the youth of tier-II and tier-III cities come closer to employability. Five Splash hires the rural youth to bridge the gap between their education and employability, and employs women who are widows, single mothers, and young girls and the only earning members of their families. They also hire the physically disabled to give them a fighting chance at an independent life. After selection upon a minimum criterion, Five Splash hires the youth and provides them with a generic and project-specific training. They also hire through NGOs that are associated with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).

Employing the migrated

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Ajeevika Bureau is an Udaipur-based NGO that provides livelihood opportunities to the rural poor; especially migrant labourers who move to cities in search of employment. In addition to skill development, this NGO connects labourers with better job opportunities by negotiating with job providers and ensuring that they are not exploited by contractors. Along with this and more importantly, they provide labourers with a government certified identity card so they have access to all government schemes and initiatives.

Bringing out the rural women

Image credit: Neev

Neev is an NGO working with women in the villages of Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh to impart skills and provide employment. Starting out in a cowshed in 2009, Neev taught women to craft paper bags which were sold at exhibitions to earn revenue. They slowly expanded their skill set to sewing and they now make and sell tablecloths, bed covers, and cushion covers. With this avenue to utilise their skills, these women are clocking an annual revenue of six to seven lakhs. Neev also helps open bank accounts through which women manage their savings independently.

Related read: What are the skill development challenges in India? An interview with Jetking’s Siddarth Bharwani

Listening to the deaf

Image credit: DEF foundation

Founded in 2009, Deaf Enabled Foundation is an NGO that provides free vocational training to the deaf, so that education and employment can reach even the most marginalised sections of the community. This organisation has competent deaf instructors teaching the youth foundational skills such as English, MS-Office, speed typing, and soft skills. They also have 3D animation and multimedia courses, the first of its kind for the deaf in India. They have tie-ups with non-special universities and take over the education of the deaf students. They also have tie-ups with corporates to ease the hiring process for the deaf.

Starting young

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Registered as an NGO in 2003, Purkal Youth Development Society (PYDS) is a Dehradun-based NGO that is dedicated to enhancing the lives of underprivileged young people in the community. Its focus is primarily on quality education for children so that skill development needn’t be required in later years of their lives. Apart from academics, students get a chance at dance, drama, theatre, yoga, field trips, excursions, adventure activities, etc. to grow into well-rounded individuals. Vocational training is provided for graduates. Apart from this, PYDS also offers skill development to tribal women who make and earn from handmade quilts, home accessories, table ware, bags, and quilted jackets.

While this list is in no way exhaustive, it intends to bring to light the different ways in which different organisations with varied capabilities have and can uplift the country’s chief identity—it’s people.


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