The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is collaborating with institutes to organise training courses, upskill women and make them work-ready.
Aarti Teron of Khanapara, Guwahati, always worried about her finances. Born to a small farmer, she grew up in poverty. Her father’s earnings were inadequate to fulfil the needs of the family, and Aarti was married off at an early age.
One day, a visiting neighbour informed her about a training programme offered under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY). Her neighbour was also training there.
Keen to be able to sustain herself and help her family, a curious Aarti visited the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra in Guwahati two days later. Counselled by the centre manager, she enrolled in a sewing machine operator’s course.
During the three-month training, she learned various design and sewing techniques, along with counselling on health and safety measures.
Soon after, Aarti opened her own tailoring outlet, called Neha Tailoring, near her home in Khanapara.
Speaking about the initial challenges, she says, “The location was the major problem. I started my shop near my home, which made it a bit difficult to locate. Hardly any people knew about my shop, but as time passed, people came to know of it. Initially, they came to my shop occasionally, but we saw increased demand from customers during festivals like Bihu and Majuli.”
Aarti, who started with only two to three orders for the Mekhela Chador, the local outfit, now averages between 30 and 35 orders per month.
The training gave Aarti much more clarity in understanding work and business operations. Today, she earns between Rs 20,000 and 25,000 a month, which helps her support her family.
This isn’t only the story of Aarti. This is the story of many other women like her across India.
Skilling the women of India
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi backing the make-in-India initiative, skilling India is of utmost importance. That's where The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which is committed to bridging the skill gap by partnering with institutes, comes in.
Launched in 2015under PMKVY, the NSDC claims to have trained in 4,50,404 women in various sectors under the short-term programme. As many as 1,45,220 women have been placed in sectors such as banking and financial services, beauty and wellness, organised retail, and food processing.
Skill Cards and Certificates will be awarded to trainees who have completed training, which will allow trainees to share their skill identity with employers.
NSDC has joined hands with multiple partners, both in the public and private sectors.
Speaking about skilling women, Manish Kumar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSDC, says,
“More than 32 corporates have collaborated with NSDC (till May 2017) to support skill development. These initiatives have made a positive difference to the lives of 63,000-plus people of which 26,000 are women.”
He added that NSDC already has six active centres dedicated to women and would be opening more such centers in partnership with corporate houses like GE Power and Ingersoll Rand.
“Many of these are partners have a special focus on women training. The partner should also develop capacity and required infrastructure to provide high quality industry relevant training to the candidates,” he says.
Access to loans
Much like Aarti, Laxmi Darjee from Siliguri, West Bengal, wanted to start her own business to support her family. Belonging to a lower middle-class family, she was having trouble getting a loan.
She says, “My journey to set up my business was really hard. I went to different places seeking a loan. I had to go through a lot of documentation but to no avail.”
In early 2016, she enrolled herself for a fee of Rs 2,000 in an assistant hair stylist course at Orion Edutech, a training provider under the Skill India mission.
After completing the course, she started her own salon with a loan of Rs 4.5 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
“I got the Skill India certificate, which I showed to the bank and getting the loan became very easy.”
The Central Government has allocated more than Rs 12,000 crore to the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna PMKVY to provide skill-training avenues to youth who cannot afford to pay for their training. It aims to mobilise them to undertake industry-relevant skills.
NSDC has also partnered with various self-help groups and is engaging them to organise training courses to broaden women’s horizons and make them work-ready.
Giving an example, Manish says, “NSDC had partnered with Amazon India to promote digital literacy among women entrepreneurs in Nagaland. NSDC also undertook the Adhyapika scheme to encourage 10-plus-two educated girls to become elementary school teachers.”
He adds, “A dedicated cell for Affirmative Action Programme has been set up by NSDC, along with representatives of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) to help women entrepreneurs set up their business and enhance their skills.”
Speaking about the future plans of NSDC, Manish says, “We plan to have a multi-skill Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) in each district of India as well as set up more driver training institutes keeping in mind the huge demand in this sector. Further, we wish to expand the number of training centres with state-of-the-art facilities in our endeavour to impart the most relevant training to candidates, including women and persons with disability, and help them secure employment opportunities. It is our endeavour to expand India International Skill Centres (IISC) to provide international-standard training on to youth aspiring for jobs in overseas markets.”
NSDC is constantly updating the courses on offered and plans to train candidates in innovative and upcoming fields like 3D printing and automation.
Peddapalli Ramaya, from Shayampet in Warangal, studied till Class 12, but stopped studying after her father, a driver, fell ill. However, her father asked her to enroll in the short term eye-refraction course under Essilor, in association with Skill India.
“After the course, I became a certified refractionist. My father invested Rs 60,000, and I opened an Eye Mitra optical store in my neighbourhood.”
Six months into the business and she has already started making a profit of Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a month. She aspires to open more Eye Mitra stores in her village near Warangal.
More power to her and her ilk...