Head Held High | Changing the mindset of employers from ‘I must hire a graduate for all positions’ to ‘I will hire the most competent, skilled person regardless of her qualifications’
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Changing the mindset of employers from ‘I must hire a graduate for all positions’ to ‘I will hire the most competent, skilled person regardless of her qualifications’

Let’s start at the beginning. Gulbarga is my “home town”, I have an affinity towards this place and I love being here. Gulbarga is 600 years old city in north Karnataka, 436 metres above MSL, a very well known town for engineering colleges/toor dall/KBN dargah/ sharanas/saints and sundry other things. Yes, there is a railway station with escalators that work!

 

Vikas Academy Trust is a local NGO and social service organization. They are running Manisha women’s community college, for class X passouts/drop outs and other needy girls in this region. Community college is a concept for vocational training of youth for finding jobs and learning relevant skills, with minimum govt intervention. This is the only such initiative in this town of 600,000. Hyderabad-Karnataka region has legislative attention [article 371], focus and state govt resources. this region has 5 districts apart from Gulbarga. It is often called as a socially backward region, with remnants of erstwhile Nizam state and maybe in a limbo. I am not sure if we should keep on labelling it as “backward”. Not a good idea.

 

Cut to the basics now. I joined HHHF in July last week and chose to initiate a project with Vikas Academy Trust with their existing batch of 55 girls/women. I found warmth, great acceptance from the authorities and support from local press also. It was launched on August 4th 2016. The program officially started on Aug 9th 2016 with a baseline assessment of students. What we intended to do here:

  1. Trainees will use our format of 1000-hours training to provide English language skills, computer handling skills, leaderships skills, community work, life skills and health-hygiene awareness. This is for students of age group 16 to 25, from below poverty line rural families and not more than class X pass in qualification. HHHF has provided 3 qualified trainers to Vikas Academy, who have completed a detailed “train the trainer” program at HHH academy
  2. The students travel everyday from Shahabad/Wadi villages by train, reach the Vikas centre, spend 6 hours each day and become capable through activity based approach. HHHF Trainers, content, project management expertise, hardware are provided by us at no cost since we are funded by Tata Trusts for this project. Students brave the train travel [45 minutes each way in unreserved coaches], poor domestic support, domestic challenges [some of them need to work as house help to earn a living], poor nutrition and social taboos. But the gusto, energy that they put into every day prayers at 945am, is to be seen to be believed. They cut out the noise, when they are at the crease. And you had heard only a batsman called Sachin doing that!!
  3. HHHF component will build confidence, communication and capabilities to learn. Manisha Community college further will use other local trainers, to prepare these students for a career in home nursing, health care assistant and low-level jobs in hospitals. HHHF makes them capable to handle the vocational training but we don’t conduct the actual domain/vocational courses.
  4. Connect this batch of 55 girls and other new batches of learners [both genders are welcome in this project] to local jobs, self-employment opportunities and possibly motivate them for higher education. Assisting some of them to pass Class X of National Open School, is a keen desire.
  5. Create a local eco-system of cooperative hiring organisations, educationists and donors. We are attempting to change the local employer mind set, from ” I must hire a graduate for all positions” to “I will hire the most competent, skilled person regardless of her qualifications”. This will prevent urban migration and aid local economics. This will help connect local industry to local talent. Talent that is retain able, trustworthy and not expensive
  6. Use the reach of Vikas Academy Trust, Kottala Basaveshwara Sameeti and other institutions to identify needy trainees in all other major towns/villages in Hyd-Ktk region. This will help us reduce the student mobilization efforts and get the right profile of learners.

Project has completed 2 major internal milestones as of 27th Oct 2016. Students have made rapid strides in spoken English, confidence and ability to work in teams. This blog is a glimpse into this “backward world” that is truly inspirational. I will write more on this project. This first batch will complete the HHHF components by Feb 2017

Was this interesting? Do you want to get involved in any which way? Contact me on 9739005000 or avinash.kulkarni@head-held-high.org