There are many ways to put the youth to work and ensure that they are engaged in gainful employment after acquiring a degree or a diploma. But, we are yet to connect education with employment seamlessly. The traditional system of education in India places a high premium of formal qualifications as a prerequisite to get an entry-level job. However, not all the students can make it to their first jobs this way. What about those who are less talented, not so privileged, lack confidence or will power or simply can’t afford to complete their formal education? When they lag behind by failing in the examinations or just by dropping out, they are left to fend for themselves. Rural youth get even more distressed through migration. Creating new opportunities for them by imparting the right skills forms the core of BRIDGE (Bosch’s Response to India’s Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement) with placement assistance.
Bosch has been revered world-wide for their commitment and dedication to caring for the socially and financially deprived through their CSR initiatives. Particularly in India, Bosch has created new benchmarks in impacting the youth through skill-based training and apprenticeship programs since 1960s. Continuing the tradition of imparting vocational training, BRIDGE addresses the need for establishing one’s self-identity and self-confidence by placing them in a job in the organized or semi-organized sector, then showing them multiple paths to continue their education.
“Out of 22 million youth who enter class 11 and 12 every year*, only 75% pass the 12th class examination. More than 5 million need some form of training that prepares them for a job and this is where the BRIDGE course skills the youth in a holistic way. Through this job-oriented program, we are able to create a skilled resource pool, mainly for the services industry, using our competence in delivering industry-integrated training. Initially, the program was aimed at training the dropouts from class 11 and 12, who could not get through their higher secondary examinations. Later, going by its success, many centers were set up at ITIs and other institutions to offer BRIDGE as last mile training that connects education with work.” Dr. O. P Goel, General Manager, CSR and Head, Bosch Vocational Training, India
Getting the youth their first job and guiding them for higher education
Based on the premise that India’s problem is not lack of jobs but non-availability of people to take up those jobs, BRIDGE has been preparing the youth through a multi-skilled approach. The curriculum of this 3-month program focuses on Soft skills (for 5 weeks), Industry-specific and Job skills (for 2 weeks), Social Skills (for 1 week) and On-the-Job Training (for 4 weeks). BRIDGE was launched in Bengaluru in 2013 and since then it has trained over 10,000 unemployed youth across India. At present, the program is being offered in 280 centers in 202 batches and plan is to expand it to smaller towns by creating one center in each district by 2020 in collaboration with corporates and government.
“Our initial training modules were about making the youth employable in the automotive industry in the 4 – wheeler or 2- wheeler dealership as Service Advisors, or Spare Part Assistants. We wanted to ensure that after the short-term training, they start earning and become an asset to their family. In a way, this is a Reverse Dual VET system that secures a job first and later encourages the youth to continue their education. We have seen that after they start working, they feel good and gradually they want to improve their prospects after gaining more experience. One of our students, who was a drop out and came from a socially challenged background, while working in automotive retail, completed her 12th standard from NIOS and now she can also join a vocational degree like B.Voc.” Dr. O. P Goel, General Manager, CSR and Head, Bosch Vocational Training, India
Training curriculum and the Learning Kit
The curriculum primarily focuses on enhancing employability through multiple skills. The Soft Skills component comprises Communication, Computers, Customer Service, Personality Development and Interview Skills. This is followed by Industry and Job-specific skills that prepares them in the chosen job role. The candidates also get sensitized in Social Skills through a community project. The course concludes with a 4-week internship to give them on-the-job training. All the modules are supported by text books designed by Bosch, in the form of a Learning Kit. At the end of the course, the candidates receive a certificate from Bosch and they are ready to get productive from day one of the job.
Corporate partnerships for implementing BRIDGE
Bosch is willing to join hands with corporate partners who are keen on to utilize their CSR funds towards upskilling and employing unprivileged youth.
BRIDGE is being offered in partnership with many institutions and corporates. Currently, Bosch is also looking for corporate partnerships to scale the impact of BRIDGE to touch 1 million youth. The implementing partners could start a center in selected locations. They can tie up with Bosch to run the center by upgrading the infrastructure to meet the standards set by Bosch, supporting training of trainer, agreeing to collect a nominal fee toward covering operational expense, mobilizing the candidates and using the BRIDGE Learning Kit to deliver training.
Another important aspect of BRIDGE is the development of the vocational training competencies of trainers to strengthen the evolving skills ecosystem in India. Bosch has undertaken many initiatives to make vocational training aspirational among the trainers by showing them a career path. The BRIDGE Train the Trainer (TTT) program is offered for one week with emphasis on soft skills training, student mobilization and placement. Bosch’s vision expands beyond training of 250 trainers who were an integral part of the BRIDGE program.
With successful placements in many industry sectors, today, BRIDGE alumni are working in Automotive Dealerships, Telecommunications, Hospitality, Retail Outlets and ITeS/BPO. A strong foundation in many skills has now empowered them to realize their ambition through career fulfilment and better life.
Youth transformation through BRIDGE course: A success story
True transformation comes from within and Priyanka’s story is a proof of that. Forced to quit school due to a family crisis, Priyanka got married and became a mother at a young age. She subsequently enrolled in the BRIDGE program at the J.B. Institute in Vizhupuram, Tamil Nadu (seen
receiving the BRIDGE Kit from center head Mr. Arumugam).
Soon after the BRIDGE program, she got a job in retail sales which led to improvement in her social status and enabled her to be self-sufficient. Soon, her husband returned and re-united with her. There are many like Priyanka who are having their lives transformed through the Bosch BRIDGE program across India.
*Pass % of 75 for 12th class is based on published data after board exams, however, similar data for 11th class is not available.
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Bridge program is a wonderful initiative which caters the employability skills amongst the ypuths.