Finding a job and getting our first pay cheque is one of the most memorable moments. It provides us with a deep sense of accomplishment and joy. However, landing a job that fits your skill set and matches your area of interest has become a daunting task. This is also because employability skills are not a mandatory part of the college curriculum.
According to the India Skills Report 2019, around 70% of the youth face problems in finding desirable jobs due to lack of professional guidance and job-readiness. Lack of employability skills is one of the many issues that deter youth from exploring different career options. Moreover, with a small number of quality institutions, it is very difficult for many of them to develop their skills during their regular degree program.
To address this issue, Medha, a non-profit based in Lucknow, has created an employability development program aimed at skilling young students. Medha was founded by Christopher Turillo and Byomkesh Mishra, with a mission to improve the employment outcomes of youth through 21st century skills training, on-the-job work experience, and ongoing placement and alumni support at their existing educational institution
The existing education system is heavily focused on theoretical learning and does not include employability skills as part of its regular curriculum. Hence, Medha devised a model where the employability skills of the students can be developed through an interactive and experiential learning program. The program aims at developing the skills of students enrolled in government and government-aided colleges, polytechnics and ITIs in tier two and tier three cities of India. In the last financial year, Medha worked with more than 5000 students across 50 educational institutions.
As far as the program delivery is concerned, Medha has deployed close to 30 Student Relationship Managers, who work closely with Area Managers in districts across UP, Bihar and Haryana. The Student Relationship Managers once onboarded, undergo a one-month residential training program in Lucknow where they get trained on the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the Medha program. They also get opportunities to practice and improve facilitation skills in a simulated environment.
“We believe in the long-term sustainability of our program and are therefore working to mainstream our approach to employability development within the existing education system. We partner with various ITIs and Polytechnics to deliver employability development programs to their existing faculty members” Christopher adds while sharing the current plans on maximizing impact.
There is no quick fix to employability and employment issues; a long-term, sustained effort will be required to have meaningful impact on young people. Medha’s curriculum has evolved over time to meet current demands from students and industry. They have been placing students into full-time jobs and internships with leading employers. So far, they have worked with more than 400 companies.
“At present, the organization is planning to expand in the North and North-eastern parts of the country. Having worked with 12,000 students so far, we aim at impacting 40,000 students through skills training, counseling & mentorship and industry exposure in the next 3 years.” Christopher Turillo
For an organisation like Medha, the support and mentorship from UnLtd India during the initial days was very beneficial. UnLtd India had conducted workshops for Medha’s Area Managers which helped them in developing their leadership skills.
Marching on with clear goals, Medha aims to influence policy from the inside-out, mainstreaming its model into the existing education system, impacting millions of youth in the long-run.