Skilling the differently-abled youth

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Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) has been actively involved in skilling and enhancing employability quotient for youth in different districts of Telangana. TASK has embarked on a unique training program for differently-abled youth to empower them with appropriate skills and enhance their success rate in securing jobs. Let’s read on to know more about the project in positive change in a Skill Story by Sujiv Nair, CEO, TASK.

One of our focus areas this year was to reach out to the differently-abled youth who need to be supported with training in different skills for suitable and sustained employment. In our recent effort at expanding our outreach, we designed and implemented an exclusive program for the skill development of persons with disabilities (PwDs). At TASK, we prefer to refer to them as differently-abled. We were aware that there are a lot of corporates who are looking to employ differently-abled youth. Our challenge was to make that connect happen and understand the skilling requirements.

PwD skill development at TASKThis was a pilot project aimed at exploring how we can make a difference to these youth with different types and degrees of disabilities, like low visibility, speech and hearing impairment, locomotor disability etc. In consultation with training partners who specialize in training differently abled youth, we decided that youth with 40% and above disability can be brought into our fold and we should skill them accordingly to increase their employability quotient.

TASK has tied up with two training partners in Hyderabad, Youth for Jobs and Dialogue in the Dark. We decided that youth with 40% and above disability can be brought into the fold and should skill them in basic computer, life, retail and Tally skills for which there are a lot of job opportunities available. A program was built around these skills and other specific requirements from companies and it was designed for 60 days after which placement assistance would be extended to students who successfully cleared the program.

Mobilising students

Mobilising students was the most difficult part of the program because these youngsters were not ready to leave their districts and come to the city for training and jobs. A unique methodology had to be evolved. We shortlisted few youth who are physically challenged, currently working and earning their livelihoods without much dependence on others. We wanted them to be the champions to drive the cause with their personal stories of transformation through skill development and employment. Though this approach worked to some extent, the challenge was still there; our training partner/s was able to manage mobilising 40 candidates.

Candidates were identified from the districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar. After 60 days of training, 26 of them were given jobs. The jobs secured by them were as customer service associates and software developers. They got placed at Symphony Technology, Amazon, Telugu Matrimony, Lifestyle, D-Mart, KFC and Prasads. Many Indian Companies and MNCs have reserved a small space for recruiting PwDs and TASK is making the efforts to connect youth with the industry and academia together.

Learnings from this pilot project

Handling low self-esteem and low self-confidence: Parents and relatives of these youth have always alienated them by highlighting their disabilities and it calls for tremendous effort to build their esteem and tell them that even though you are differently abled, there are many things you can do.

Convincing them to migrate: Parents are protective about these children and they don’t want them to leave their homes and native places. We had to make the champions talk to them and convince them about working in cities where they get trained and placed in jobs.

Accommodation: Finding the right place to stay is important considering their limitations with travel. During the 60 day training period, our training partners went the extra mile for arranging their boarding and lodging in hostels.

Role of training partners in counselling

We had quite a few counselling sessions, facilitated by our training partner/s who actually sent people to the four districts to talk to them. And also taking one person with a disability and show them you can also get a job just like them. Youth 4 Jobs handled the entire process very efficiently For now, the candidates are employed in Hyderabad. Soon, we are also hoping to be able to place them close to their native places, provided we have suitable jobs in other cities. This will eventually happen and might help in a big way.

In case some PwDs are interested, they can call the numbers given below for information on counselling and enrolment. Contact numbers: 7032777492 or 7032777493.

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