Quest’s ecosystem consists of young people between the age group of 18-30 from rural and urban India primarily from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds who are in urgent need of employment and skills. My Quest, one of Quest’s flagship program for youth, enables young people to discover confidence and self-awareness so that they connect with the right careers and achieve their dreams of success.
Quest has worked with a vast network of Industrial Training Institutes and Polytechnics across the country which provides 1 to 3-year technical training courses for youth in various trades. Our work with ITIs and Polytechnics over the last 6 years had led us to believe that an engaging learning experience is able to equip young people with the competence and strength required to succeed at a workplace and in life.
As a part of our blending learning approach, we have initiated two kinds of interventions at the ITis- 1) Career Development sessions and 2) MyQuest Career Lab.
The Quest Career Development sessions, with the aim to encourage youth to make informed career choices, is one of our key focus at an ITI. To align the current generation with the latest market trends, to make them self- motivated and encourage them to follow their goals are few of the major objectives of this session.
These centers, on the other hand, are equipped with computers, that help the students access our career-specific digital toolkits like Communication, Life skills and professional etiquettes, which is vital for seeking a career and improving life. The centre also helps students’ build professional digital identities using platforms like LinkedIn and connect with advisors and employers in a virtual or face-to-face environment.
These interventions facilitate students’ transition towards economic advancement and a dignified life. We have set up a CDC at the Savitri Bai Phule ITI, Delhi, Govt.women’s ITI, Guwahati and Regional Vocational Training Institute, Bangalore to house MyQuest’s employability skills curriculum and also to help young women realise their dreams of success.
Here are a few stories of young women from various ITIs across states that we work with, who have found their career paths and are creating a better life for them and their families
Rajasthan: Pratiksha becomes an independent woman
25-year-old Pratiksha is a strong-willed woman. “I always wanted to be independent and earn my living. I feel that financial independence empowers a woman.” shares Pratiksha. She comes from a middle-class family. Her father is a retired government officer and her mother a housewife. She has three sisters and one brother.
Pratiksha is a passionate learner. She would involve herself in anything that would help her get a job or develop her career. She enrolled in the English stenography course at Mahila ITI, Rajasthan with the same intention even though she was aware of the limited opportunities the course provided.
The Quest classes at the ITI helped her improve her communication skills and enabled her to have conversations confidently. The market scan activity conducted as a part of career lesson helped her gain prescriptive about her field of interest. “I apply the skills I was taught in class at my place of work and also helps me make quick decisions at the workplace,” says Pratiksha.
After completing her course at the Mahila ITI, she was placed at Chanda electronic as a back office support. But she lost her job because of demonetization. Pratiksha did not lose hope. She immediately found a job at Jumio India Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur as a backend support agent and currently earns about Rupees thirteen thousand per month along with incentives.
Pratiksha is joyous. “My job has empowered me. I am respected and treated as an equal both at home and among my relatives. It feels good to be a decision maker for my family and life.” shares Pratiskha. She hopes to work at a multinational company and rise up the corporate ladder. Quest hopes to be a part of this journey.
Delhi: Nisha is chasing her ambitions with fervour
Nisha is an ambitious 18-year-old from Faridabad, Haryana. Her family migrated from the village to the city to improve their standard of living. Nisha’s father is a small store owner and her mother is a garment factory worker and she have two siblings.
Nisha’s interest in computers led her to join the computer science engineering trade at Government Polytechnic for Women. “It was during the last year, at the ITI, after the market scan activity conducted by Quest, that I realised it was important to understand the industry before I start working. It prompted me to take up an internship with a firm,” explains Nisha. The Quest classes improved her communication skills and built her confidence to face interviews. “The mock interview sessions conducted by Quest helped greatly when I had to appear for an interview. I would recall all the tips because I knew I would get only one chance to make it” said Nisha.
Nisha is employed as a trainee with Wipro and earns about Rupees eight thousand currently. This will increase to rupees twelve thousand after a year at Wipro. Nisha is happy that she can pursue her interest as a career and also contribute to her family. Her dream is to become a software engineer in the future.
Tamil Nadu: Ramya becomes an earning member of her family
A mother of two, 25-year-old Ramya comes from a disadvantaged community and was struggling to make ends meet. “My husband is a graduate; he decided to become a truck driver because life was getting very difficult for us.” shares Ramya. “I decided to learn tailoring to help supplement my family’s income. The money from my husband’s job will not be enough to sustain us once the children start school. My daughter had just turned one.” she explains.
Ramya enrolled in the tailoring classes at *AIT (Annai Institute of Vocational training), Perundurai which is an hour away from Kamachipuram village. She had to take two buses to reach the institute. “I would leave my children under the care of my mother, it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It was a sacrifice to build a better life for my family” says Ramya with determination in her eyes. She said that she had to face a lot of disapproval from her in-laws and the society in general because of her decisions but it did not deter her from her goals.
Ramya now runs a tailoring shop at her house and earns about Rupees five thousand per month. She uses this money to run the house and also provides for her children. “I feel like I have garnered the respect of the same people who had mocked me. My in-laws, who were against our marriage, wants me to come home and run their tailoring business. But I want to start my own business.” says Ramya with a glint of mischief in her smile. She is thankful to the trainers and the program for making her independent and also instilling in her the courage to make decisions to lead a life of dignity.
Assam: Karishma is taking small steps to build her future
Karishma Gautam is a shy and purposeful young woman from Guwahati Assam. She decided to join ITI after completing her graduation to learn new skills to improve her chances of finding a job. She hoped that the course would help her secure a job faster. “My aspiration in life is to find a respectable job and make my parents proud.” says Karishma.
Karishma was introduced to employability skills through the Quest Alliance lessons “I am thankful that I have learned Employability skills through Quest Alliance because it helped me understand the subject through the activities and field visit (market scan) and most importantly the job readiness training which made me self-confident. “The digitals lessons in Career guidance, professional etiquette and communication helped Karishma speak more confidently and sharpen her interview skills.
Karishma is currently working as a cashier at Carls Café, Bangalore and earns about Rupees twelve thousand per month. During her training at the ITI, Karishma realised that she should keep her career option open as this would help her figure out what career was best suited for her skills. “Quest Alliance taught me to keep alternative options regarding my career. I have realised that my interest lies in the hospitality industry and grabbed at the opportunity of working at a cafe when I was offered it,” explains Karishma.
Her dream is to work in the hospitality sector and she is taking small strides towards realised her dreams. Quest hope to be part of her journey.
It’s stories like this that help us realize our vision of enabling individuals to build self-learning pathways in order to make meaning of their lives.