SRSAT- Ajivika from UPL Limited successfully links livelihoods with the industry

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With 2% CSR becoming mandatory, there is tremendous excitement in the corporate sector to participate in skill development initiatives for social development. In this Skill Story, Mr. Udayan Modhe, head, SRSAT- Ajivika Trust, tells us how how UPL Limited, a leader in agrochemicals is making a positive impact by enabling industrial livelihoods.

The idea of Ajivika Trust and its execution

To start with, we wanted to map the underprivileged, undereducated, or school dropout youth with industrial livelihoods. That’s typically at the bottom of the pyramid. And there’s tremendous scarcity at that level. With that backdrop we thought we would go in for trades such as welders, fitters, chemical plant operators, instrument operators, electricians, AC and two wheeler mechanics. These are the identified areas where we want to intervene and contribute.

UPL-SRSAT-TrainingThe emphasis on industrial livelihood

In Gujarat, all the districts are industrialized, barring a couple of tribal dominated places on Maharashtra border. Places like Vadodara, Bharuch, Valsad – these are the geographies we are working in. Vadodara is dominated by engineering companies – fabrication, that’s where welder and fitter fit in. Bharuch and Valsad have chemical and plastic industries –that’s where chemical plant operators come in.

Placement and migration

As far as their placement is concerned, they are getting absorbed in near by areas, they didn’t have to migrate. Except for few cases where they have migrated for better incomes. For example, eleven 10th class boys from Bharuch, trained in chemical plant operations, certified by NCVT, were placed in our own company UPL Limited in Vapi at a distance of 120 – 140 kms from our training centers. Since they couldn’t commute daily they have migrated to Vapi.

Migration makes sense when there is substantial increase in income levels. Now these guys are earning monthly Rs.14000 to Rs.16000. For a 10th pass guy, having completed 3 months course, and just after that getting this salary, it is worth migrating. If they were working in the same geographies they would get Rs.7000 to Rs.9000 – that’s the range in which they get placed.

The three livelihood models at SRSAT Ajivika Trust

We are following three models: one is the self-funded model. At present, we have 73 centers and more are being set up. Candidates pay for their training, for 3 months course they end up paying Rs.5000 for welder, fitter, or domestic electrician course. For the second model, we partner with implementing agencies under DDU-GKY – a flagship livelihood program from Ministry of Rural Development. The third model is through CSR mission of companies, who are working on skill development arena indirectly. They mobilize the candidates and they send them to us. And lodging, boarding and training costs is reimbursed to us through CSR mission.

And as far as DDUGKY project is concerned, the training is totally free. The candidates who can commute daily, are paid Rs.100 allowance for TA, DA. There is a residential facility also for the candidates who travel 50-60 kms from the training centers. Here we have a waiting list of more than 100 candidates.

The challenge of mobilizing the candidates

For the self funded model, the challenges is to create awareness about our program and institute, so what we carry out lot of advertisement campaigns, have continuous community meetings in villages around our city. This is getting us good response. Like in any initiative, the challenges are faced initially, once you start delivering quality, the challenges go away and you start getting the traction you are looking for.

Training curriculum and certification

As per the norms of DDU-GKY we have to certify the candidates through MES or through Sector Skill Councils. We have opted for NCVT. When NSQF is ratified, we might align with it. These programs are on par with industry trends. Candidates, after passing the training, get well absorbed in the industry.

Scope for apprenticeship programs

Actually, these short-term livelihood programs are not accepted by the Apprenticeship Act. Now that the Act has got amended in 2015, the candidates who have passed short-term training programs, can also be part of Apprenticeship. There is reluctance from industry side, and that is a challenge.

But we do have companies, who are taking up apprentices, from short duration training programs, and I’m very happy to share that DGET is also open to support us in terms of approaching the companies, so I’m very positive about future linkage between these courses.

Bringing in parity between the ITI pass outs and the short-term training candidates

We have also partnered with 2 ITI s in PPP mode, to develop and modernize the ITI. We have initiated our intervention in these institutes. This has just started and we are in the process of preparing blueprints.

UPL-SRSAT-Training1

Impact of top down initiatives like –Skill India, PMKVY

In my opinion, these initiatives are not executed well on the ground level. There is lack of monitoring, some grey areas, some issues. That’s where I think they are not effective. DDUGKY is probably the best training program which not just monitors the skilling part of it, it has standard operating procedures (SOP) laid down. I haven’t come across any government project which with SOPs, and monitored through CCTV and biometrics. If these SOPs are replicated in other projects, the quality of delivery will improve dramatically and we will see great results.

The road ahead

We have made a good beginning by focusing on livelihood linked with industrial sector. Our roadmap includes our plans for farming sector and rural entrepreneurship in the second and third phase.

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