Lending a helping hand

In a country that accords the highest importance to degrees, one often finds courses spanning years don’t necessarily help you land a job.
Lending a helping hand

It is not the dearth of jobs but skills that plague our youth when it comes to jobs. In a country that accords the highest importance to degrees, one often finds courses spanning years don’t necessarily help you land a job. Imagine the plight of the unfortunate who couldn’t graduate out of top professional schools due to poverty, non-accessability and similar reasons. This is where vocational training centres step in with the hope of upgrading skills of unemployed youth and making them job-ready in a few months. Edex profiles a few such clubs who are making a difference in their own little ways.


ePalmleaf through its endeavour ArthaVidhya started in 2012 promotes skill development by bridging the gap between collegiate education and corporate requirement in the accounting domain. “ArthaVidhya is promoted by a group of chartered accountants and engineers with over 100 years of combined working experience in the corporate sector,” begins G Nagarajan, founder and CEO.

While universities teach prescribed syllabus, ArthaVidhya through its training enables students to understand requirements of corporates. “We have developed a unique product delivered through the cloud (online) to assess students on their knowledge and skills. The assessment is carried out by running a series of templates uniquely designed to give a corporate flavour and work-flow of transactions,” explains Nagarajan. Students are assessed on the following parameters — academic knowledge, process knowledge, analytical skills and software skills like Tally, Excel, etc. Each student gets an individual report immediately after completing a test. A report of all students is also given to the college to enable them understand the gaps in the knowledge /skills of their students.

ArthaVidhya imparts training through a combination of physical classes and virtual training in office environment. Content is in the form of printed materials, animated presentations, simulations and practicals. “We administer training of 120 hours to small batches of 40 to facilitate individual attention. Seventy-five per cent of the training is practical-oriented,” says Nagarajan.

ArthaVidhya is into counseling as well. “We help students identify their strengths in accounting and accordingly mould them,” says Nagarajan. Details at www.arthavidhya.com.

Laurus Edutech

Desirous of inclusive growth, Laurus Edutech was founded in 2009 to concentrate on blue collar training. Laurus through its 156 centres offers vocational training in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and other states. In addition to vocational training for government, retail and corporates, they are into software training and content creation as well. “With over a billion population comprising a lot of youngsters, we train drop-outs and in general unskilled candidates to become drivers, mechanics, electricians, barbers, plumbers and along those lines,” begins Vardhman Jain, founder-director, Laurus. So far they have trained around 40,000 candidates and helped them procure jobs, which pay monthly `7,000+ initially.

On the flip side, Laurus’ training extends for a year, while the general hope is to get a job in a few months time. Jain says, “A few months is fine for someone who was fortunate enough to have had proper education. Again, we space out the whole thing. Every three months, we track their progress and even procure them part-times once the first trimester is over.” Laurus charges about `25 for a day’s training, though this varies according to the centre and the city.

On the impact Laurus has made, Jain says, “I am happy we are targeting youth who are at the bottom of the pyramid. There has always been too much hype and focus on IT, whereas manufacturing and other areas have been meted out step-motherly treatment. In fact, if we develop our workforce, India could be brimming with outsourced manufacturing projects.”

With respect to future plans, Laurus would, of course, like to expand its centres and “develop software to track its students.” “Rural mobilisation, training youth and getting them gainful employment in a nutshell comprises the activities of Laurus in the vocational sphere,” adds Jain. Laurus training associates include FIFCI, TATA, NSDC, DLF and Naturals Beauty Salon. Details at www.laurusedutech.com.


Established in 1985, today AISECT is a name to reckon with in the skill development arena. Headquartered in Bhopal, AISECT has 60,000 centres across 27 states and three union territories. “We offer 40 certificate, diploma and PG diploma courses in IT, management, hardware, networking, banking, financial services, insurance, organised retail, agriculture, teacher training and livelihood,” begins Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, director-HR and marketing, AISECT. Primarily conceived by its chairman and MD, Santosh Choubey to improve IT literacy in rural India, AISECT has now even branched out to universities — CV Raman University was established in 2006 in Bilaspur, Chattisgarh, followed by AISECT University in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, in 2012. Scope College of Engineering and Scope College of Education were also started in Bhopal in 2005. “Primarily identifying rural entrepreneurs, we don’t stop with just course material or certifications, but strive to get them jobs,” says Chaturvedi.

On the impact AISECT has made, we are told, “We have trained about 1.5 million candidates so far being one of the largest partners of NSDC,” says Chaturvedi. AISECT also came up with a placement portal, www.rujgarmantra.com this April. “About 1.5 lakh jobseekers have already registered. This portal helps you procure local jobs,” says Chaturvedi. Details at www.aisect.org.

Empower Pragati

With 120+ centres covering 13 states with 46 districts, Empower founded in 2011 has trained over 20,000 candidates in 24 different vocational courses right from BPO training to drivers with computer and conversational English training thrown in. The courses span two-four months and cover life skills, IT and computer fundamentals, communication skills, retail selling, supply chain management, transportation logistics, hospitality and food industry, nursing and housekeeping. For residential and non-residential courses, Empower charges `12,000 and `7,000 respectively. There is also a 100-hour certified programme with Indian Institute of Banking and Finance, accredited by Reserve Bank of India. “Of these, more than 10,000 have been girls,” beams Rajiv Sharma, managing director and co-founder of Empower. Former CEO of Airtel, Sharma has held managerial positions with Kodak and HCL. Empower majorly operates in north, east and south India.

Some of the cities that house Empower include Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, New Delhi and Bhubaneswar. “Our graduates have found work with Hero Honda, ICICI, Reliance, Airtel, Pepsi, etc, and on average draw salaries of `7-10,000 at the starting point. We also work with donors, governments and corporate CSR initiatives to create customised projects,” adds the lawyer-turned-management graduate. Most of Empower’s future plans revolve around meeting the target they have been assigned by NSDC — to train two million people in the next seven years. Details at www.empowerpragati.in.

SB Global Academy

The first private training institution in Kerala to be approved by NSDC, SB Global’s forte is the corporate sector and was started in 2005. “We offer short duration programmes that are customised based on job profiles and essentially follow the criteria of pre-hire training. This enhances employability for our participants. Potential applicants are assessed, evaluated, guided and trained, based on their aptitude,” begins Prasad G, vice-president-corporate finance, SB Global, which is based in Kochi.

SB Global’s training areas include soft skills, entrance exam coaching, finance and business certifications. Recently, they became the vertical anchor for Travel and Tourism of TISS SVE — Tata Institute of Social Sciences School of Vocational Education. School of Vocational Education has been set up to improve lives of the disadvantaged and marginalised youth, especially ones excluded by formal school education system through appropriate vocational training programmes, informs Prasad. Target beneficiaries include organised and unorganised labour, women, children, dalits and tribals. “We cover important towns in Kerala — Kochi, Kannur, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kottayam. On the anvil are more centres and an entry into Tamil Nadu is also in the pipeline,” says Prasad. Details at www.sbglobal.in.


There is no dearth of jobs but just dearth of unskilled people. This prompted, Girish Singhania, an IIM-B graduate to start Edubridge in October 2009. With a registered office in Kolkata and a head office in Mumbai, Edubridge covers Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. “We offer employability link training to unemployed youth for service sector entry-level jobs,” begins Singhania. “We offer short-term courses spanning six-eight weeks that will enable our participants to procure jobs in IT, retail, banking, insurance and such sectors.” The courses cost `5-7,000 while Singhania also promises to return your fee in case you are not able to get placed. Singhania’s complacence is, of course, understandable since Edubridge has links with about 70-80 companies in the service sector.

Right from drop-outs to graduates, participants can make use of Edubridge’s offerings that range from `7,000 onwards. “We are setting foot in Meghalaya, Bihar and Gujarat shortly. Training about 7,000 a year, we would like to take the number up to 10,000 from this year onwards and 50,000, hopefully, in the future. Operating from 15 centres, we would like to make it 100 in the next two years,” says Singhania. Details at www.edubridgeindia.com.

DLF Foundation

Started in 2008, DLF branched out into vocational training in 2011. “Through our 26 centres in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Indore, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Rajasthan, we work on employability link,” says Gayatri Paul, associate director, DFL Foundation. DLF works on customised vocational training based on a centre’s needs. Explaining more is Paul, “In the south, we majorly concentrate on electronics, while up north soft-skill based programmes are favoured — computer skills, IT, retail, services, food production, beauty salons and so on.”

While most programmes are of short duration, DLF also provides one-two year training, especially in the south. “We pride ourselves for delivering pan-India services in the vocational sphere and as such our long-term aim is to skill one million people in the next decade,” beams Paul. Of course, the icing on the cake is the programmes are for free, save for some miscellaneous expenses the candidate has to bear, “which will not extend beyond a few hundreds.”

On the impact DLF has made, Paul says, “Every centre trains about 300 people. You do the maths. We do complete monitoring of our participants through a software — how they are doing, the progress they have made — this helps us arrange interviews with our partners for placements like KFC, Café Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Airtel, Reliance, etc. The average salaries to be reported is `8,000 and this is quite a lot for some of our students, who eventually due to our training become the sole breadwinners of their families. We make a lot of difference.”

DLF will soon get into training differently-abled people as well. Details at www.dlffoundation.in.

— shilpa.vasudevan@newindianexpress.com

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