The primary challenge in the Indian society and world of work includes persistent inequalities and exclusion among young women & girls in general and among men and boys of underprivileged backgrounds.  Secondly, the challenge is that the youth possess little or no job skills relevant to the market requirements.  Thirdly, the job creation for skilled youth is also a challenge. Plan India promotes increased participation of young men and women in the workforce by providing relevant skills as per the market requirements.  It also ensures the relevance to the socially and geographically disadvantaged and marginalized groups to have quality vocational training and job placement.

It helps increase resilience among young people and effectively engage in decent work according to their choices and context.

Key Actions

School and Community based career counseling

Providing vocational and life-skill training

Job placement and post-placement support

Facilitate link for youth entrepreneur 

Information literacy on available government schemes 

Stories of Change

SAKSHAM

SAKSHAM GIVES YOUNG PEOPLE THE INDEPENDENCE TO EXPLORE THEIR POTENTIAL

Inequality and exclusion are the barriers for underprivileged young people to access vocational and entrepreneurship skills.  There is also a challenge in developing skills relevant to the market requirement, which creates difficulties for job placement. Plan India’s Saksham Training Centre at Delhi, Lucknow, Dehradun, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Bengaluru are full of young men and women taking avid notes as a trainer talks to them about workplace communication.

In yet another corner, girls engage in a lively debate about which strategies are best to convince their families to let them work, an opportunity often denied by the girls’ protective environment.

Saksham started in 2010, by focusing on ‘Neither in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)’ youth, especially girls, from urban and disadvantaged areas. The initiative arms them with free, market-oriented vocational skills, as well as job and entrepreneurial training. With support from corporates and Plan International offices, Plan India’s mission is to provide access to gainful employment to young girls in the age group of 18-29 years while also grooming today’s youth as representatives of a gender-just society. The program also goes several steps further and includes basic IT skills, presentation, etiquette, and business communication skills.   Saksham has a strong focus on training that challenges gender stereotypes and widespread discrimination. Saksham engages parents, communities, and employers on gender equality, equal opportunities, and economic empowerment of girls and women.  In addition to skill development, it encourages young girls and women to participate in socio-economic development.

Saksham was carefully designed after gathering market intelligence, researching available jobs, and identifying the skill gap. Initial market studies identified potential trades for vocational training. Local employers in these sectors were then interviewed to gather skill requirements and gaps, which formed the basis of the training courses. Creating awareness among young people about job opportunities in the market, providing career counseling, and imparting skills to negotiate with families, communities, and employers were also designed into the course.

Plan India takes the training right into the communities to address the challenges raised by limited mobility for girls. Working closely with their training and implementation partners, Plan India leverages the trust they have built over the years with communities to lower resistance to the girls seeking employment and bring about behavioral change from within the communities.

Saksham provides experiential learning before placing its young graduates into job openings and mentors them through the first six months to ensure no dropout.  This project ensures gender mainstreaming by doing a risk assessment and designing a strategy to mitigate the risk in terms of timing, location in the training center, and employment location.

The success of Saksham lies in creating an informed and empowered youth force that seeks to create an equitable, economically secure, and sustainable future for themselves and their families. Girls who graduate from Saksham leave with skills for not just gainful employment, but with an ability to make decisions and negotiate their rights with peers, parents, and employers. The hard work of the Saksham team is validated by the strong and constant demand for Saksham-trained young women from local employers.

IMPROVED CONDITION AND POSITION OF YOUNG WOMEN

Gangamma

Gangamma was a sponsored child from a very remote hamlet, where there were no facilities of electricity, drainage, road, school, drinking water, and other basic facilities.  She belongs to a scheduled caste family and is economically very poor.  Her family has six members and doing seasonal agriculture laborer.  Due to the poverty condition of her family, they could not be able to support her education.  In 1991, Plan India has selected her village for the sponsorship program.  Her mother joined Renukadevi Mahila Sangam (Women Self-Help Group), where she was sensitized on the importance of girls’ education.  She saved little money in the group and bought a loan to support her education.  Her uncle was forcing her to marry him as a second wife for which her parents and brothers were also agreeable. During this time she also dropped out of school. 

Plan India team visited her family and motivated her parents to stop the marriage.  This was the turning point for her life to move further to continue her education and complete 10th standard.  Due to the long-distance, she was not able to continue her education and started to work.

During this time, Plan India established Management of Enterprises and Development of Women (MEADOW) in Hosur in partnership with its partner MYRADA to support poor and deprived young girls to become employable.  She had an opportunity to join this unit in 1998.  She underwent two years of training at TITAN industries and started to work as an end-link fixing operator.  Then, she has got married and continued the job though to travel by four buses.

Basis her performance, the company promoted her as a Unit Manager in 2005 and as Purchase Head in 2006.  She was also selected as Executive Board Member and elected as a Director of the company in 2008.

In 2015, Meadow was honored and given responsibility as cheque signatory of the company.

The major influential stakeholders in her life are Plan India, and MYRADA supported to have education-related materials and livelihood opportunities for her parents.  She has improved her communication skill in English and skill development training to become to the present position.

Plan India has created sustainability of the company MEADOW and phased out from that area

She quoted the following expressions:

“Nothing is impossible if you have clear vision and mission in the life”

“Women are most precious human beings not weaker sex”

“Respect the country constitution with full of honor and dignity”