“In India, we have a quarter of a billion young people looking for jobs. But there are more jobs than people available to fill them. There is also a skill mismatch between what the industries are looking for and what is available. ETASHA works with young, underprivileged youth, to train them – to help develop the skills, the behavior, the attitude, the mindset, the work ethic required for a successful and growing career in industry,” says founder Meenakshi Nayar.
ETASHA has essentially been visualized as a bridge between the corporate sector and the underprivileged of the country. A May 2011 issue of the Times of India’s Crest Edition described this Delhi-based NGO as, “A clutch of NGOs across the country are doing what schools don’t do – prepare underprivileged youth for the world of work. With short-term training in spoken English, computer applications and even sex education, they are armed well for the workplace. ETASHA is one of them.”
Parul Mehra, who is the skill development officer at ETASHA, guided me through a case study of Shiv Kumar Dhawan which was so inspiring. He is a polite, eager 26-year-old youth, who attended ETASHA’s Certificate Program in Teacher Training (CPCTT). After graduating (via correspondence) from Dayal Singh College (Delhi University), Shiv earned himself a M.A. in English from IGNOU. He lives with his parents and brother, whose collective monthly income is only Rs. 6,000. He works very hard to improve life for his family. He takes tuitions for children early in the morning as well as later in the afternoon. Between lessons, he spends 4 hours at ETASHA’s centre, where he is enrolled in the CPCTT programme.
ETASHA’s CPCTT is a 6 month programme which provides skills like social confidence, spoken English, computer and internet basics, interpersonal skills and makes a student ready to teach.
“I used to think teaching was exhausting but thanks to ETASHA, I can now say it’s the most interesting profession choice I have ever considered. I’m able to adapt and teach the way a student wants to learn,” says Shiv.
From 2006 until March 2016, ETASHA has benefitted around 11,000 youth through Vocational Training & Placement Programs, Employability Skills Training & Placement Programs as well as Career Guidance Workshops.
In its Vocational Training & Placement programs, ETASHA tracks the progress of each individual trainee throughout the 3 or 4 months program. “After each class, each trainer writes a reflective journal outlining the successes and concerns of each class, including observations on the class content. This is posted online everyday so that every other trainer can read and reflect before taking the next class. With over 60 reflective journals for each programme, a sequential diary is built up, which can be used to plan classes, assess student performance, and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of our syllabus. New volunteers have the opportunity to read the existing volunteers’ stories and connect to the group,” says Parul Mehra.
ETASHA covers over 400 careers under its Career Guidance Programs which follow the 3 P’s Model – Personality, Potential and Profession. Based on a series of Psychometric tests each candidate is provided with a set of careers that is best suited for their aptitudes, interests and competitive potential. “Most kids do not know how fast the world is changing and the career options available to them. After a Career Guidance Workshop with us they get a clear idea of the career which is best for them,” says Parul Mehra
With a dream for every young Indian to be employable, have self-worth and lead a dignified and productive life, ETASHA is currently working to develop methodologies which will enable wider reach with the same high quality of personalised approach to skill development.