Agrasar seeks to develop fundamental workplace competencies in youth who have completed their education to a minimum of grade 8 and are looking to be employed within the next 6 months. Our program seeks to prepare the youth not just for entry level jobs but also for long-term progression in their careers. Therefore, Agrasar's Employability Programme places a strong focus on self-awareness, organization communication, inter-personal skills, Information Technology and spoken English proficiency. Following their placement in the industry, participants are also provided with need-based post placement support so that they begin their career on a strong footing. We also run a post-placement Support Centre for youth trained under various Skill India schemes.
Girls in our Employability Programme face challenges on two fronts that they need to surmount-that of finding jobs they aspire towards and to convince their family members to allow them to step out of the confines of their home and work. Over the last one year in Agrasar, I have seen many of them being able to deal with these challenges and do well for themselves. However I face a personal dilemma of whether to consider a 70% placement rate amongst girls satisfactory as compared to a 90% rate amongst boys. I am sure the team is putting in their best efforts, but we need your support to do even better.
Agrasar has an innovative range of outreach activities to reach every nook and cranny of the community. Initiatives such as personalized door-to-door visits, group meetings, street plays, canopies, and focused community camps are meticulously planned to spread awareness amongst youth who are constrained in finding gainful employment opportunities. Agrasar runs a Radio Programme-Career Express-in collaboration with Community Radio, Gurgaon Ki Awaaz 107.8 FM to reach youth who cannot access regular brick and mortar training facilities. Weekly Radio Shows, Newscasting Sessions and Workshops provide timely information regarding soft skills, interview preparation, spoken English, Financial Literacy, Social Security, Workers Rights, Job Opportunities etc.
Agrasar has developed a comprehensive curriculum with a key focus on foundational skills such as Basic Computers, Spoken English, Soft Skills, and Aptitude testing to ensure a holistic and experiential learning process for the participants. The training processes are activity based to build competencies to achieve excellence in the workplace. The curriculum is supplemented by Guest Speaker sessions with a network of industry experts and exposure visits to organizations to enable the participants to gain insight into the working environment. Each participant’s progress across program parameters is mapped and assessed regularly to follow the participants learning curve.
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Agrasar networks with Business Organizations across domains to explore placement opportunities for the youth undergoing training. Agrasar analyzes job profiles and matches participants interest, aptitude and skill-sets to ensure the right fit. The participants are taken through intensive training including mock interview sessions in preparation for job interviews. Once placed, periodic post-placement follow-ups and hand-holding is done during the first year of the job to assess the work environment and satisfaction on the job. (you could give examples of the kind of support that Agrasar has provide post placement underlining why this is important for job retention)
Agrasar is also running a Migration Support Centre in Collaboration with the Government of Odisha and Aajeevika Bureau which provides post placement support, worker registration, support for employment and social security issues, and information on financial services, legal aid, health services, education etc
Even though we understand that designing scalable interventions is important, we do not believe in targeting numbers. Whenever being asked the question - "How is it going?", our team members would normally talk about students and people - successes achieved or challenges being faced in particular cases. We also try to be fair and objective in communicating about 'impact' to all stakeholders. e.g. you would often hear us mentioning that - "Around 20% of the youth who come to our Employability Centres would have gone in similar jobs had they not joined us. Therefore, we need to find even better avenues of placement." We would also talk about children who we were not able to mainstream. We share our successes as well as challenges so as to attract people and organizations in our journey who mean to make a "real impact".
Street Plays on the theme - “Beti ghar ki Roshni” - were organized in four villages of Mathura. The objective was to inspire people to encourage girls to get educated and to step out and work. More than 200 people participated in the event and many of them vowed to "change". After the street play, discussions were organized around the topic which got people to make personal connections and share their experiences.
An exposure visit to the 'Gurgaon ki Awaz' community radio program was organised for our students on the 25th May. One of them shared her experience on the radio and spoke about harassment through social media.
55 students visited Pizza Hut at Ansal Plaza. The students got a glimpse of how the kitchen and store are managed. Through such exposure visits, the youngsters learn and get to explore job opportunity in various sector.
One of the key components of our training program is exposure visits to organizations to help the participants understand the nuances of a working environment. During these visits the participants experience the business processes, interact with team members, learn about job roles and the skills required to grow within the organization. It also helps the participants to relate the classroom sessions with real life scenarios and develop relevant skills. While we organize the visits at periodic intervals, we would like to increase the frequency of these visits to enhance the learning of the participants.
"I have been living in Gurgaon for the past 11 years. All these years, I rarely went out of home alone because I feel uncomfortable while talking to new people. My husband used to accompany me whenever I had to go out for household chores or my personal work. I felt dependent on others but I could not overcome my fear of being in unfamiliar surroundings. I came to know about the course through Agrasar’s Camp at Dundahera Chaupal and I decided to give it a try. I have been a part of the training for the last four months and I can feel some improvements in my personality like I feel less anxious when I talk to people now. Not only do I come to the centre alone, I have also started to go out in the market and am more conscious about my appearance now than before. I have learnt new things from the trainers as well as from my batch-mates. I feel like it is an achievement for me to be able go out on my own and meet new people confidently."
"After I graduated 12th grade, I decided to join the employability course offered by Agrasar to learn new skills before starting college. I need to earn while I study to support my family and I enrolled in B.Com through Distance Learning. In the Centre, I am trying to learn as much as possible because I need to secure a good job along with my studies. Now, at the end of the training period, my spoken English has improved immensely. Earlier I used to hesitate to talk in English, but now I am able to frame sentences and speak with confidence with my friends and family members. I have recently started interning with the Community Radio Station-Gurgaon Ki Awaaz, 107.8 FM and this experience has made me more confident to take on life’s challenges."
Abhijeet comes from a family of six members. His father and brother have been running the entire family with their limited earnings. Abhijeet is pursuing B.Com through distance learning. He wanted to study from a regular college but did otherwise given the tough financial condition at home. He nurtures a deep interest in computers since his childhood. There was a remarkable improvement in Abhijeet’s communication, interpersonal and computer skills after the training. He says - “I want to support my father and brother in providing for our family because of which I wanted to do a job. I worked with Home Credit India as a tele-caller for two months after which I got a better opportunity at an International BPO. Now, the salary is better, but my dream is to work in the field of computer science, for which I have recently joined a hardware networking course along with my job. I want to continue growing.”