The Problem and Our Intervention

The Problem

India has been talked about on the world stage for multiple reasons. On the one hand, there is the India Shining campaign: a 6-8% sustained growth and emergence of multiple new industries (IT Solutions, Off-shoring etc.). On the other hand, Bharat (the traditional name for India) continues to call for help: As per World Bank, 32.7% of the total Indian population falls below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25 per day (PPP adjusted) while 68.7% live on less than US$ 2 per day. Eight Indian states have more poor than 26 poorest African nations combined, and India overall is estimated to have a third of the world’s poor.
Unemployment leading to poverty leading to lack of education and training for the next generation leading to deeper poverty – this is a vicious cycle. Those without job and money often resort to other means, resulting in myriad social and law & order challenges.

Unfortunately and ironically, at the same time when the masses in India are desperately crying for jobs, Corporate India is complaining about the lack of skilled manpower to sustain growth! Reason: Skill mismatch. Many decades of a decadent socialist education system have resulted in the vast population devoid of elementary corporate skills. Companies need manpower and people need jobs, but never the twain shall meet. Because the vast population is simply not skilled enough. Organized sector employment in India is as low as 13% only.

 

Our Intervention

National award winning Elements Akademia (www.elementsakademia.com), started by 15 Senior IIM Alumni (India’s Top B School) 5 years ago (in 2007), is India’s first chain of finishing schools. Its stated mission was to try and bridge the gap between academic learning and corporate needs, thereby making youth employable. Elements is emerging as a “thought leader” in employability space, working with Professional Bodies (World Bank, IFC, ICAI, ICSI, Sainik School Society), State Governments (Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh) and Corporate India (Cadbury, Macmillan, Nestle, Genpact, Aircel, J&J, KPMG, Bank of America, etc.). We first work with hiring companies to design a customized course, then mobilize and train candidates in Tier 2/3 towns on that course. Overall, we have placed more than 10,000 students in our partner companies and beyond.

Our Bottom-of-Pyramid work focuses on various semi-urban and rural areas of North India (the poorest states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh) to train and place Class X and XII pass BPL (Below-Poverty-Line) beneficiaries. A typical module will be of 6-8 weeks, designed with the help of hiring partners, at the end of which the student would get a job in the partner company and beyond. Most jobs are in the starting salary range of Rs. 6000-8000 per month, with salaries typically doubling in 3 years. Considering the BPL background of the trainees, we have generally seen that the disposable income of the family actually increases 3-5X, with most of the incremental income devoted to education and nutrition. Generally, each of those employed, remit about 50-70% of their income back to their families – most of which is used for education and health of the remaining members of the family.
30-50% of beneficiaries are women who feel much more empowered after the course and the job. We give a commitment of placing at least 75% of any batch, and track their employment for one year to ensure the trainees continue to work in one company or the other.

The entire intervention is absolutely free of cost to the beneficiary – with multiple donors/governments picking up the tab against strict milestones (a part paid on mobilization, a part during training, a part after training and the final part after proof of sustainable employment is shown). A share is also paid by the hiring companies like Pizza Hut, Reliance etc. And our parent company, Elements Akademia Pvt. Ltd, picks up all overhead costs, so all funding goes exclusively on the project.

 

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