Qualities such as clarity of mind and focus are rare in a 23-year-old. But these strengths helped Mohd Aqdas Khan navigate and overcome difficulties. Privileges did not come naturally to Mohd Aqdas; he had to earn them by taking every opportunity that came his way. He was born into a low-income family in East Delhi, where he lives with his parents and three siblings. Mohd Aqdas started making money at age 21. He started out doing odd jobs and eventually got a formal job at a restaurant aggregator and food delivery service. Although he had a stable income, his heart was not in it. He had a job in retail in mind.
“I have always been interested in retail. I saw my cousins working in this industry in the Middle East. Interacting face to face with customers, meeting new people, understanding their problems and learning from others. them, building communication skills – I love all aspects of the retail industry,” he explained.
While working, Mohd Aqdas was also doing his graduation. As most of the world adjusted to pandemic life, Mohd Aqdas used his time to complete his studies in 2021. The opportunity arose when Save the Children, India came to share details of a vocational training courses. “My older brother was winning. I wanted to be independent, gain experience and not depend on anyone. I wanted to work on my experience to get better opportunities,” he said. Mohd Aqdas was given a one on one session by the Professional Training Manager, after the interaction and understanding of his area of interest he was enrolled in the 45 day retail course.
Mohd Aqdas has completed his National Skill Development Corporation accredited institute course – Learn and Institute Skills. “I loved the course. I didn’t know a lot about retail. This course had both theory and practice. We role-played with customer-salespeople and learned how to make a pitch, talk to them and greet We also visited malls as part of the course and observed how people worked at the counters Everything I learned in class I could see it all happening under my eyes !” said Mohd Aqdas.
Upon completion of the course, Mohd Aqdas got a job with Bata India Limited, Gurugram. He is now living the life of his dreams and looking forward to so much more. The training of adolescents and young people is a priority for the government. The Union budget presented on February 1 also recognized the need and potential for such courses. During the presentation of the budget, the Minister of Finance said: “In professional courses, to promote crucial skills in critical thinking, to give space to creativity, 750 virtual laboratories in science and mathematics, and 75 skills e-labs for simulated learning environments, will be implemented in 2022-23.”
Through three projects (SC Italy, Avaaya, WNCB), Save the Children launched the Skills Training Initiative focusing on urban and semi-urban slums in South and East Delhi, with a plan to reach 770 young people, mainly in the 18-25 age group. , over three years. The initiative was launched in 2021, a year when unemployment was becoming a growing concern due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn. The course fees for the training are covered by Save the Children. About 80% of young people trained are placed by the training partner and the remaining 20% are directly supported by Save the Children to find suitable employment opportunities. Young people placed so far earn between Rs 12,000 and Rs 14,000 per month.
While the vocational training course led Aqdas to land her dream job, it also helped 19-year-old Shabana to become independent and focus on her career. She has seven members in the family, including parents, two brothers and two sisters. Shabana studied until class 12 and wanted to become a teacher, but her family’s financial situation did not allow her to continue her studies. She would take schooling classes to support her family. “I was sitting around doing nothing at home during the pandemic. When Save the Children explained the course and that they will cover the cost, I immediately wanted to enroll. I had noticed Save the Children’s work Children in our colony, distributing learning kits to children and helping people get ration cards,” Shabana shared.
She joined the course in November 2021 and is currently working in a BPO in Noida. “I became independent. I can feel the difference it has made since I started working. With this course I was able to make a career. I want to study while working. I want to do my degree in Arts,” she says. From earning Rs 500 teaching neighborhood children to a monthly salary of Rs 10,000, she has come a long way.
For Pooja, 22, vocational training has become a lifeline. Her mother died when she was a child and she lost her father three years ago. “My father left behind Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000. Previously my brother lived with me to help with household expenses but after his marriage he started living separately. “money from my dad and I do sewing. work and somehow manage. I don’t have anyone to cover my expenses,” she said. Pooja’s class is still in She hopes to find a job after the course and work for her future.
So far, 207 young people have been trained and 100 have obtained placements. Vocational guidance and enrollment of young people within the community is provided by Save the Children, its partners and the training institute. A guidance counselor is also involved and uses several psychometric tools to assess the young person’s aptitude and area of interest based on their qualification and market viability.
To help these young adults find the right jobs, Save the Children has organized recruitment camps and, to date, 30 companies have taken part. The team conducts a brief survey of families in Delhi’s intervention areas to identify eligible course candidates. Besides vocational training, these young people are also trained in digital literacy, spoken English, psychosocial support and other life skills. These courses usually last 45 to 60 days.
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