Skill development has assumed center stage in India as a key priority area for development. Training and education draw interest as the country works towards becoming a manufacturing hub, with focused programs like “Make in India”.
Traditionally, India’s education system has been criticized for being excessively theory-oriented and for producing ‘unemployable’ graduates.This is especially true in non-urban regions, where graduates lag severely in soft skills such as communication skills and have no practical skills required to succeed in a job environment. As a result, they fare poorly in the job scene when pitted against competition from urban locations.
Skilling programs in itself should move beyond its functional objectives of delivering training for specific job roles. On the contrary, the focus of training in these regions should be to groom individuals to excel by enabling wholesome development. A good skilling program should support a participant to discover new paradigms of learning and instill leadership skills, as well as practical exposure to workplace challenges.
The Sandbox works among rural youth through a plethora of programs under its Deshpande Educational Trust (DET), to train rural youth to make them leaders, and excellent professionals. “We have discovered that skilling and scaling, with strong work ethics and passion, can make a strong impact. We found that skill is one part, besides stronger desire and passion which are also important. Each one of us makes sure that we create that passion in the students in our own ways,” Naveen Jha, Chief Executive Officer, Deshpande Foundation said at the Development Dialogue in Hubballi in February 2016.
While working with youth from non-urban locations, the foundation is driven by the idea that with relevant support and grooming, youth from non-urban locations can also rise as leaders and professionals who add value to their workplaces. DET programs have groomed over 2300 graduates through 11 fellowship programs meant for rural youth.