Keren Nazareth and Irbaaz Sheikh, Saath Charitable Trust
This report was featured as a chapter in ‘Overcoming the Youth Employment Crisis : Strategies from Around the Globe’, a joint report co-authored by the global partners of JustJobs Network.
Unemployment among youth in India is high and growing, especially among literate youth. The rate of unemployment among youth who are graduatesi or holders of a diploma or certificateii is 28.3 percent among urban males. One underlying reason is an outdated education system, where most of the youth receive education and training that is anachronistic or mismatched as per current labor market demand. One of the government’s key priorities is to bridge the skills gap by providing market-aligned vocational training to youth.
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a public-private partnership, is responsible for stimulating the growth of the training industry. The Government of India has the ambitious goal of providing skill training to over 500 million people by 2022. Focused on facilitating transitions from the informal sector to the formal sector, the model is to train youth according to the requirements of industry and then place them into appropriate jobs.
The responsibility of executing training programs has fallen, in part, on non- governmental organizations. Through Saath’s own experience in running these programs, it has identified a key gap in the current skill development model – low retention rates among newly trained youth in their job placement. Upon giving an overview of Saath’s training programs, this report will discuss the various challenges newly trained Indian youth face in staying at their jobs. Then it will describe Youth Force, a new initiative Saath has launched to help youth overcome these challenges by providing them a platform for support and mentorship as they transition into the formal workforce. Finally, it will examine the success of the Youth Force approach and discuss implications for India’s national skilling agenda.