SEWA Rural

Project: Residential Vocational Training
Location: Bharuch District, Gujarat
Category: Income Generation and Training

Vivekananda Gramin Tekniki Kendra

SEWA Rural, an NGO based in the Bharuch district of Gujarat, manages the Vivekananda Gramin Tekniki Kendra (VGTK) in Gujarat. The student body at the VGTK consists of poor tribal youth—many of them school dropouts—of Bharuch and Narmada districts of Gujarat. These students are receiving residential vocational training and job placement in local industries. Having a VGTK graduate and wage earner in a family can result in an increase in income that pulls the family out of poverty. SEWA Rural sent IDS the story of one such VGTK graduate, Rahul:

Rahul’s family subsisted on the income his mother made by selling vegetables in neighboring villages. His parents sent him to the village school, but he had no interest in learning. After many failed attempts, he managed to graduate.

In 2016, VGTK conducted admissions interviews in Sagbara for a one-year vocational course. Rahul showed up for the interview but did not pass. On the strength of a recommendation from a former VGTK student, however, Rahul was accepted into the machinist training course.

Once in school, Rahul’s bad habits did not improve. He was inattentive in class and frequently ran away from school. Each time, a VGTK staff member went to Rahul’s home and convinced him to return. And each time, Rahul was required to submit a written apology for his conduct. His hostel roommates and classmates also complained about his behavior. His parents were called to VGTK for a conference, but nothing changed.

Rahul’s trade teacher seemed to be the only one who could look beyond Rahul’s faults and see his potential. He alone among VGTK’s staff had faith in Rahul—most of the other teachers feared he would ruin VGTK’s good reputation in the industry.

His machinist course finally completed, Rahul was sent to Quality Industries in Ankleshwar for two months of on-site industrial training. VGTK gave the company’s owner a full picture—both good and bad—of Rahul’s school performance and character. The owner evidently shared this information with Rahul’s supervisor, who subsequently took a great interest in the young man, repeatedly testing him and reviewing technical aspects of the job.

After two months, Rahul, who had been famous at VGTK for frequent and extended absenteeism, had missed only two days of his industrial placement! The owner and supervisor agreed that Rahul should be kept on permanently at Quality Industries. The company provided a room nearby with an LPG connection for him. Rahul now earns 9,000 rupees a month and has become a responsible breadwinner for his family.

The IDS grant supported trade training, soft skills training, and job placement for 150 residential students. Residential vocational training has recently been facing competition from new Vocational Training Centers (VTCs), both private and government-run, that are springing up in VGTK’s districts. The VGTK recognizes that attracting students in the future may become a challenge. Also, the trend toward increased automation in industry may result in decreased demand for skilled employees over time. Similarly, the availability of skilled technical instructors in rural areas is likely to decrease in the future.

The VGTK is able to place 75% of its graduates in entry-level jobs in seven different trades; most are hired at an unskilled or semi-skilled level and are promoted to skilled employees within the first year. Typically, a trainee’s income will double within five years of his hire.

IDS Coordinator: Nila Vora
Project Manager: Bankim Sheth

–2017 IDS annual report

SEWA Rural is based in the Bharuch District of Gujarat. This NGO has been very active in health care, as well in community health, education of girls, and microcredit programs. A few years ago, SEWA founded the Vivekananda Gramin Tekniki Kendra (VGTK) to provide skills training to tribal youths who come from poor economic backgrounds.

The need for income generation among the tribals and scheduled caste youth is great. Under the VGTK program, these students are given support to pay for boarding, lodging, and skills training over a period of a year. The government of Gujarat covers a portion of the costs. These youths are trained specifically to meet the requirements of the industries in the surrounding area. Young men learn to be lathe operators, welders, machinists, electricians, and printers; in addition, weekly classes in computer literacy and engineering drawing are offered. Students are assessed and graded every two weeks.

The students visit several job sites to learn about the practical aspects of employment in various industries; this helps them become employable once the initial training is over. In addition to skills training, the youths are also taught life skills and values education.

The total number of students trained at VGTK in a typical year is about 200. IDS funds have supported 15 students this past year. The program is selective; out of 627 prospective students interviewed for admission, 239 were accepted, and 200 completed the training.

In an independent evaluation of this program, it was found that 90% of the students completed training, 96% have been placed in various industries, 70% still retain their jobs, and about 10% are self employed. These students’ family income has increased significantly. Less than 4% remain unemployed

IDS Coordinator: Nila Vora
Project Manager: Shrey Desai

–2016 IDS Annual Report

SEWA Rural is an NGO in Jhagadia, Gujarat which carries out many activities—including health care, children’s education, and youth skills training—to improve the lives of the poor in the Bharuch District of Gujarat. One of SEWA’s centers, the Vivekananda Gramin Tekniki Kendra (VGTK), offers residential training in various vocations for young people.

The training center has been in existence since 1987, and so far, over 2,300 students have been given one-year residential training placement assistance. In the 2015–16 school year, 218 students were enrolled at VGTK, 15 of whom were supported by IDS. These students were preparing to become electricians, carpenters, welders, computer operators, machinists, and printers. The cost per student per year is $775.

Each student’s curriculum includes hands-on, year-round training, and each program consists of two months spent on the job site. In addition to vocational training, students receive lessons in various life skills such as time management, health and hygiene, self-confidence, and teamwork.

The current batch of students will be ready for job placement by summer 2017. In the past, the placement rate for graduates of the VGTK program has been more than 90%.

One recent graduate was V. P. Thakor, who wanted to learn some trade skills but unfortunately was diagnosed with a heart condition and required treatment at a city hospital. However, due to his keen interest, he completed his training as an electrician. Today he is gainfully employed, earning more than Rs. 6,000 a month.

–2015 IDS Annual Report