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Pratham Institute
What
In 2005, Pratham launched Pratham Institute, its vocational skilling arm. The objective was to train youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds (age 18‐25 years) and provide them with employable skills, coupled with access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Today Pratham Institute programs across the country enable youth to access entry-level positions and placements in 10 major vocations. Approximately 26,000 young people were reached in 2016-17 of whom 22,000 have been trained and placed either in entry level jobs or helped to start their own business.
 
Why
India will have the world's youngest population by 2020, with an average age of 29 years, and with 13 million people entering the workforce each year. However, as the ASER survey has shown, learning outcomes of students completing primary or even secondary schooling are extremely low, closing pathways to senior secondary or higher education. While vocational skills could be a short-term solution, only 2% of the workforce in India is currently formally skilled, leaving the vast majority of youth without the skills, knowhow or networks to enter the workforce. This leads to large scale unemployment or under-employment, even as industries are unable to fill their job vacancies.
 
How
Pratham conducts short-term courses of 2-3 months duration, often residential in nature, focusing on young men and women from rural areas and urban slums. The model is based on strong industry linkages and youth counseling, and focuses on hands-on skills training. Courses taught include construction (including electrical, plumbing, masonry and welding), hospitality (housekeeping, food and beverage service and food production), automotive mechanic, healthcare nursing and beauty & wellness services. In addition to industry specific skills, students also learn basic English, computer literacy and life skills. Pratham has a four-step mechanism which includes mobilization from source, training, placement in jobs or entrepreneurship, and post-placement support.

For youth who are interested in setting up their own enterprises near their homes and to support creation of new jobs, Pratham provides the capital asset and mentoring support to set up micro-enterprises. We have supported 1,000 such youth (primarily women) to set up successful enterprises in the fields of beauty, electrical service and construction.

A unique aspect of Pratham's vocational training model is the focus on post-placement tracking and support, coupled with financial sustainability. Youth placed in wage employment or supported to set up micro-enterprises are tracked and mentored for a one-year period to encourage and support them to continue in jobs and also access next level placement, skills upgradation and other opportunities. Students are further supported to overcome problems of migration through the Pratham Alumni (PAL) Network, which provides support in the form of accommodation and mess facilities, counseling, social networks, mediation with employers, support in accessing health services, etc. This suite of post-placement services has been instrumental in increasing the retention of students in first jobs.

Pratham has also initiated innovative models to impact the skilling ecosystem. These include an 'Employment Awareness' model, targeted at adolescent girls and young women, implemented in association with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Maharashtra Government, to tackle the low-exposure and lack of information prevalent particularly among rural youth. Migration-support hostels across Delhi, Mumbai and Pune have also been launched to support low-income migrant youth whose first jobs are in these urban areas. Further, several initiatives have been undertaken to increasing sustainability of vocational training, through end-user fees and also a 'business-linked' training model where trainees, during training, use skills to service customers in Pratham's hotel-cum-training and beauty-training-cum-salons centers.

Pratham affiliations include National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and government sector skill councils. Pratham also has knowledge partnerships with Larsen & Toubro, Tata Motors, and Godrej, among others. Pratham's vocational program has won awards from the state governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, as well as from the NSDC. The Career Guidance and Counselling Centre model set up by Gadchiroli district in partnership with Pratham received the Prime Minister's award.
   
 
Reach and Scale
 
Pratham runs 100 centres across 15 states and 1 Union Territory in India, with a placement rate of nearly 80%. More than 25,000 students will be trained in 2017-18. Over the past ten years Pratham's vocational training programs have helped nearly 100,000 youth across the country improve general employability skills, and more than 50,000 youth in industry specific trades. We have also developed partnerships with a large number of employers to offer entry-level jobs to our graduates.
 
Electrician: Jhansi Ki Rani
 
Pratham Vocational Training Programs