Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan boasts of many renowned private education institutions where students from other parts of the state come to study, however the youth of local villages in the area do not have access to good quality schools. Hence, they either go for government jobs or skill development training after finishing school.
As a result of this, one can see numerous coaching institutes in the district that promise to prepare students for any kind of government exam from bank clerks to civil services. Skill development centres in the district are the other options that the students fall back upon.
Ambuja Cement Foundation runs such skill and entrepreneurship development institutes (SEDI) centres in Chirawa in Jhunjhunu district and nearby Nagaur district to train youth in the area. The centres offer training in 10 sectors for unemployed youth and has since 2010, trained 7704 youths in different vocations.
According to officials at the SEDI centers, 6010 graduates have been placed so far. The centres cover sectors like Hospitality, Driving, Security, Retail, Automobile, Electrical, Construction, Carpentry, Fitting and Welding, Beauty Culture, Computer Training.
DNA visited two of these centres in Chirawa and Nagaur. The centre in Chirawa is run in a double-storey building with students getting training in electrical in one room, hospitality, beauty, retail in others. Dressed in crisp white shirts and black trousers, students doing the hospitality course learnt how to deal with customers who come to the hotel reception, how to manage bookings online, do budgets and other things that would help them in a job at a hotel. Since Rajasthan is a tourist state, hospitality sector has a good scope among local students.
Sushila, a student who passed out from the institute now works at a hotel in Pilani and is earning a respectable salary. Her parents who were earlier sceptical of sending her out of the house are now proud of her. "We gained more respect in society after our daughter started working. It was definitely a good decision to let her take the training," said girl's father Vidyadhar who lives in a village near Chirawa.
Teachers at the SEDI centers say that success stories of girls like Sushila are inspiration for other parents to send their girls to the training centres, leaving aside their apprehensions about letting their daughters work.
Sunil Kumar, a 25-year-old man living in Chirawa district narrates his story, "I could not study in formal schools because of my poor financial condition. I did a one and half year course in automobile repair from the SEDI centre and I am earning a respectable income now."
"On-the-job training is a crucial component of all our SEDIs. The curriculum is comprehensively designed to impart technical as well as functionality skills such as computer literacy, basic English courses," a trainer at SEDI Chirawa said.
The center in Nagaur is slightly bigger and among those attaining training here are village women who want to open their own beauty salons back in their small villages where women do not have access to these things.
SEDI has partnered with the government departments like State Rural Livelihood Mission, Zila Parisad, State Minority Commission, NABARD etc; with corporates like Schindler Electrical Foundation, Taj Group of Hotels, ATDC, Godrej for curriculum development.