By Our Special Correspondent
Umroi: It was an unusual gathering of 28 young men evidently transformed in their demeanour after a month-long skill training at a rural training centre at Umroi Pyllun Village on Monday. The trainers are from the education wing of the nationally reputed institution the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) India Ltd.
IL&FS Education is the social infrastructure initiative of IL&FS India. Established in 1997, their core competency is to promote the three E’s – Education, Employability, and Empowerment. IL&FS Education are experts in the fields of education, skill development, industrial cluster development, health initiatives, e-governance and financial inclusion.
Ankur K Mandal, Associate Business Manager of the Mainland China group of restaurants who had come for the recruitment drive said, the industry is fast expanding. Another 80 restaurants are coming up in the next 6 months and about 600 skilled youth would be required.
Of the 28 youth trained in the second batch of the programme, 25 have been picked up by Mainland China. The rest will await their turn.
IL&FS networks with over 600 companies. What each of the companies are looking for are skills, Ankur Bose of IL&FS said.
The youth received their certificates and other documents at the valedictory function. They shared their experiences about the training sessions and said they had gained a lot both in skills and confidence in the month long training programme.
IL&FS Education have been engaged by the Community & Rural Development Department, Government of Meghalaya to impart skills to rural youth from BPL families and make them employable. IL&FS also ensures that some of the reputed companies in the hospitality industry come to the training campus to recruit the trained youth after putting them through a formal interview process.
Mr CN Bose of IL&FS while speaking at the valedictory function on Monday said “We counsel the youth that the training provides opportunities but there is no escape from hard work. Once they youth are recruited they will have to leave their comfort zones and be exposed to urban locales.”
However since IL&FS provides them entry level job opportunities, if they prove themselves they will be able to rise to higher levels, Bose informed added.
Commissioner & Secretary C&RD Mr KN Kumar, while speaking at the function said the problem with Meghalaya’s youth who form roughly 25% of the population (7.5 lakhs) is not of unemployment but of unemployability due to lack of skills. Kumar said he has met several youth in the rural areas who have dropped out of high school and have no dreams or aspirations and were clueless about their future. “That’s when I realised we have to do something fast and aggressively,” Kumar observed.
“Meghalaya is a hill state with a fragile ecology and there is a limit to how much of natural resources can be exploited. We will have to give some of our human resource to serve the country. The skill building and the job offer thereafter is the first step in the ladder.” Kumar stated, adding that once the youth have the skills and confidence they can make their own career choices.
Mr Kumar emphasized that under the 12 Plan at least 20,000 boys can be provided the necessary skills. He added that the strength of IL&FS is that the training they provide is placement linked and that the agency will only be paid when at least 75% of the trained youth are employed.
Since the youth of Meghalaya and the North East have a natural flair for the service and hospitality industry, are highly cultured and have the basic etiquette, the first few batches are trained in this domain.
Addressing the youth, Minister C&RD Saleng Sangma said providing training to youth without ensuring that they were recruited by branded companies is worrying. He expressed happiness that IL&FS has brought in one of the leading restaurant chains – Mainland China to recruit the trained youth.
The C&RD Minister exhorted the youth to be curious about the kind of work they are offered, the salary they would receive and the other benefits they are entitled to. “My only worry is that the youth here have very little patience although hospitality is in our blood.”
The minister said another cause for worry is that most rural youth from East Khasi Hills have never seen Shillong and the youth of Garo Hills have yet to see Tura but after the training they will be in the metros of this country and that might be a huge challenge for them.
Another group of 12 youth from Mawlyngbna village near Mawsynram will join for the next training programme.