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Skills and Knowledge for Improved Livelihood and Living Standards

A brief Background

Major changes in the Indian economy and the accelerated rate of industrial growth; imply a great demand for skilled labour, in new and emerging sectors of Technology . Training is therefore a prerequisite for exploiting the potential of a growing economy and individuals become employable through training and skill development, it also enhances their career choices. Large numbers of educated young men and women especially from less privileged backgrounds are unable to use their abilities to improve their lives and contribute to national growth, for want of market-oriented skills. This demands supplementing mainstream Technical training with innovative, short term, market - oriented programmes. The informal system has this flexibility, to offer innovative capacity building programmes, to address the skill development needs of this vast segment of educated unemployed youth, thereby empowering young men and women to take advantage of the emerging employment opportunities that are technical in nature, leading to more productive livelihoods.

UNDP-GOI cooperation

As a leading UN organization for development cooperation, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plays a crucial role in responding to today's developmental challenges. The Technical skill development programmes of UNDP are based on the inputs and experiences of close interaction between the formal and informal education systems, with the productive sector and facilitate access to expertise and sharing of experiences in this field.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI), has been assigned a lead and coordinating role in the management of Technology and the formulation of S&T policies and their implementation. To facilitate smoother technology acquisition, commercialization and management of appropriate skills of the work force of the Indian industry, the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) of DST has been engaged in upgrading / developing skills of this work force in the frontier areas of technology through its various skill training programmes.

TREC-STEP, Tiruchirappalli, being an organization promoted primarily by DST, in 1986, functions as a nodal centre for implementation of DST Projects and is also actively engaged in all DST's major new initiatives. TREC-STEP is the Implementing Agency of many DST Projects such as - Skill Training in Science & Technology, UNIDO-DST Project for Cluster development of Trichy Engineering & Fabrication Industries, Design Innovation Facility along with World Bank's Business Incubator initiative etc. TREC-STEP has also been successfully providing several pioneering training programmes in emerging areas of Technology on a commercial self-sustaining mode, since 1986, training 2000 to 3000 students annually.

An initiative taken up under the GOI-UNDP development cooperation, during 2000 - 2004, has been the "Technical Human Resource Development - Vocational Training for Employment Generation" or VoTEG for short, for which TREC-STEP was the National Implementing Agency. This project culminated in development of new, technology based skill training curricula for unconventional trades (Trades for which regular curriculum / training is not available in the main stream institutions, but these skills have the potential to generate sustainable employment), such as the curriculum for Modern Appliances Maintenance (MAM). This comprehensive, competency based curriculum covers all major domestic appliances and was developed with close interaction with the White goods industry. Critical inputs were provided by Original equipment manufacturers of White goods, during the three year rigorous iterative process. The curriculum was pilot tested with 800 trainees, disseminated through Trainers training in 200 institutions and further refined before being adapted as a model employment generation system.

With the excellent results of the VoTEG project, UNDP and DST, Government of India have come together once again to promote the - Skills and Knowledge for Improved Livelihoods and Living Standards (SKILLS) Project, to leverage the VoTEG outputs and benefit more numbers of deserving youth, by adopting a suitable Public - Private - Partnership mode of franchising the skill training in Modern Appliances Maintenance to like minded aspiring entrepreneurs .

The SKILLS Projects

The SKILLS programmes in Modern Appliances Maintenance, are innovative, short term highly occupationally-driven Diploma courses, that shall benefit a large number of unemployed youth by providing them with an opportunity to upgrade their skills and income generating potential by developing competent technical skills in repair and maintenance of a wide range of Modern Household appliances that are available in the market today. Also in the areas of Computer Hardware Maintenance and Mobile Phone Servicing which is gaining importance now. The curriculum focuses on developing the desired competencies, at performance standards that are set by the 'Industry' the Original Equipment Manufacturers of White/Brown goods. Market leading brands and other premier Institutions, were actively involved during the critical stages of curriculum formulation and validation, the OEMs continue to extend their support especially in areas of technological advancements and new product development keeping the Curriculum regularly updated to remain current with the ever evolving industry.

The curriculum is drawn up for essentially four specialized training program:

1 ) Diploma in Electronics Servicing and Maintenance Technology (MAM)
2 ) Diploma in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (MAM)
3 ) Diploma in Computer Hardware Technology
4 ) Certificate Programme in Mobile Phone Technology

In addition, Repair and Maintenance of Modern Household Appliances is a common module to both the MAM specializations and includes various types of washing machines, microwave ovens and other common heating element based and rotary electric appliances. Another important component of the Training curriculum that is crucial to the servicing industry is the module on development of Soft skills, providing every trainee a wholesome approach to Appliances servicing.

Trainee Profile

This comprehensive curriculum covering over twenty five modern household appliances, Computer Hardware and accessories and Mobile Phone Maintenance at service center is designed keeping in mind the target segment, comprising youth with secondary school level education, of necessary intellect, having basic skills in science and mathematics. Medium of instruction shall be in Local language and English. The duration of the Training programme is planned for 200 hours or approximately 3 months @ 3 hours / day , with one week devoted for on-site training at service centers. The Certificate programme in Mobile Phone Technology is for a duration of 6 weeks.