The World Bank Systematic Country Diagnostic for India in 2018 shows that 30.8% of India’s population aged between 15-29 are NEETs (Not in education, employment or training). The Census of India (2011) findings shows that adolescents from the poorer strata of society are not in the labor force due to lack of resources, skills, familial constraints and their poor economic conditions. High school education in India does not equip students with skills to get jobs or earn a livelihood in the formal workforce. In a study carried out by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2017, where 150,000 youth appeared for an Employability Skills Test across domains, only 41% were found employable. According to the research, titled ‘State of Working India 2018’, despite clocking in 7 percent growth in GDP, India is struggling to create jobs with just one percent employment growth. The primary reason is a mismatch between skills and formal sector job requirements.
A non-conducive educational environment and lack of positive role models for young people living in slum environments limit the career aspirations of youth and their ability to improve their livelihood opportunities. The school education system in India is focused on exam results rather than on skill development, preparedness for higher education and jobs.
Training on career planning and guidance for secondary school and higher education are not imparted in schools because most of the government schools are understaffed, have little to no teaching resources, lack infrastructure to deliver 21st-century life skills and finally, teachers themselves are not trained or equipped to impart this knowledge. The existing vocational courses for youth rarely focus on developing multi-skill capabilities, problem-solving skills, and life skills. This coupled with lack of resources, gender inequality and poverty, has resulted in young people not seeing the value of education with over 60% of students in India dropping out before high school graduation. Girls living in the slum communities, where Bright Future works, have limited access to vocational training skills and those offered to girls are often gender-typecast work like beauty parlor training and sewing which lead only to low paid jobs. In addition, a large number of youth in Mumbai slums are migrants from other states who lack documents of identity and proof of city residence which further curtails their ability to find work.
Bright Future was co-founded by Kishor Palve in 2009 with the aim of providing employment related support to youth from marginalized communities. Bright Future developed its program to transform youth potential into gainful employment and with EMpower’s support, Bright Future has actively reached out to a higher number of young women who would otherwise be at risk of early marriage. Ove the last two years, Bright Future’s team has been actively engaging with parents in the community to change mindsets related to women at work and uses ‘Drama for Development’ to achieve this. Bright Future also aims to be more youth-led and is in the process of setting up a youth advisory council to engage their alumni and other youth in the community. Additionally, some of their program participants have been hired as full-time staff and an increasing number of new staff are from the communities that Bright Future works in – this helps them understand the community challenges first hand and accordingly customize program offering.
EMpower’s 4th grant to Bright Future will enable 140 girls and 60 boys to get employability skills training and placement support. Bright Future works in resource-poor communities and youth enrolled in this program are first-time job seekers in the formal labor market with limited access to education and vocational support. Through career guidance, life skill development, mentorship and placement opportunities this program is enabling young women to enter the formal workforce.
Primary Location: Mumbai
Funded Since: 2016
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