Unemployment is a huge issue plaguing many nations of the world today. The pandemic only served to exacerbate the situation as businesses were forced to close and adapt to changing conditions. The overnight shift in the set of skills to negotiate a transitioning economy forced many employees to lose out in the race to secure gainful employment. ITC CSR programmes like Skilling & Vocational Training Programme is operational in 17 Indian states, including Bihar, Kerala, etc
During such a crisis, initiatives by corporates through their respective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes became the saving grace for many individuals. ITC Limited was one such company that utilized its CSR programmes to help out the millions left affected by the global pandemic. The company already has a solid infrastructure dealing with community development programmes in addition to partnerships with governmental and global organizations.
ITC’s Skilling & Vocational Training Programme reaches out to India’s workforce pool, which is in the millions, to provide them with opportunities to access skills that will improve their chances of all-round employability. A majority of these groups come from economically disadvantaged and poor households who have no means to skill themselves to match the expectations of the various industries.
By teaching the youth market-relevant skills, ITC’s programme enhances their chances of gaining employment in today’s fiercely competitive environment. In the recently concluded FY21, 12,470 individuals were enrolled under different courses. The programme has already benefitted 93,980 individuals and the number is expected to increase in the coming days.
ITC’s Skilling & Vocational Training Programme is operational in 32 districts of 17 Indian states, including West Bengal, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Kerala. The programme not only imparts training and upskilling courses but also helps graduates find employment through tie-ups with other companies and placement assistance.
As of FY21, Rs.9.9 crores was the total expenditure on the programme out of a total prescribed CSR fund of Rs.352.84 crores. Although the pandemic brought about new challenges, ITC surmounted them and helped train over 1,200 healthcare assistants to tackle the widespread pandemic. This contribution was particularly a stand out given the harrowing circumstances the healthcare infrastructure had to face.
ITC has tie-ups and partners with several other organizations to further the outreach of its skilling programme. The Gautam Gambhir Foundation, Ramakrishna Mission, Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi, Water for People India Trust and World Wide Fund for Nature India are some of its partners in this mission.
The proverb about teaching a person to fish and feeding him for a lifetime certainly applies to ITC’s programme. The skills taught to the enrolled youth go a long way in making them financially independent and dependable members of our society. Although it may seem like a thankless job at times, the smile on each and every one of these individuals is worth its weight in gold.