The Future Rights to Skill Network (FRSN) comprising Accenture, Cisco, J.P. Morgan and Quest Alliance extended their partnership with the Directorate General of Training (DGT) under the aegis of the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), New Delhi for another three years (up to 2024) on April 26th, 2021.
Under the partnership, 120 hours and 60 hours of employability skills curriculum, in a blended learning model, will be developed for Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) and under various skilling initiatives under MSDE.
Additionally, a three-year MoU was signed with the Department of Technical Training and Employment, Delhi to impart 21st century skills to 9000+ young women in 19 ITIs across Delhi.
Quest Alliance along with the Future Right Skills Network (FRSN) and Just Jobs Network undertook a study entitled ‘Pathways to Work: Mapping Education, Skills and Employability to the Labor Market Demand’. The study aimed to address the misalignment between the training provided in skills training institutes and the skills needed by industry.
The study focused on three districts: Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Narmada. Through semi-structured interviews with government officials, experts, industry representatives and focus group discussions with young people, the study found that a lack of linkages between industry and training institutions was one of the main reasons for the industry-skill gap in Gujarat. Additionally, it found that the employers wanted candidates to have a basic education, adaptability, soft skills, language and communication skills, digital literacy, and technical know-how for the workplace. The report recommended a systems-change approach across the skills training ecosystem in order to address the labor-market mismatch in Gujarat.
In an attempt to address the gender digital divide during the pandemic, Quest Alliance in collaboration with J.P. Morgan, Accenture and Wells Fargo set up Mobile Phone Libraries in Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) - including National Skills Training Institutes (NSTIs). Smartphones enabled with high speed internet were issued to women students who did not have access to digital devices, to help them continue their learning. Mobile phones were issued for a period of one Month in ITIs, and until completion of training in VTI centers.
The Mobile Phone Libraries enabled access to mentorship and provided critical information on where to start and how to make the best use of the phone. Women students also had access to 21st century skills curriculum which was offered to them via virtual sessions, the Quest App, and other online learning resources.
Over the course of a year, Mobile Phone Libraries were set up across 24 Government Women ITIs and NSTIs in Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. 530 students benefited from this initiative. Additionally, Mobile Phone Libraries were set up in 14 Vocational Training Centers in Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamilnadu.
This is the second year that these libraries have been operational - the pilot was first implemented during the 2020 when the pandemic hit. Since then, these libraries have played a key role in facilitating learning amongst women.
In an attempt to engage diverse stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on youth-focused areas, Quest Alliance has formed knowledge partnerships with 30 organizations in Karnataka, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Gujarat, Telangana, Bihar, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and West Bengal. A knowledge partnership allows organizations working towards common goals to collaborate and support each other beyond the sub-grant or funding model.
Quest Alliance supports its knowledge partners by offering capacity-building programs in content delivery, learner management, facilitation and leadership. Additionally, it offers support for organization development by building a placement strategy and facilitating placements through industry-connect initiatives.
Young people - beneficiaries of these organizations - also have access to the Quest App to support their learning journeys. Above all, this model offers a great opportunity for organizations to network and share challenges and best practices with each other.
"Students of ITIs in Assam face unique challenges at the workplace. The Employability Skills (ES) curriculum introduced in ITIs in Assam has helped students acquire key 21st century skills and obtain employment that is both meaningful and enriching. We appreciate the support provided by CISCO and Quest Alliance in transforming our classrooms and giving wings to the dreams of our students."
Kasturi Bharali, ACS, Director, Directorate of Employment and Craftsmen Training, Govt. of Assam