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Chaibasa Scripts an Inspiring Skill Development Story

Chaibasa district in Jharkhand is known for its natural resources, mines and water bodies. However, as of date it is better known for abject poverty and lack of job avenues since it is an impoverished and  disturbed area mainly consisting of untrained tribal population. Young students who were either rendered jobless or had  dropped out of school due to the Covid 19 pandemic had nowhere to turn to, except to drown their miseries by smoking weed and drinking alcohol. Whiling away time on the roads and on culverts both boys and girls had become abusive and had developed anti-social habits with no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Having been left to fend for themselves, the parents of these  tribal children had also given up hope on their children getting a job. It is at this point in time, (just when the pandemic had taken a heavy  toll) that ACC Cements CSR arm Disha Center, the West Singhbum District administration  and FINISH Society joined hands to script a miraculous  comeback story.

“The youngsters in the area had lost confidence and were whiling away time by drifting aimlessly without direction, so we identified such students and motivated them to become employable.  We decided to focus on the unemployment problem and since school dropout rate is very high due to lack of funds for education, we targeted such youngsters. We don’t look at such social issues not only through the CSR prism, but as human beings. ACC wanted to give back to society and ensure students get a job. As a human being and as a a company, we work on the catchphrase “Education for all, and employment for all.” This has been our major objective,” says Mr Raj Gurung, Director, ACC Jhinkpani, Chaibasa. ACC has been working tirelessly in West Singhbum, he adds.

The District Collector West Singhbum, Mr Ananya Mittal  says “since there were no avenues to train and employ misguided students. Once they are trained and get a job in a place like Bengaluru they are exposed to a global culture.”

In the meanwhile, FINISH Society was given the onerous task to convince these youngsters to partake of a three-month free skill development program being run at the Disha Centre which also guaranteed them a job in automobile ancillary units and construction companies based in Bengaluru. However, the job was easier said than done. None of the errant students were interested in the skill training since they lacked the basic social etiquettes and were victims of low self-esteem  Unkempt and wild, they had lost all interest in being productive members of society, and the motivation team had to use all the skills at their command to convince these youngsters to take a chance and reboot their lives by agreeing to be a part of the skill training program.  “We were able to convince 41 girls and 49 boys who had completed their class X and class XII schooling to participate in the three-month long training program,” says FINISH Society Project Manager Abhishek Kumar.

It may be mentioned, that FINISH Society was selected as one of the implementing partners to execute the project for the Disha Center at  Jhinkpani. As part of the project FINISH  had been mandated to train 90 unemployed youth in relevant domain and provide livelihood opportunities to at least 70% of the successfully trained candidates. The field team had to make innumerable visits to the nearby villages and convince the youngsters to give themselves a chance to get back to mainstream society. In the beginning, 5 or 6 students agreed to join the free skill training at the Disha Center and that was half the battle won. Over a period of one month, the FINISH team managed to convince 102 youngsters (12 more than the targeted numbers)  to be part of the skill development program which was largely imparting technical skills. However, the trainers had chalked out an action plan in which an interactive personality development program was made an integral part of the training. This soft skill program had a transformative effect on the youngsters and they learned to have a daily bath, wear clean clothes and became eager to train themselves and also talk in a civil manner.  This exercise turned them into positive members of the workforce and soon they learnt the skills required for the jobs on hand.

The Job Roles under which training was offered were Automotive Service Technician 2 & 3- Wheeler (Automotive sector) and  Assistant Electrician (Construction Sector). Candidates were also imparted training in Soft Skills, Entrepreneurship, Financial, and Digital Literacy.

Talking about the success of the project, FINISH Society Project Manager Abhishek Kumar put things In perspective when he says: “Disha skill training program in Chaibasa was jointly managed and monitored by ACC Cements and Finish Society. The project was started in September 2021.

The main objective of the program has been to train poor, backward and directionless youngsters and connect them with jobs. Through this program, we also focus on those people who could not complete their education due to any reason or those who are looking for employment opportunities.”

“To such people, we provide skill training & self-employment lessons by showing them the right direction & motivate them to become productive & earn a livelihood. Through this initiative, we trained 90 candidates in the last season, and gave them placements in companies based in Bengaluru. It is a feeling of great joy to learn that the placed candidates have become self-reliant and are also taking responsibility towards their family.”
Once the training was complete, there was another miracle waiting to unfold itself. When the placement officers of two Bengaluru based companies interviewed the candidates, all 102 candidates were absorbed in these two companies. That meant 12 more than the designated number of 90 students got a fresh lease of life.