Vidya Poshak's Employment Readiness Camp Report



Background: 

Vidya Poshak has supported thousands of students to attain their dream of graduation. Most if not all the students that VP supports are from a rural background or are financially challenged. They do not have skills that would make them employable. As a step in this direction, we have launched a program to help the graduating students to gain skills that would make them employable.  The program was launched with a target of 408 non-professional course students who will complete their graduation in 2014.

Activities so far:

VP planned and launched a series of 7 day residential camps to reach our final year students. Before that, we came up with a survey form that collected data from the students. This form was administered to a sample set of final year students based in Dharwad by the three senior personnel of Vidya Poshak viz Prof. Tikot, Venkatesan N and Girish Naganur. This sample of approximately 30 students gave us the idea to optimize the form.

We then grouped students studying in various streams like Arts, Commerce and Science. We also planned on camps in areas close to the larger group of students. We came up with venues and plan for conducting camps at Devara Hubballi and Siddapur. 

The first camp was kicked of on 30th July 2013 at Devara Hubballi. The last camp was also conducted at Devara Hubballi from 26th Sept to 2nd Oct 2013.

Month-wise Activities and Plan:

Our activities for the ERP were planned month-wise and the table below shows the plans in detail.
Sl.No.
Planned time / Month
Activity
Status
1
June 2013
Plans drawn for Employment Readiness Program. Lists of students drawn based on their streams and locations.
Completed.
2
July 2013
Pilot phase of counselling completed for students from Dharwad.  Counselling on this sample leads to revision of the survey form.
Venues and logistics for the camps finalised. Students sent invitation to attend the camps near their home locations.
Completed.
3
Aug 2013 - October
Conduct ERP Camps.
Completed
4
Oct – Dec
Online follow-up training using our Blog & Mobile Internet technology
Completed
5
Jan 2014 – Feb 2014
Follow-up workshop & assessment
Planned
6
Mar 2014 –  May
Finalize resumes of all students & Start to approach the companies.
Planned. TBD.
7
June  2014
Conduct a 2 day Final workshop
Planned. TBD.
8
July 2014
Schedule campus recruitments for the students who have completed their last semester exams.
Planned. TBD.

Methodology:

We planned to provide the employability skills in phased manner. The first phase was to meet with the students and understand their dream and aspirations. The next part of the same phase was to help create a path to achieve their dream. It started with an introduction to the students on skills like Resume writing, English speaking and comprehension, interview skills and aptitude skills. This training was done in 7 day residential camps. The second phase is to continue the training remotely by means of online tests and reading material. Once the students completed their graduation, we plan to get them into another residential camp and provide the finishing touches to their training in employment skills.

We planned activities in our first training camps in the following manner.
Day
Activity
One
Arrival of students from various areas to the camp.
Counselors addressed the students and explained the survey form.
Students completed the survey form providing their family details and aspirations.
Two
Individual counseling based on the various aspirations described in the survey forms.
The other students awaiting counseling learn about Resume Writing. A Resume Template is provided to students.
Three & Four
Training on Aptitude skills.
Solve question papers collated to offer various numerical aptitude skills. 
Five and Six
Training in English Comprehension.
Provide questionnaire that exposes the students to the real life questions in tests.
Seven
A test that includes Aptitude and English comprehension conducted. This test gives a quantification of the students learning during the camp and gives a heads up to the students about their study path. Students leave for their home by the end of day.

Online Tests and resources.

Soon after the camps started, we designed a set of question papers that would test the progress of the students. We have sent more than 25 tests till mid-Dec 2013 using Google forms.  We have received responses from students and these responses are gradually increasing. There are a few challenges in using the Google forms. They include connectivity and cost of internet access. We were trying to have people donate their used phones with GPRS facility so that we could send these questions using mobiles.
In the meanwhile we have created several online resources for students. Blogs that provide Aptitude tests, English language tips, information on jobs etc are being used by both VP students as well as their friends.
Link for various materials:

Results so far.

We reached all the final years students of non-professional courses; a total of 408 students. Of these, 365 were able to attend our first step camp (boot camp). Of these nearly 100 students indicated their desire to pursue further education or take up competitive exams like KAS, IAS. Some others from commerce stream aim to become Chartered Accountants or Company Secretary. The remaining students want to take up jobs either at local levels or in big cities. The details are provided in Table below.
Course Streams
Private Job
Govt. Job
Professional Education (CA, CS, IAS etc)
Post Graduation
Total
Commerce
172
25
31
15
243
Arts
37
26
4
6
73
Science
56
5
1
30
92
Total
265
56
36
51
408


Some images from the ERP Camps

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