Providing professional skills for underprivileged youth
Smile Foundation in association with Samsung inaugurated a Smile Twin e learning centre at Sriperumbudur near Chennai. The aim of the centre is to provide professional skills to the underprivileged youth in the target communities.
The STeP programme is primarily designed to offer job oriented skills to youth from the less privileged sections of the society living in urban slums and peripheral rural areas. Under the program, training is imparted to these youth in basic computers and retail sales management skills along with proficiency in spoken and written English.
Explaining about the essence of STeP Programme Pabitra Banerjee, General Manager, Programmes, Smile Foundation said “Currently, Smile Foundation runs 54 STeP centres in India and plans to expand this program further. By 2011 – 2012, we plan to open 100 more centres across India. Our programs are well researched and tailored to suit industry’s needs. Many industry leaders in the country have come forward to offer employment opportunities to about 1800 trained students from various centers and nearly 1500 are ready to be absorbed in various roles.”
Speaking at the inauguration of the STeP Centre, Mr. H. K Chang, stated, “We are very delighted to associate the Samsung Hope project with Smile Foundation for setting up an e –learning center here in Sriperumbudur. The e-learning center, which has been set up with the objective of empowering the youth through education and providing them with sustainable livelihood options, will facilitate an all inclusive growth.”
Samsung has come forward to support the STeP programme as a part of its Corporate Social Responibilty— HOPE Project. The e –learning center at Sriperumbudur is the second STeP center that the company has set up, The first centre in association with Samsung is currently operational at Noida in Uttar Pradesh. In the first batch of training, 38 students are being trained and would be ready for employment by June, 2010. The second batch of around 20 students will begin by April 20, 2010.
According to a recent survey conducted by Smile Foundation in this region, nearly 80% of the urban slum dwellers and rural population in the target area are daily wagers .By providing professional skills like basic computers and proficiency in English to the underprivileged youth, the prospects of employability for the youth are significantly enhanced. Regular industrial visits, workshops along with this basic training ensure that they are adequately equipped for a career in fast expanding sectors such as BPO, ITES, retail, banks and hospitality. The curriculum also includes sessions on personality development, career counseling and placement support. The training is offered to youth who complete their basic school education (standard 10 or 12) from one of the recognized school education board.