Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of the ways to actively contribute in transforming India through job-ready workforce for domestic and international industry. Corporate organizations have a crucial role to play in accomplishing the national agenda for skilling India.
Following 5 models might support skill development through CSR initiatives: The details are given below:
- a) Set up own foundation or fund training organizations and NGOs that are imparting skills and employment options for differently abled, underprivileged, socially and economically challenged sections of society:
For example, corporate houses that have set up their own foundations include name such as, Axis Bank Foundation, ICICI Bank Foundation among others.
The other option is to fund training partners and NGOs; in the area of manufacturing and agriculture there are several companies, especially those in the fertilizer and other agricultural product space that are doing lot of skill development including working with grassroots level agricultural organizations.
- b) Modernise the ITIs and vocational training institutes with latest tools and technology, software and support services such as training of trainers. Corporates can adopt the existing institutes and help them through knowledge transfer, finances or infrastructure.
They can also set up new institutions that provide state-of-the-art facilities for imparting training and hands-on learning. To cite an example, Mercedes Benz sets up an ‘Advanced Auto Body Repair Training Center’ in association with Don Bosco ITI in Pune or the work done by Tata Motors in the Northeastern part of India.
In the Automotive sector Maruti, Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors have also adopted a number of ITIs. Software companies like Adobe, Microsoft and IBM offer training software at subsidized prices to both training institutes as well as educational establishments. This support could also be extended to engineering colleges as well.
- c) Enable livelihoods in rural areas by creating opportunities to work without migration. This is where corporates can provide market access for products and services, facilitate micro finance in order to supplement training and skill development. For example, HSBC and Mann Deshi Foundation support micro finance and have built in training and skill development in their lending programmes.
E-Commerce ventures such as Snapdeal and Flipkart provide access to producers as well as artisans for selling their products online. Since the HRD Ministry is expanding the provision of vocational training in government schools across the country, some of the education projects being supported by corporates under their CSR programmes could be expanded to include the vocational education component as well.
- d) Contribute towards scaling up skill development initiatives by funding activities across the skill development value chain, capacity building and managerial support. Corporates can also sponsor professional counseling for building awareness and mobilizing people for enrolling in skilling courses with the right mindset.
Given that there is a huge impact on NGOs as a number of corporates are setting up their own Foundations, or hiring CSR professionals so the existing NGOs are facing a challenge of scaling up and meeting requirements of qualified human resources etc. Corporates could provide specific funding for capacity development.
There are many examples of firms encouraging their employees to provide volunteering services and support to projects run by NGOs to help them scale up and or to be able to manage the projects effectively.
- e) Encourage startups, self-help groups and micro enterprises through seed funding, mentoring and incubation support. Besides sharing knowledge and best practices, corporates can sponsor projects that have demonstrated high impact through innovative models and technology-enabled initiatives in skill development and vocational education.
They can also support entrepreneurs who are working on initiatives to support work-integrated training through entry level skilling and upskilling. Specific skills intervention for self-help groups could increase their efficiency and outcomes. Innovative ideas that could help scale at the village level could be supported through the incubation phase and also mentor support be provided.
A number of large MNCs are also including India in their global projects or partnering organisations in India in the space of skill development. Some Examples of such CSR projects in skill development are:
- Accenture has a global ‘Skills to Succeed’ program customised for India.
- Boeing has skilling programs in high-end engineering space.
- Cognizant has tied up with NSDC Udaan besides empowering women and PwDs through other projects.
- Uber and NSDC tie up for training drivers and focussing on skills in the logistics sector.