Keywords: India, vocational training, higher education, consultancy

Youth4Jobs College Connect

Youth4Jobs College Connect is a program that sets up smart inclusion centres in colleges and universities which connect employers, educators, government, and students for creating an inclusive community. It offers on campus and off campus training and placement support to students with disabilities. The program includes technology integration, teacher training, and accessible materials for improved teaching and learning process. Youth4Jobs conducts webinars for educators on technology and online training tools. It promotes inclusive employment through disability awareness and other disability services to companies. It has also published white papers on higher education and inclusion of persons with disabilities in sectors like banking.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationYouth4Jobs Foundation
Type of organisationFoundation
Country
of Implementation
India
Year started2018
Funding modelFundraising, self-financing

Companies pay us a hiring fee for services like sensitization workshops, technical synchronisation etc. Additionally, the funding outcome is based on the number of jobs secured for graduate youth with disabilities.

IMPACT

Impact and growth 
  • 900 candidates with disabilities trained 
  • 550 candidates linked to jobs. Companies include Accenture, Wipro, Foxconn, Capgemini, SAP, HSBC etc. 
  • Launched online skills training as a COVID-19 response. 325 graduates have been certified to date 
  • 800 educators trained on accessible training tools and career opportunities for candidates with disabilities. 
  • 2 webinars held for 1300 educators Pan-India and Dubai and 2 job fairs held
  • Currently we are present in 21 colleges and the program has grown by 200%: from 7 colleges in year 1 to, 21 colleges in year 2. We plan to scale to 100 colleges in 5 years.
Innovation 

Setting up smart inclusion centres in colleges/universities highlighting technology, accessibility and creating an ecosystem that fosters inclusive society and empowered people with disabilities. 

Target group 

The Y4J College Connect Program is designed for 3 Es : 

  1. Educational Institutions
  2. Educators of people with disabilities
  3. Employers
Other outcomes 

We have published two white papers which influence public policy:

  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities in higher education (with Deloitte) 
  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities in banking and financial industry. Both were launched by senior government officials and circulated widely to policy makers. 

THEORY OF CHANGE

We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpactIndicator
Educators1. Faculty Development Program
2. Technology Integration
1. Improved teaching and learning process
2. Improved understanding of disability
3. More candidates with disabilities are admitted to the program
1. Candidates with disabilities registered for higher education
2. Educators Trained
3. Educators Sensitized
Employers1. Sensitization Workshops
2. Role Mapping
Readiness to recruit people with disabilitiesCandidates secured jobs
Candidates1. Employability Skills Training
2. Projects
Job ReadinessCandidates Trained

REPLICATION EXPERIENCE

We have already replicated our innovation. We started small in 7 colleges in one state of India. Within 2 years, we have scaled the model to 21 colleges in 6 states of India successfully.  We are now ready for the next stage of our work which is replication. 

ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY AND STRATEGY

Capacity 

While the India team will support these activities, separate financial resources will need to be raised for replication. We have a project owner for this program, with the necessary skills and seniority:

Ramesh Duraikannan (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rduraikannan/). He leads the Youth4Jobs College Connect program with a young team of 22 executives, trainers, and sign language interpreters. The executives have varied background ranging from engineers to management graduates. 

Prior to this, he worked for Certiport (a Pearson VUE business) as a “Sales Director – Africa” for 5 years. Certiport offers international IT Certification solutions to academic and government institutions. He was responsible for the Sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan businesses. He has worked closely with public, private and government institutions across East and South Africa. Prior to this, he was with Rumi, an educational outfit improving the teaching and learning process, as Pan-India sales head. Rumi was a start-up backed by the Richard Chandler Corporation in Singapore. Between 2009 and 2011, he worked for Techno Brain Limited as a Group General Manager for the training division. Techno Brain is a custom software solutions organization and an IT training institute across East Africa. Ramesh oversaw the training division of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in East Africa. He has also worked with other IT training institutes such as NIIT and Aptech in India. 

Strategy 

We have a Centre of Inclusion which works with each program to put the processes and systems into a SOP. This is approved by our board. Existing corporate clients have also requested our services in countries like Africa, Malaysia, Mauritius. These have been done as consultancies. 

Our vision is that every youth with disability will have access to education and employment opportunities. Scale and high impact are embedded in all our programs. Having achieved scale in India – we are the largest in the space of training and placing youth with disabilities in sustained jobs – the next logical step is to move to other countries. Both the Founder, Meera Shenoy, and the Program Head, Ramesh, have worked in other countries and have some understanding of these markets. So, replication with necessary customization fits into our strategy. With the use of technology, and all services and trainings going online recently, our work is not restricted by geographic boundaries. 

Goals:

  • Partnering with 100 colleges, and 300 employers             
  • Training 2000 youth with disabilities            
  • Linking 1500 educated youth with disabilities to jobs 
  • Sensitizing 500,000 youth with disabilities, 3000 educators and 3000 employees for inclusion in higher education and employment 

MOTIVATION

The College Connect Program has evolved into a systems changer in employability, employment, and inclusion of educated youth with disabilities in India. The program connects all key stakeholders that include candidates, parents, educators, administrators, employers, and government. In addition, it creates an ecosystem that helps them compete with others on equal grounds and succeed, thus resulting in economic independence.   

The pillars of the program are as follows: 

  • Employers Partnership: Employment is the key outcome of the program. We cater to almost all sectors that include IT, ITES, BFSI, Manufacturing, Retail, Logistics, Hospitality, and others. We work with them at 4 levels: 1) On-Campus, 2). Off-Campus, 3) Lateral Entry and 4) the Source, Train, Hire, and Deploy model. It helps us to extend the job opportunities to candidates who are freshers, who are just out of the college, and those who are looking for a career change.  Youth4Jobs Foundation has a network of 500 plus employers across India.  
  • Learning Solutions Partnership: We understand the market needs and expectations. Some of the corporates are kind enough to work with us through their CSR arm in training our candidates on domain skills. These corporates are the best in their respective fields and their support has improved the employment quotient of our candidates.  
  • Educational Institution Partnership: We have tied up with special colleges and universities to offer on-campus employment linked training program for their candidates with disabilities. It helps us to build an ecosystem that fosters inclusion in higher education, employment, and community. Our smart inclusion centres in the colleges are a big welcome from all stakeholders of the program.  
  • Technology Integration: We support technology integration for improved teaching and learning processes. We train teachers on online teaching methods. These integration methods have proved very useful during COVID-19 to reach and access virtually and train and learn from home.

The program is well designed, with field learnings being incorporated, to build a robust template for scale. 

What is the organisation hoping to learn from taking part in the programme? 

Addressing the following challenges:

  • Educators and employers lack necessary skills to work with people with disabilities.  
  • Candidates with disabilities lack employability and connect with employers.  
  • Lack of an eco-system that ensures smooth transfer of graduate candidates with disabilities from the campus to corporate through training and placement interventions.