Bilaspur: 27-year old Shyam Ratan, a youth of Amerikampa village near Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh is a proud owner of a service and repair garage for two- wheeler vehicles and a resource trainer for automobile repair today, thanks to iLead programme of Aide et Action International. His training has facilitated a chain reaction of training youth in automobile repair at neighboring villages around Bilaspur.
Shyam was leading a life of despair in dire financial straits. Belonging to the Below Poverty Line category, his father, a farmer, was the only earning member in a family of five members. Little did Shyam know what the future had something in store for him.
Inspired by his friend’s journey, Shyam decided to enroll in iLead programme (Initiative for Livelihood Education and Development) offered by Aide et Action, an international organization working in the area of livelihood education. Shyam Ratan is now an entrepreneur, owner of Shyam’s iGarage. He has taken the baton forward from iLEAD program of Aide et Action to empower rural youth through automobile training. He has so far trained 48 youth. He also supervises the management of other such iGarages which have been established at Bilaspur.
“Shyam’s journey is truly transformational and inspiring. iLEAD is our flagship initiative that focuses on the livelihood generation for youth from the underprivileged section of society. It is a holistic programme imparting not only skill development training but also soft skills, counselling, which has instilled an immense confidence among the trainees. We are overwhelmed by enthusiastic response of youth towards the programme,” said Dr Aishwarya Mahajan, Director, Livelihood Education, South Asia, Aide et Action International.
Based upon his aptitude, Shyam was enrolled in Automobile trade training programme. He attended the classes regularly under the proper guidance of instructor and was selected for job at M/s Shriya Bajaj, Sargoan, Bilaspur. However, since there was no two- wheeler repair shop in his own village, and villagers had to travel long distances to get their vehicles repaired, Shyam embarked on his entrepreneurial venture of an automobile garage.
“Initially I was little skeptical as I was not sure whether I would be able to manage the enterprise on my own and but after having a detailed discussion with iLEAD team, I got convinced and started working on my business proposal with the knowledge that I gained during Enterprise Development Model of iLEAD. Finally, the day had arrived when I had to present my proposal to the senior officials from Aide et Action and luck favored me as I got selected to start my own enterprise with. The day my shop got ready with all the branding and equipment in place, I couldn’t sleep that night, it was like winning a lottery,” he said.
“I am greatly indebted to Aide et Action team for mentoring me and helping me realize my potential. The instructors of the programme were very approachable and soft skill training was extremely helpful,” he added.
Opening a garage in his hometown enables Shyam to provide services to the people of his community besides taking care of his aged parents. He has also employed four youth in his venture.
Initiative for Livelihood Education and Development (iLEAD) is a flagship program of Aide et Action that focuses on promoting livelihood education among the youth from under-privileged families and those with low educational qualifications through short term training. The training curriculum is designed in consultation with the local enterprises. This not only ensures a match between the market or industry expectations and the skills of the trainee but also helps in getting them entry level jobs easily. The programme offers a total of 42 vocational courses such as beauty therapy, electrical retail and much more. The trainees are provided regular interface with industries, local business, potential employers and offered assistance with pre and post placement support. Currently there are 46 centers across India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Philippines. The programme has a placement rate of 74%.
iLEAD has so far trained 2,42,000 youths across the globe of which 46% include women and 76% are working in organized sector. In Bilaspur alone, the programme has placed 3072 youth so far, with a placement rate of 78 percent. Unique innovations such as Entrepreneurship and Employability Potential Assessment (EEPA), Gossip Circle for Empowerment (GCE) and the Enterprise Development Model are taking the programme to new heights.