Gram Tarang is a vocational training institution in eastern India, part of Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM) in Bhubaneswar, which trains ten thousand new recruits every year for a wide variety of firms. Many of these trainees come from traditional remote ‘tribal’ communities and have had virtually no exposure to what might be called ‘the modern world’. In August 2014, four Worktree staff trained 30 Gram Tarang trainers through demonstration and co-delivery of 12 workshops to a total of 200 vocational trainees in Bhubaneswar, Paralakhemundi and Bangalore.
Click here for video showing what facilitator said about the training.
Week 1 was spent on the Jatni campus in Bhubaneswar. Here the Worktree team demonstrated the Engage Me workshop on the first day and co-delivery with 16 trainers from different faculties (Auto Servicing, Electrical Engineering, Hospitality, Manufacturing and Sewing Machine Operation) to 120 of their trainees, 30 on each of the four following days.
Week 2 was spent on the Paralakhemundi campus of CUTM where the Employ Me workshop was demonstrated and a further 16 trainers were supported in delivering both Employ Me workshops. The Worktree team developed a trainer observation and assessment system which was then adopted by Gram Tarang for the purpose of certifying the quality of facilitator techniques. All trainers received feedback from the Worktree team using the CLIMB assessment forms (p125).
Week 3 started in Bangalore. First, Worktree demonstrated the Enterprise Me workshop with 24 trainees from different vocational areas. Then a trainer who had been trained in Jatni was observed delivering the Engage Me workshop to trainee Sewing Machine Operators in Xhahi Company. 36 trainees benefited from this experience and the lead trainer took a further step towards certification by undertaking the first part of the appraisal system.
Fundamental to the delivery of the Employability Now workshops is the core delivery of WorkOut sessions. For most of the trainees, and many of the trainers, this was the first time they had been given the opportunity to talk openly with an adult outside their family, village or training facility. The benefits of increased confidence, self-belief and ability to ask meaningful questions in preparation for potential work are difficult to measure. The observable effect, however, including more positive body language, eye contact and willingness to take part in the activity, was significant.
Further benefits to trainers were observed as they adopted a more interactive approach to training and clearly understood the role that employability skills has to play in their training, no matter what their own specialism was. Additionally, benefits were derived from participating in the observation system (using the CLIMB form), which introduced the idea of positive feedback into a culture of training more accustomed to negative feedback. This was seen as a key benefit by both trainers and trainees.
In one form of participant evaluation, involving individuals openly putting ticks against goal statements agreed earlier by 32 Jatni Campus staff participating in an Enterprise Me workshop, 97% agreed or strongly agreed ‘The training was fun’ and 88% agreed or strongly agreed ‘The training was interactive’.
During the three weeks of sessions, 171 learners completed written post-session evaluations using the Learner Evaluation form (p24), with the following results: 88% strongly agreed they had ‘enjoyed the training sessions’; 77% strongly agreed they ‘learned a lot’; 74% strongly agreed ‘the sessions helped me develop my employability skills’. None of the 171 respondents disagreed (or strongly disagreed) with these statements. One trainee wrote: “This has been the happiest day of my life.”
Sanjogita Mishra, Gram Tarang’s Director of Learning & Development, said: “Previously our trainers were lacking on the soft skills part, now we have started giving much more value to the generic employability skills. Some of our trainers have taken this training opportunity as a big step in their career and this has motivated them to move forward. I think it is a lifetime change that has happened for them.”
On a second Worktree visit in January 2015, 12 of Gram Tarang’s employability trainers were certified by Worktree as ‘Employability Now Trainers’ after 16 were observed by Worktree assessors; two as Master Trainers. During the visit, 27 Faculty members were also coached in converting their technical sessions from classroom based teaching to Activity Based Learning (ABL). This was seen as an essential part of their development as employability trainers. Since the visit, Employability Now workshops have become part of the regular training schedule of all Gram Tarang students.