“My mother gave me confidence that I could do something in life. Right now, after sending Rs 4,000 home and paying off my monthly expenses of Rs 5,000, I manage to save Rs 2000 every month,” shares an ecstatic Shukoor.
But this was not always so. Mohammad Abdul Shukoor’s father passed away in 2012 and he, his mother and sister were dependent on his uncles for financial support. This lasted for a year and despite his degrees in Commerce and Computers, Shukoor lacked appropriate skills for the job market.
He took on jobs with low salaries and kept switching to earn a little extra to support the family. He worked as a salesman earning Rs 5,000 a month for a year, and then worked as a data collector at a Veterinary hospital for six months.
His search for a better paying job brought him from Nizamabad to Hyderabad, where he heard about AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) Program, which trained disadvantaged youth in skills needed for successful employment.
The MAST program begins with a labor market scan in each region, working closely with employers to develop the market-aligned training curricula that forms the heart of the program’s skills training.
The three-month training combines foundational, workforce readiness skills with industry-specific skills, ranging from retail, basic IT, healthcare to hospitality, creating multi-sector job opportunities for marginalized young people. Upon completion of the training, qualified candidates are placed into entry-level jobs, thus creating a path to financial independence. MAST curricula aligns with the framework of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC).
After completing his three-month vocational training in retail, Shukoor was placed through the MAST program at a Lifestyle store, Inorbit Mall. Mr. Ratan Roy, the store HR Business Partner, says “In the beginning he found it difficult, but he is hardworking and willing to learn new things. We hope that Shukoor will have a long career with us.”
Through the MAST program, AIF has contributed to furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This includes promoting increased participation of women in the workforce (SDG 5), creating inclusive and sustainable livelihoods (SDG 8), and reducing inequalities (SDG 10).
The MAST program empowers underprivileged youth with skills training and access to formal employment opportunities. Additionally, job creation and promoting an entrepreneurship culture is crucial to achieving economic growth in India, which further accelerates progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.