INDIA: Don Bosco Tech Network Brings Hope and Advanced Employment Training to Poor Youth
(MissionNewswire) Building the skills of India’s rapidly rising workforce is the key to reducing poverty, according to the World Bank. The country is home to 25 percent of the world’s poor. Close to 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate, and India has the largest number of child laborers in the world. However, progress has been significant. The number of out-of-school children has been reduced from 25 million to 8 million in the past 8 eight years, but there is still much to be done.
The Salesian-run Don Bosco Tech, a network of 275 training centers across India, has been making a difference for poor and marginalized youth in the country for the past 100 years. As the need continues to grow, the Salesians have set a goal to increase their infrastructure to 500 training centers while aspiring to train almost 2 million youth by 2022.
“Don Bosco Tech is engaged in training poor youth to ready them for the competitive world,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Skill training programs attempt to bridge the widening digital, financial and social divide between those who have access to opportunities and those who are increasingly being marginalized, without access to jobs in the new economy.”
Since 2006, Don Bosco Tech has trained more than 170,000 youth between the ages of 18 and 35. The training centers are spread across poor areas of the country and reach out to the rural, tribal and marginalized population through 156 centers, 80 non-formal skills training programs, 30 formal technical institutes and nine engineering colleges.
Currently, the Don Bosco Tech Network operates out of Delhi with 30 staff at the national office and more than 400 staff across India engaged in training youth at the local level. In the last three years, the organization has focused on improving the quality of training by the standardization of training programs, upgrading centers with additional equipment and tools, developing new modular curricula, training staff, creating visibility through electronic media and creating partnerships between industries, the government and others. Today, Don Bosco Tech is one of the preferential partners for skill development in the country.
Each vocational institute has a large campus and a state of the art training infrastructure consisting of buildings, furniture, training equipment, tool rooms, computer labs, auditoria, AV equipment and language labs.
Youth have many options in the type of training and coursework they choose. Training to prepare youth for the job market is an integral part of each course. Formal vocational training follows a structured curriculum and leads to certificates, diplomas or degrees, recognized by governments and other autonomous bodies.
For those already in a career, Don Bosco Tech offers ongoing professional development courses to keep professionals abreast of the constantly changing market and technologies. Don Bosco Tech also focuses on budding entrepreneurs and those looking to become self-employed. Comprehensive training programs are organized to upgrade the skills of prospective entrepreneurs and further develop the skills of new workers and technicians.
“Don Bosco Tech offers something for everyone,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Because of our presence throughout India, we are aware of the local economies and what skills and employment training is needed. We work with youth individually to capitalize on their skills and interests and train them for employment that offers a living wage, giving them hope for a brighter future.”
World Bank – India