MGNF Fellow Archana nominated as nodal officer for the Yadgir Kaushalya Kendra – a skill hub under the NITI Aayog Aspirational Districts Programme The project, with a budget of Rs 72 lakhs, aims towards enhancing employability, productivity and competitiveness through skill development

Archana, a Fellow of the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme from Yadgir, has been nominated by the Deputy Commissioner as a nodal officer for the Yadgir Kaushalya Kendra, which is going to be set up in the district with a budget of Rs 72 lakhs. She will oversee implementation of the overall project in the district. The project is under the NITI Aayog Aspirational Districts Programme.

Yadgir Kaushalya Kendra is a first-of-its-kind skill hub which has been approved by the NITI Aayog Aspirational Districts Programme. This project was completely designed by Archana under the guidance of the Deputy Commissioner and the District Skill Development Officer. The Yadgir Kaushalya Kendra would be inaugurated on Gandhi Jayanti in 2022. 

Archana has previously worked as a Learning and Development specialist. She joined the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship due to her inclination toward the social development sector and to gain learning experience at IIMB. She was placed in Yadgiri, an aspirational district in Karnataka under the programme. 

She started her work in the district by interacting with various stakeholders in education, skilling, employment, handlooms, social welfare, industries, agriculture and allied sectors, and other areas. Under the Deputy Commissioner’s guidance and mentorship, she mapped out the district’s strengths, demand and available supply. She charted the potential domains and researched the traditional crafts like handlooms, Lambani Kasuti embroidery, pottery, and leather works, which the District Government could revive. 

During her time in the district, she found that technicians, who came from neighbouring districts, repaired and serviced electronic appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners. Though Yadgir is a predominantly agricultural society and most fields had borewells, the water pump repair technicians had to be outsourced from other sections of the state. The district has 25 ITI and Polytechnic colleges, and around 250 students graduate yearly. She learned that most of these students migrate to other cities in search of employment or fall back to agricultural work. These students would obtain gainful employment only if they took training in a short-term trade role as field technician and electrical winder under the state/national skilling programmes. Regrettably, no training centre provided training for these trade roles. 

When she raised this issue at the District Skill Committee (DSC) meeting, she was guided by the Chairperson and the members to propose a project under the NITI Aayog Aspirational Districts Programme for establishing a skill hub which would go by the name Yadgir Kaushalya Kendra. That hub would be the primary point for counselling unemployed youth and students on various training programmes, employment opportunities and future career pathways. Moreover, it would conduct regular job drives and maintain a database of potential employers and employees. The hub would also conduct training for various trade roles. These would be selected yearly at the District Skill Committee’s discretion, considering the district’s demand. NITI Aayog sanctioned the project with a funding of Rs 72 lakhs. 

In the first six months of its functioning, the skill hub would train 300 beneficiaries under the trade roles: field technician RACW, baking technician and electrical winder. The authorities at the skill hub would also ensure that these beneficiaries gained employment or became self-employed after the completion of the training. Additionally, 360 beneficiaries can attend classes at the hub to prepare for different competitive exams on a one-time basis. After six months, the skill hub would apply for accreditation under the PMKVY or CMKKY as a training partner to ensure the project’s sustainability. Henceforth, the DSC would map the district’s demand and supply gap and recommend training in the trade roles that the district’s youth need. 

Archana’s family believes in empowerment through education. Her mother, a teacher by profession, is Archana’s role model and inspiration.

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