Over the last few years, corporate social responsibility (CSR)-related initiatives have witnessed an upward curve largely because of the Government coming up with CSR norms to be observed by companies of a certain size, worth, and profitability.
Skill development has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of this CSR-mandated expenditure with more companies earmarking portions of their CSR budgets for this segment. In the process, countless thousands of Indian youths, including young women and the socially and economically marginalised, have been able to leverage the skills training they received to find jobs of their choice or become gainfully self-employed.
(Orane itself is providing beauty and wellness training in Haryana as part of a CSR project of Aravali Power Company Private Ltd (APCPL) – a JV of India’s largest power utility, NTPC Limited, with the Delhi and Haryana governments).
However, given the enormousness of the skills challenge that India faces and its consequent ramifications for a country with a large young population, it is important that financial resources don’t emerge as a constraint to making skills training accessible to those who need it most, including those living in difficult terrains.
I would thus like to use this platform to appeal to CXOs and all those who take CSR-related decisions at companies that they significantly step up their organizational CSR spends on skills training. I am sure that if progressive companies allocate the single biggest amount of their CSR budgets to skill development, the resources so raised would enable countless million young men and women to become skilled.
In this context, I would like to make a few suggestions to ensure that CSR investments on skills may have the greatest impact.
- Companies should use their skills-related CSR budget to provide training in sectors that offer the highest possibilities for jobs or self-employment both within the local community and elsewhere
- Companies should work with reputed vocational training providers such as those which are Approved Partners of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, State Skill Development Missions, etc., as that would ensure quality and consistency of training delivery
- Companies should have a positive bias towards such skills that would benefit a larger number of women
(The author is Co-Founder & CEO of Orane International).