The community college initiative in India has undergone a transformation in the last few years, and is gaining prominence as more institutes spring up all over the country.
Conceptually, a community college is an alternative institute to empower the disadvantaged through development of skills that heighten employbility. Students are taught specialised courses, and at the same time, are helped in developing personality traits that are considered essential for any profession, such as punctuality, perseverance, responsibility, accountability etc.
“In today’s world, even a graduate degree does not ensure employment. We try to bridge the gap between the needs of the industry and the skill set available by providing employable skills to young people through interactive sessions,” says Namita Jain, principal and president, enRich Community College, Delhi.
When enRich had started, it had conducted a pilot programme training 200 young villagers (who were recommended by various NGOs) to work in the new-format retail industry. Several were placed at entry-level positions in places such as Sabka Bazaar, Spencer’s, Reliance Fresh etc. Suibsequently, a few even got promoted at their workplace.
“Before taking this course, I would hesitate to speak to other people. But the enRich retail course trained me and helped develop my personality, after which I was able to work in Sabka Bazaar as a customer service executive. It would not have been possible had it not been for their training,” says Kusum, who took a certificate course at enRich and is now in her final year of college.
“The most important thing I learnt during my training was how to behave with people in a professional way,” says Sunil Mandal, who works at the head office of the renowned pharmaceutical company, 98.4. His colleague, Anuj Sarin agrees and adds, “We learnt how to communicate with others, to make friends and socialise.” Both of them started working as junior executive trainees and are now operations executives.