ICICI Bank Foundation for Inclusive Growth in the past four years has created a major impact in the area of skill development. Here in a conversation with CSR TIMES, the Vice President (Head Operations) ICICI Academy For Skills, Ajay Kumar delineates the vision and mission of the foundation

 

Ms Chanda Kochhar, MD &  CEO, ICICI Bank awarded certificates to students at the convocation ceremony of ICICI Academy for Skills, Indore on 24 October 2017, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Petroleum & Natural Gas; Ms Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Hon’ble Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh and Mr Saurabh Singh, President, ICICI Foundation attended the ceremony.

 

One of the first skill development centres which Dharmendra Pradhan, the newly appointed minister for Skill Development, chose to visit was the initiative run by the ICICI Foundation at Indore. The reason for the same was obvious – it’s the leading initiative in the field.

“For the next couple of decades, India is going need a large supply of young people who will be ready to join the workforce and participate in the economic development. Providing livelihood to underprivileged youth is essential to ensure their effective participation in the growth of the country. As a step in this direction, ICICI Foundation launched a nationwide skill development initiative, ICICI Academy for Skills in October 2013 to impart vocational training to the youth,” says Ajay Kumar, a former cop now helming the operations of the academy.

Since its inception, ICICI Academy has launched 21 centres across India. This includes centres at Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Coimbatore, Narsobawadi, Patna and Guwahati. ICICI Academy has also set up centres at Durg and Indore under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with the Governments of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, to provide vocational training to underprivileged youth in these states.

“Further, additional centres offering courses exclusively for women candidates in Retail Sales and Office Administration have been set up at Delhi, Kochi, Mysuru, Trichy, Vijayawada, Lucknow,  Zirakpur, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata,” says Kumar.

The Academy currently offers training to 25,000 youth per year in skills like Electrical & Home Appliance Repair, Refrigeration & AC Repair, Pumps & Motor Repair, Central Air Conditioning, Selling Skills, Office Administration, Web Designing, Retail Café Operations, Paint Application Techniques, Tractor Mechanic, Lab Assistant at Diagnostic Centres, Two & Three Wheeler Service Technician and Retail Sales.

Over 74,000 youth have been trained at these Centres till last year.

 

Knowledge Partnerships

“ICICI Academy has tied up with industry leaders as Knowledge Partners to co-create an ecosystem which provides the best-in-class skill development programmes. To ensure industry-relevant training, content development and curricula design, setting up of best-in-class training labs, training of trainers and regular monitoring of training delivery is undertaken by Knowledge Partners,” adds Kumar.

ICICI Academy has partnered with Schneider Electric India Foundation (for Electrical & Home Appliance Repair), Blue Star Ltd. (for Refrigeration & AC Repair), Crompton Greaves Ltd. (for Pumps & Motor Repair), Voltas Ltd. (for Central Air Conditioning), Akzo Nobel India Ltd. (for Paint Application Techniques), Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd. i.e. Cafe Coffee Day (for Retail Café Operations), Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (for Office Administration), NIIT Ltd. (for Web Designing), Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Auto Farm Sector (for Tractor Mechanic), Thyrocare Technologies Ltd. (Lab Assistant at Diagnostic Centres) and TVS Training & Services Ltd. (for Two & Three Wheeler Service Technician). The Selling Skills course leverages ICICI Group’s expertise to train students in sales and managing customer relationships.

 

Industry Partnerships

ICICI Academy leverages existing corporate relationships of ICICI Group in order to reach out to a larger employer base. It partners with various organisations as Placement Partners. These partnerships serve the dual purpose of making the youth employable and ensuring their livelihood.

In recognition of the work, the Asian Centre for Corporate Governance & Sustainability conferred the award for ‘Best CSR & Sustainability Practices Award for 2016’ on ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth. This award was presented on the occasion of the 4th Asia Business Responsibility Summit. Lady Lynn Forrester de Rothschild, Chairman & Co Founder Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, UK, Mr MK Sharma, Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd and Prof Mahendra Kumar Chouhan, Vice Chairman, Global Advisory Board, Asian Centre for Corporate Governance & Sustainability gave away the awards at the summit.

Ms Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank and Chairperson of the Governing Council, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth and Mr M S Ramachandran, Independent Director and Chairman of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the Board of ICICI Bank Ltd. received the award on behalf of the ICICI Foundation.

 

Rural Development

“Also as part of a national programme initiated by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) have been set up by banks to provide vocational training to rural youth from marginalised communities. Since March 2011, ICICI Foundation manages ICICI RSETIs in Udaipur and Jodhpur on behalf of ICICI Bank,” says Kumar.

Currently, the ICICI RSETIs offer skill training in 23 trades which have local demand including electrician and home appliance repair, motor rewinding, plumbing and sanitary works, refrigeration and air conditioner repairing, masonry, carpentry, dairy & vermi-composting, agriculture & allied activities, two wheeler servicing & repair, handicrafts manufacturing and dress designing & tailoring. Training in office skills such as office assistance, Tally accounting software, retail & sales management are offered to youth who have completed high school.

In addition to vocational training programmes, training on financial literacy and enterprise development is also conducted. Regular sessions on physical education and yoga are provided to all trainees for their holistic development.

 

FURTHER, ADDITIONAL CENTRES OFFERING COURSES EXCLUSIVELY FOR WOMEN CANDIDATES IN RETAIL SALES AND OFFICE ADMINISTRATION HAVE BEEN SET UP AT DELHI, KOCHI, MYSURU, TRICHY, VIJAYWADA, LUCKNOW, ZIRAKPUR, NAGPUR, BHUBANESWAR AND KOLKATA

 

Community level initiatives

Since 2013 ICICI RSETIs have been driving major community level initiatives aimed at economic empowerment of the community. In October 2013, ICICI RSETI Udaipur launched a micro-enterprise development programme (MEDP) for Self Help Groups (SHGs) in alignment with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) . The SHG project aimed at providing training in enterprise development followed by customised skill training to SHGs. The SHGs were also provided post-training support in the form of credit and market linkages. In the next phase, 500 new women entrepreneurs will be nurtured through financial literacy and advanced micro-enterprise development training.