Here’s how a free skill training course uplifted a daily-wage worker out of poverty

While the Indian economy grows tremendously every year with the increase in working population, there continues to be a wide gap between the skilled labour force and the employment opportunities available.

According to a 2014 United Nations report, India has the world’s largest youth population of 356 million 10-24-year-olds and by 2020, India is expected to become the world’s youngest country. As 68.8% of Indians live in the rural areas, the problem of underemployment looms one of the fastest growing countries in the world.

ICICI Bank through their CSR division ICICI Foundation is actively trying to close this gap in by focusing on Skilling India before Making in India.

ICICI is trying to reach the very last mile to train the underprivileged youth across the length and breadth of the country, and these programs have already trained approximately 2,00,000 individuals to achieve their dreams.

Uplifting a community

One such individual is Arjun Solanki who had to let go of his education at the young age of 14 when he lost his father to tuberculosis in the small village of Baroda Sindhi, near Indore, Madhya Pradesh,

His life took a tough turn and while his friends went to school every morning, Arjun would head to fields and building sites to find work. His family depended on him for their daily bread and he was forced to look for work every day for survival.

So, when Arjun’s friend Shravan advised him to take up a two-month paint application course to enable him to find better employment, he was willing to learn.

The free-of-charge course was held at ICICI Academy of Skills where Solanki was enrolled for a two-month period while his elder brother supported the family during that time.

At that time, Solanki didn’t realize that his life was about to change; he not just learnt how to paint immaculately but also learnt how to work in a formal organization by emulating soft skills like how to talk to potential clients, and gain trust to close work contracts.

Arjun’s hard work and persistence paid off when Rajesh Roshan, a painting contractor from Indore hired him and promoted him from a supervisor to a subcontractor in just ten months! He now gets contracts regularly and has gained popularity amongst his peers for his success.

Solanki realizes how the skill training changed his life and now has higher ambitions than ever before. Arjun has uplifted his family from poverty and bought them a pukka house in the village. Not just that, he has even put a borewell outside his home for the community use and has inspired the villagers to pursue skill training courses.

From struggling to earn Rs. 100 a day looking for labour work, Solanki is now employing trained youths from the Academy of Skills who work alongside him on considerable painting contracts.

When he entered the ICICI Skill Academy, he was not aware at the time that he will be able to build a beautiful life for himself, his family and his community.


People who enter the industries, currently have limited understanding of the business they are entering therefore targeted initiatives focused on particular skills can help train individuals better for taking up any job. ICICI has designed several programmes under the Skill Development initiative that provide trainees with industry-relevant vocational skills.

ICICI Academy for Skills (IAS)
The ICICI Academy for Skills offers training in 11 technical and office skills and the courses are specially crafted for underprivileged youth between the ages of 18 and 30 years. It has trained over 79,000 candidates through its 24 centres free-of-cost.

To ensure best-in-class skill training programmes, the Academy has partnered with various industry leaders as knowledge partners to co-create the course curriculum and content and has also set-up laboratories for imparting practical training.

Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs)
As part of a national programme initiated by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), ICICI has set up Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) in Udaipur and Jodhpur.

This programme focuses on providing free vocational training in locally-relevant skills that empower villagers to be self-reliant. The initiative also promotes entrepreneurship and development of micro-enterprises by providing loans. ICICI RSETIs offer 38 programmes and over 61,000 individuals have been trained at RSETIs. RSETIs offer 2-4 weeks courses for underprivileged rural people in the age group of 18-45 years.

ICICI also makes sure that the needs of local employers are mapped to design relevant courses under the rural initiative that are customised to suit the local requirements with a focus on practical execution of skills. All the trainees are additionally oriented on life skills, financial literacy and workplace organisation (Five S) to ensure a holistic learning experience.

The ICICI Foundation has tied up with a large number of industry partners to provide employment opportunities to their trainees. The trainees have been placed in over 1000 companies including Eureka Forbes, Daikin, Bluestar among others. ICICI Foundation also promotes self-employment and encourages trainees to set up their own micro-enterprises like Arjun Solanki who has become self reliant after a two-month skill training course.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by ICICI Bank
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