January 2018

Empowering Rural Youth

RuralShores Skills Academy – Evolution and Impact

The idea of RuralShores Skills Academy was born with the aim of supporting RuralShores Business Services in its objective of making an enduring all-round development to the rural populace through the creation of a socially impacting ecosystem.

RuralShores Business Services (RSBS) is world’s largest rural domestic BPO. It operates with the basic intent of taking the jobs to the people rather than getting people to the jobs. To achieve its objective of transforming rural youth into confident knowledge professionals, RSBS required a supportive arm to train and equip the rural youth with necessary skills and make them competent and employable. Thus, RuralShores Skills Academy was established with the task of training and providing for employment thereby empowering the rural youth.

The combined efforts of RuralShores Skills Academy and RuralShores Business Services have impacted about 900 villages and improved the quality of lives and livelihoods of the rural people. Post RuralShores employment, there is a 66% rise in family income and the average income is over the minimum wage fixed by the government. More than 26000 rural youth have been trained by RuralShores Skills Academy.   About 22,500 have gotten employment.  This is no longer limited to RSBS but extends to other corporates reaching out for marketing and sales in rural areas!

Since its inception RuralShores, RSA has diversified into various sectors and we have undertaken government projects, corporate trainings and surveys, retail and CSR programs. RSA started with training rural youth for local BPO, and thereafter trained people for Basic IT skills, FMCG/Retail process and sales.  This is where we realized that true skillsets and mind approach will give youth the direction and alignment.

In addition to this, we also train and provide placements for physically handicapped students. We have trained deaf trainers as well as students and successfully placed them in appropriate organizations. We also encourage girls to learn and become a part of our social drive. This is reflected in a healthy sex ratio maintained amongst the students of RSA. Education contributes to greater independence for women in the rural society which has a positive social impact on the community. One of our highly successful projects includes training victims of human trafficking.  RSA strives to deliver quality training through impactful courses, training of trainers and specially designed skill assessments.

RSA services include provision of:

  • Structured training program
  • Training & certification of trainer
  • Regular student assessments
  • Student certification
  • Courseware for both trainer and students

RSA programs are equipped with courseware as per NSDC QP (Qualification Pack) and NOS (National Occupational Standard), online assessment and NSDC certification recognised by Government of India.  This certification can help training institutes and NGOs in the placements of its students.

The efforts of RuralShores Business Services (RSBS) have been recognized nationally and internationally and recorded in major journals across the world. This reflects the success of our organization (RSA) as the training partner and skills academy of RSBS.

RuralShores Skills Academy maybe a for-profit company on papers but we might as well have been a NGO for all the efforts and ideas we put in training the youth of the country and working for building their careers and lives. RSA has evolved from a countryside social initiative to nationwide social enterprise. We engage and enskill various strata of youth of the country. We believe in the potential of the youth of the country and their capability in helping India transition from a developing country to a developed one.

– Shruti Patwal

Aiming to Inspire, Getting Inspired and Staying Inspired

DEAFNESS IS NOT HELPLESSNESS!

Lack of academic success is not due to the fault of the deaf themselves but because of our failure to stimulate them intellectually during their school years

– Dr Bill Watts

Imagine having ear plugs in your ears blocking you from the worldly noise around you. You have arrived in a soundless world. You can’t hear a pin drop. How do you know what is happening around you? How do you learn? What do you see?

Trapped in a hearing impaired body, your eyes become your gateway to the world. You gather information visually. From the basic ABC’s to computers and many skill-oriented courses today – deaf students face many challenges in their day-to-day lives. And more than often, their challenges in the classroom are over-looked. While people with normal hearing ability constantly absorb new information and knowledge through the daily noises, conversations and language that is spoken around them, deaf students do not have that luxury.

Meeting the deaf people

I had never met a deaf person in my life yet. When I was told that I have to go and train deaf trainers at Noida Deaf Society, I wondered how I would communicate my ideas to the deaf people. Would they understand me? I was aware that there would be an interpreter translating my words into sign language- the language of deaf. But would that really work? Would the interpreter correctly translate what I spoke? What would be the intelligence quotient of the deaf people? Or that of the interpreter?

When I reached Noida Deaf Society and met the deaf students and trainers, I was pleasantly surprised by the seeming normalness of their hearing impaired world. We were standing outside the Noida Deaf Society with a senior personnel of Noida Deaf Society and a deaf employee at the Society was enquiring her if we had any problem reaching the office. The road had collapsed nearby. They communicated using sign language and we watched their non-verbal interaction in amusement of a first-timer. They were comfortable with their surroundings, efficiently communicating through sign language. They greeted us ‘Hello’ with hand gestures and a welcoming smile on their face. We smiled back not wanting to showcase our incapability at using sign language or confusing them trying it. You would think they would be different from us with their hearing-disabilities, but they are really like us, just that the verbal language is substituted by non-verbal sign language. They may be bereft of hearing ability, but they have a brain that works as well as us though they may be disadvantaged by the ease with which we gain information from the outside world. And then there is their motivation to learn.

Training of Trainers

We trained them in Data Entry Operator (BPO) course. The curriculum for this course is divided into five modules:

  1. Typing Skills
  2. Basic IT
  3. Data Entry Skills
  4. Professional Skills
  5. Health and safety at work place

During the training when I interacted with the deaf trainers, I found that they have a good knowledge of IT skills and they were very good at using computers. We actually sailed through that part of the course training. Quite unexpectedly so! I hadn’t assumed that deaf are dumb. But I definitely didn’t expect them to be as good as they were at it. The NDS wanted us to teach them logical reasoning skills, so we built some exercises to test their reasoning abilities and filled the course content with it. Nothing better to sharpen your mental abilities than exercising your brain with some logical reasoning questions. They do wonders for concentration and focus.

Of course when they had a difficulty in understanding what I was saying or when they didn’t feel involved, their concentration drifted but that is something that is bound to happen to a hearing person too. The way to resolve this maybe is keeping them engaged by giving them real-life examples, involving them and asking for their ideas to make sure we are on the same page. And of course by making the content and training more visual through pictures and videos and more activity-based than theoretical.

I wondered during the training if the interpreter was understanding and translating exactly what I was trying to convey. I may be talking IT (Information Technology), they may be talking IT (India Today).  Covering training majorly through videos and subtitles can be a way to resolve miscommunication because of misinterpretation by interpreter.

It is difficult for deaf students to build a good vocabulary, so we made our content language easy and simple to understand. Given their trouble remembering and recalling information, we decided we can experiment with allowing students to record lectures, given the available technology on smartphones.

Professional Skills

One of the greatly appreciated part of our training was Professional Skills. NDS said that Professional Skill is a huge skill gap in the deaf community. Given their inability to intake proper information from their surroundings, things are easily misunderstood and minus the hearing power, they may not be able to perceive what business etiquettes and manners are. Professional Skills are not formally imparted by schools and colleges. So we taught them what constitutes work behaviour, what are time management skills, punctuality, team work, conflict management, empathy and how to communicate effectively. Communicating, that too effectively is imperative for deaf people because they are missing the important component of listening. Like any layman, they have to be taught what professional skills are, to mould their scattered understanding into something concrete.

Our Training Approach and Methodology – ‘GETS’

RuralShores Skills Academy has adapted a training methodology to drive its training process – ‘GETS’ (Guide, Educate, Train, Support). We teach the trainers to employ this technique to ensure effective training in an appropriate time frame. Mentoring trainers and students properly is important to ensure the success of a business and ensuring that training efforts are not misguided that may waste both employees’ time and the company’s resources. This is what we applied on the trainers and asked them to apply it on their students.

Guide – Mentoring, guiding and counselling the students in finding their interests and giving them a direction

Educate – Inventing and reconditioning methods and process of training for ensuring effective learning.

Train –Showing them how to do it and then letting them do it

Support – Encourage, encourage, encourage! Create an atmosphere of appreciation and support where students can learn and thrive”.

Education is a powerful tool to help anyone stand on their feet, especially the deaf students as it helps break down institutional barriers and build self-confidence. We must not live under the mistaken belief that deaf students are slow-witted and helpless. Such a belief and their perception of such beliefs through us will only lower their self-esteem. Most deaf children have normal cognitive abilities. All we need to do is provide them with a supportive and inclusive learning environment and help them succeed.

–  Shruti Patwal

Strengthening Rural Youth Development

Step in the Right Direction with RuralShores Skills Academy

Neeraj Verma is working as an ‘agent’ with RuralShores Business Services (RSBS). The ‘agent’ is an entry level position in a domestic call centre. He is preparing for merchant navy exams alongside.
Struggling to find a job, he had landed on the doorsteps of RuralShores Skills Academy (RSA) about a year ago. Anxious and depressed about the continuing failures of his efforts and hard work, he had developed a low self-esteem and he felt under-confident in engaging in a conversation with people. He had a good working knowledge of using a computer and even schooled his friends on it. It was at RSA that he realized what he had lacked earlier.

Essential Elements for Working in Life

Soft skills and confidence are essential elements of securing a good job in present corporate world. Getting through an interview is hinged upon speaking and behaving well. Your communication skills and confidence play a big big role in impressing upon your employer ‘Yes, I am the One’.

He says, “It is important to gain skills and exposure that help to fit in with the requirements of corporate world”. He heard through a friend about RSA providing training programmes and placement opportunities for skilled people. At RSA, he was given foundation training in communication skills and Basic IT which helped in grooming his knowledge and personality. The training has helped him in overcoming his hesitation and improved his personality. Before joining RSA, it was difficult for him to even talk to someone and maintain an eye contact. He was shy and introvert. At RSA, he enrolled in Spoken English programme, learnt speaking English and gained confidence in interacting with people. The training helped him in refining his pronunciation in English. He also worked on his manners and business etiquettes that play a crucial role in a working business environment.

Starting the Career

He wanted a job that allowed him to support his family. Now he is earning an adequate amount of money that helps him support himself and his family. He feels that if he had not attended this training institution, he might have remained enclosed in his own world oblivious to the opportunities that existed in real world around him. He joined RSA and found trainers and the training very helpful in building his personality, career and life. RuralShores Skills Academy (RSA), he feels, has given him hope and vision on which he plans to build his career and life.

 

Improving Reading Skills through Spoken English

English: Language to employability

Our Spoken English programme is aimed at improving communication skills and overall personality development of a student. In the corporate world, international markets and even inter-state trade within multi-lingual India connected by the English language, an employee’s proficiency in the English language is regarded as an important yardstick in influencing and ascertaining employability and human capital. In wake of rapid growth of globalisation, English language is an indispensable medium of business- and official-communication within India and the world. English is a business language which will influence your personality, job profile, employability and wages by a large percentage at both entry and experienced levels.  The fluency in English-language enables an educated person to secure white-collar jobs in the middle and upper echelons of the job hierarchy.

About the Course

Our Spoken English courses are designed to develop your speaking, listening and pronunciation skills besides English reading and writing skills for more effective communication in social and professional situations.

We have activities focusing on English conversation, public speaking, extempore, interview skills and group discussions along with learning basic grammar, sentence formation and vocabulary. We have experimented with a range of topics in the course which will encourage the student to think and deliberate on a topic, thus, enhancing critical thinking and reasoning abilities of a student alongside speaking English. We give them a trailer; but they will have to develop the full story. This course will develop a student’s confidence in using English in their daily communication.

What are the reinforcements holding up the fort of our Spoken English?

Let us see.

ENGLISH RHYMES

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky

The silliness of singing nursery rhymes teaches us not just the words, they stick into our memories. We remember them – the feelings of happiness and excitement when we chant them, the context the words were used in, sentence formation, the time, the pitch, the people we shared the moment with. It stays!

Let’s rewind back to your babyhood. How did your mother speak to you? Not in the way she spoke to other elder family members! With you – she spoke slowly, possibly in a higher pitch, she repeated the words – to make your little baby brain process and get a chance to catch the words and the way they are formed.

Nursery rhymes pretty much operate in a similar manner. They slow down the speaking process, involve repetition – which help the children learn to speak and later to read and spell.

In the flow, we may not always understand when one word ends and another begins, but the nursery rhymes help us learn the dynamics of English language. It gives us a love of language.

COMMON ENGLISH PHRASES

May I come in? 

How are you?

What is your name?                      

What are you doing?

Would you like that?

How can I help you?

Could you repeat that please?

These are some common English phrases and expressions that constitute the basic blocks of business English language. They form an essential part of corporate etiquettes and mannerisms. You must know how to use these common English phrases. There are no exceptions to learning these.

We teach such phrases every day in first 15 minutes of each session and mandate the students to use them in daily life especially during training classes.

ENGLISH STORY VIDEOS

Everyone loves a story!

We have included short English moral story videos at the start of every English class. We all enjoy a good story – no matter our age. These videos hold up interest level and help in absorbing the usage of English language- the what, when and how – besides building up vocabulary. 

CONVERSATION TIME

Let’s talk English!

The conversation sessions are based on daily life scenarios in animated and interactive learning format. They help learners speak English fluently with correct pronunciations.

And these were just the cream on the cake!

The main content of the Spoken English course includes Parts of Speech, Sentence Formation, Modals, Tenses, Orders, Instructions and Requests, Story Completion and Picture Composition and so on.

Our Spoken English course is designed with the objective of helping the student in gaining expertise in speaking English confidently. Join today and better your English!

Shruti Patwal