While, India is all set to become the youngest nation in the world with its growing working-age population, a report published by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that over 30 percent of youth aged 15-29 in India are not in employment, education or training. As a developing economy, it is necessary for us to scale up the potential of our youngsters entering the workforce by enhancing education and employability. However, India's education system is skewed to percentages and grades, thereby limiting the options to a large number of students to pursue their field of interest, especially when it comes to the technical programmes. Established in 2008, Rustomjee Academy for Global Careers (RAGC) provides opportunities for the students who generally donot have access to technical training, because of either limited quality vocational training providers or lack of funds. The reason behind RAGC having a national presence is not only its unbeaten approaches to training, but also the transparent intention of serving towards the upliftment of the nation.
"A solution to the employability issues of our young population is vocational education, which is more employment oriented, but is offered by a limited number of training providers and requires a balance of industrial and academic training pattern," opines Percy Chowdhry, Director, Rustomjee Group. Since its inception, RAGC has been able to transform many lives by offering award, Certificate, Diploma and Degree in vocational programmes across various streams along with short-term skill training such as Recognition for prior learning (RPL) under the National Skill Development Corporation & several Sector Skill Councils.
The vocational training programmes adopted by the institution are aligned with the national and international boards, which include Maharashtra State Board for Vocational Education and Examination (MSBVEE), Yashwant Rao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) and Pearson. This makes RAGC the only institute in the country to conduct technical programmes recognized by International board in India.
The teaching methodology of RAGC helps it to stand out from the crowd where explicit heed is conferred to the close association with the industry and solid concentration on the practicality of topics rather than theory. Owing to which the students of RAGC are encouraged to go through 75 percent industrial training and 25 percent theoretical information. The general methodology of classroom theory session consists of audio-video presentation, case studies, engaging group discussions, debates and roles plays, along with online MCQ tests.
Using the latest versions of instruction like Google classrooms and G-Suite of delivering lectures, the institute is clearly preparing the students to confront with a world which has already been taken over by digitization. "Most of our students come from the marginalized section of the society who seldom owns any digital device and to keep up with Digital Indian campaign and to help them access the digital resources, we provide free Tabs to each one of our students," states Chowdhry.
RAGC has also introduced Advance Learning Platform for Higher Achievement (ALPHA) degree program for its students, a one-of-its kind technical programme in India, where degree students of RAGC would interns at Industry site for 4 days in a week and report to the institute for two days. The students thus get the scope to earn a fundamental stipend followed by graduating with two years of work experience. With such efforts, the institution additionally boosts the students to undergo internships aligned with certain task, which they have to achieve and are monitored throughout by the academic staff.
In a short span of 9 years, RAGC has been able to create a niche place for itself in the domain of vocational training. Given this, the institute holds the pride to achieve several awards for its quality and efforts. To name a few, recently in CREDAI Conclave 2017-18, RAGC was awarded "Excellence in Skill Development" award and was handed the "Best Initiative in Vocational and Skills Training" at ABP-National Education Awards 2017.
Bringing a Lifelong Change
The reason behind RAGC having a national presence is not only its unbeaten approaches to training, but also the transparent intention of serving towards the upliftment of the nation. "We motivate parents to send their daughters to pursue technical programs and also offer a scholarship to them. This practice comes from the parent company, Rustomjee, who has been a supporter of female education in the country," explains Chowdhry. The testament of the success of this initiative can be comprehended by the bronze medal won by one of the students of RAGC, Ms. Nagma Shaikh in the national level skill completion organized by India Skills Competition in 2016.
RAGC is responsible for touching lives of learners by providing them skills and making them industry ready. RAGC is successfully implementing CSR programs with NGOs and Corporates and industry with the likes of Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Volkswagen and Asian paints. RAGC is presently looking for Academic and Industrial collaborations for implementing CSR projects across India.
One of the students, Harshita Chavan, Hospitality (Pearson), appreciating RAGC says, "I am glad that I selected the Hospitality stream in RAGC. I truly appreciate the practical's they focused on, I am sure it has helped many students to get more than their expectations. I would like to thank all my faculties for their help."
Being on the right track to touch all the needed areas, RAGC is also focusing to create over 100 business visionaries in 2017-19 and expects to set up India's first professional incubation ecosystem for vocational education graduates. Through the help and guidance of RAGC, already 27 students have been able to turn into successful entrepreneurs till date.
Moreover, the on-site training performed by the qualified trainers of RAGC is a way forward to handing over a sense of dignity to the mass human workforce by providing Government certifications. "Including classroom and on-site training, we have already touched 25,000+ lives and we are geared up to achieve a total of 5 Lakhs by the year 2020," concludes Chowdhry.
Percy Chowdhary, Director, Rustomjee Group
A leading driving force behind the brand "Rustomjee", Mr. Percy Chowdhry is presently the Director of Rustomjee Group. He heads the company's Sales, Marketing, Administration and HR functions and also assumes the P&L accountability for various projects of the Group.