JKSDM brings Kashmir, Jammu youth together to impart digital skills online
At a time when social distancing has become a new norm amid coronavirus outbreak and continuous lockdowns, the Jammu and Kashmir Skill Development Mission (JKSDM) is on a mission to build a strong base of skilled professionals across J&K.
The JKSDM apart from roping in the professional from various skill institutions across J&K has also snagged reputed international industry experts for 10-day long skill development crash courses.
In this regard, JKSDM conducted a series of webinars and virtual interaction programmes, which generated immense response of the participants.
Under its COVID-19 outreach initiative, Let’s s-Kill IT online program, international experts Simon Mackenzie, Director, The BRIDGE Institute, Singapore and Anthony Rushton, Global Head of Learning Delivery, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) delivered their lectures online among participants from both Kashmir and Jammu regions.
While Muhammad Mutahir, vice-president Zomato, shared his knowledge about entrepreneurial skills, B R Verma, Former Secretary, J&K State Board of Technical Education and Chief Coordinator YCET Jammu delved on the topics focusing on entrepreneurship and skill development.
Around 345 candidates from across Jammu Kashmir including professionals, home makers, unemployed youth, and students pursuing professional courses are receiving training for these courses in JKSDM affiliated institutions Amargyan Institute of Computer Sciences and Technology, Evergreen Computer Institute, Sri Sri Kaushal Vikas Kendra, Sampark Global and Zain-ul-Abideen Computer Training Centre.
Besides, daily classes by instructors, the candidates are also getting an opportunity to interact with reputed industry experts.
"Amid COVID-19 crisis, this training course is timely," said Syed Sabiya, one of the participants who is pursuing B Sc Agriculture at SKUAST-K. "Such meaningful programmes should be conducted by the government.”
This free of cost 10-day COVID-19 special skill training programme was started by JKSDM on May 18, 2020 in five skills - Entrepreneurship Development, GST, Beauty Makeup, Domestic Electronic Appliances Repair and Maintenance, Customer Care and Internet and Web Designing.
The first batch of the program concluded on 28 May 2020.
The JKSDM officials said that Yogesh Samat, Mall, Cafe and Retail Guru of India, Sushant, BD Head, Affinity, Khair Un Nissa Shah, Executive Director, World Trade Center India have been roped in for Phase-II of the programme that would commence from 1st June 2020.
The JKSDM officials said since COVID-19 had closed all academic and technical institutions including skill training centres, they started online training courses with an aim to make productive use of time during current lockdown.
“It was a treat and we all celebrated during the programme,” said Taqdees-un- Nissa, who is pursuing M Phil in Public Administration from Delhi University. Nissa, who took part in Web Designing course, said the programme was conceived very well but the slow internet services had played a spoilsport.
She said such programmes should continue, at least amid such crisis.
“This not only adds to the skill armoury of the person but at the same time acts as a stress buster during such testing times.”
Given the overwhelming response to the programme, JKSDM has already started registering candidates for its second batch under in courses like cyber security, GST, tailoring skills (masks and PPEs), internet web designing, front office operations in hospitality sector, and beauty makeup.
The training would start from the first week of June 2020.
So far 1716 candidates have registered for the second phase of the programme.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said a JKSDM official. “We even offer courses on fixing home appliances so that people can handle gadgets locally. The goal is to offer a range of courses to upscale skills and utilize the time offered by the lockdown. We may even allow participants to register for longer courses in case they show interest.” From 345 registrations in the first batch to 1716 new registrations for the second batch so far, the programme has been received well and reflects its reputation and popularity within just two weeks.
While participants lauded the initiative of the JKSDM, most of them hoped that the authorities should restore high-speed internet in the region.
Most of them lashed at the authorities for slowing down the internet speed across J&K saying, “It is like stopping you from inhaling oxygen.”
A group of participants said that due to the slow internet speeds only the trainer was able to keep the video switched on during the sessions while others had to rely only on audio demonstration.
“Hope we get better internet services in the coming days and the participants in such programmes don’t suffer anymore,” they said.
Under the COVID-19 Lets s-Kill it crash courses, JKSDM also roped in several institutions and trainings centres for registering the candidates.
The officials said the aim of the reach out was to institutionalise skills.
They said the institutions include National Institute of Technical Training, Cyber Security, Evergreen Computer Institute, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Evergreen Computer Institute (Beauty and Make Up), Evergreen Computer Institute (Graphics Design), Sampark Global Training Institute (Customer Care (Telecom), Amargyan Institute of Science and Technology (Entrepreneurship Development), Sri Kaushal Vikas Kendra Domestic Electronic Appliances (Repair and Maintenance), Infotech Institute of IT, Tailoring Skills (PPEs and Masks) Zainul Abideen Computers (Internet and Web Designing), WYATH Multi Skills School (Front Office) Operation in Hospitality Sector, Super Computer College Internet and Web Designing GKIETR Retail Manager, Falkan Skill School, Basic Computing Skills, Gyan Institute of Vocational Trainings, and Basic Computing Skills.
“With the onslaught of COVID-19 across the world, everyone was feeling low and reeling under depression,” said Farhana Sofia of Budgam who is pursuing her PhD from SKUAST-K.
“But then, introduction of this programme by JKSDM served as a panacea.The course is already infusing confidence in me to enter into an otherwise male bastion. I am sure to make it a success. I am aware that government jobs are not going to come easily now,” she said.
Principal Secretary, Department of Education and Skill Development Department, Asgar Samoon said with people having enough idle time during the lockdown, it was a vital programme to upscale skills.
“It is a good programme with some definite aim,” Samoon said. “The change in nomenclature and structure of Skill Development Department has infused a new life in imparting skills among the different participants of J&K. I am sure it will scale new heights in the future.”
He said Lt Governor G C Murmu had recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tata under which Baramulla and Jammu districts would be taken up for imparting skills among nearly 6000 youth.
He said the government and the Tata would also ensure the placement of the participants.
“We will conduct a further series of skill programmes for in-service employees including contractual daily-wagers,” Samoon said.