Focus: Children and Youth, Education, Livelihoods, Women

DISADVANTAGED young women from across India work tirelessly to get college degrees – despite which many remain jobless. It is this gap between education and employment that Medha are trying to bridge.

And they are doing it while the aspiring student is still at university so after graduation they are equipped with both the qualifications and work skills that employers seek.

BA undergrad Namita Gautam is currently enrolled at one of many Medha career service centres operating on public college campuses. The 23-year-old, whose father is a railway employee and mother a homemaker, is keen to find employment as soon as she graduates.

She says: “I joined Medha to improve my communication skills and get help finding a job.” Then adds: “I only come to college to attend Medha classes!”

With their primary focus being young women from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds, Medha work in collaboration with three key stakeholders – employers, students and academia – to close the skills gap between education and industry.

The success of Medha’s method is exemplified in life-changing stories such as Kanchanlata's, a 27-year-old farmer’s daughter from Kakori, a village north of Lucknow. This Medha graduate is now a sales executive at Eureka Forbes and pursuing a part-time MBA course. She says: “There is still a lot of gender discrimination in my village which motivates me to set a strong example of a successful women entrepreneur.”

One of India’s biggest assets is the size of its youth population. With more than half below the age of 25, it is a demographic that attracts multinationals to take advantage of the growing young workforce.

On the flip side, 75% of the 15million youngsters who enter India’s job market every year are unemployable. The most infamous outcome of this took place in Lucknow in 2015, Medha’s hometown, when postgraduates and PhD holders were among the 23lakh applicants for 300-odd posts for peons in the Uttar Pradesh secretariat.

A government job with lesser workload, benefits and security is a desirable option for students graduating from an education system that leaves them unskilled for the job market.

This is where Medha are making a real difference: their students are 75% more likely to get employed in the formal sector, earn 50% more than their peers and stay in their first job 12 months longer.

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Career Advancement Bootcamp

ONE of three bootcamps offered at each school, each semester, this is a 40-hour programme of both in-and-out of class modules to build professional communication skills, work and interact as a team, and learn about potential career options and how to pursue them. This helps students have a clear idea of what's expected in interviews and the workplace environment and enter the job market with confidence.

Technology Advancement Bootcamp

THIS 60-hour programme of in-class modules builds proficiency in the basics of computer operations, file and folder management, Microsoft Office, and internet search. TAB students become highly efficient in the basic computer skills demanded by all industries. Without an active understanding of these skills, entry-level jobs in sectors such as administration, sales, and Human Resources are not accessible to fresh graduates.

Life Skills Advancement Bootcamp

LAB encourages students to gain a better understanding of oneself and learn how to interact and deal with the outside world. This 40-hour bootcamp also teaches effective methods of communication. Students participate in reflection activities, workshops that facilitate team building, and art projects that foster self-expression. As IGNOU student Ankita Bisht says: “I was shy and introverted, but Medha's helped me open up a lot.”

About Medha

Our relationship has evolved from hosting 100-hour internships in our hospitality department, to now offering six-month internships in our HR department. We recently placed a Medha alumni in a full-time position at Taj Vivanta.

Anisha Gunnar, HR Manager, Taj Vivanta, Lucknow, UP

Medha has improved our employee retention rate and prompted us to change our hiring practices, placing more women at entry-level positions.

Mohammad Fahad, Area HR Manager, Eureka Forbes, Lucknow, UP

I learned how to write a professional resume and Medha’s instructors coached me through mock interviews. Eureka Forbes were not accustomed to hiring young women for their front-line sales jobs. But Medha convinced them to take a chance with me.

Reeta Gautam, Sales Executive, Eureka Forbes, Lucknow, UP

The teamwork workshops and public speaking activities were really helpful. My confidence and interpersonal skills greatly improved and the organised industry visits exposed me to careers I never knew existed.

Chandra Mani, student, Barabanki, UP

  • Byomkesh Mishra Co-founder
  • Christopher Turillo Co-founder
  • Sarita Upadhyay Strategy
  • Swati Goyal Operations
  • Sharia Zaman People
  • Mayank Gavri Finance