After 80 hours of intense lessons in English grammar, conversational English, role-playing and office etiquette, these 11 youngsters — most of them first-generation graduates — have landed themselves jobs in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

The students enrolled in the Affirmative Action Programme of TCS at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Gandhi Institute of Computer Education and IT (GICEIT) and are waiting to join work after 20 days of training.

“I am so excited at the idea of joining the company. It will be a different kind of job for me,” Even at school, I used to distribute newspapers. I don’t mind hard work,” said M. Thiyagarajan, a B.Sc Chemistry graduate from Vivekananda College, one of the lucky 11. He has a family of three to support and also has to repay loans taken by his parents.

Several of these graduates have also completed free courses in accounts assistantship and desktop publishing offered at the Bhavan.

R. Naachiappan did his B.Com in Vivekananda College and has qualified in tally and multimedia courses at the institute. “This is the first time I have come across a company which trains and then employs candidates. It’s a nice thing to do. I used to work part time as a data entry operator, now I will have a full time job,” he said.

For first-generation graduate, A. Selvakumar, a student of the Patrician College of Arts and Science, a bike is what his father is getting him once he joins the company. “I paid my fees and took care of expenses during college with a part-time job. Now I will pay the EMIs for the bike. I will not burden my family with the expense,” he said.

K. Dilli Ganesh, also of Vivekananda College said he decided to take up a job against his family’s wishes to pursue higher education as he did not want to burden them with the fees. “I will give the salary to my parents and ask for money if I need any. I usually don’t spend much, except on juice and snacks when I am with my friends. I don’t go to movies either,” he said.

According to K. N. Ramaswamy, Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and chief zonal coordinator, GICEIT, south Zone, in its 15 years of existence, the Chennai centre has trained 15,000 students from economically weaker sections. “When I walk into malls, I see many of our students calling out to me from behind cash registers and billing counters. It is nice to see youngsters gainfully employed,” he said.

Uma Krishnamurthy, a trainer with TCS’ Affirmative Action Programme, said the programme was to help build confidence among the students, most of who are first-generation graduates.

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