864 trainers selected for ASAP programme

The State Higher Education Department is ready with an army of 864 youngsters who will be deployed as trainers for the foundation course of its Additional Skill Development Programme (ASAP) for school and college students.

The ASAP has been envisaged by the department to enhance the employability of fresh graduates. Its foundation course will be introduced in government colleges and schools from this year.

The stars

The 864 ‘skill development executives’ are the ‘Thousand Splendid Stars’ — the name given for the programme to select trainers for the foundation course. They are undergraduates and postgraduate students from colleges across the State.

The trainers will go on to help students, some of whom will be selected as skill development executives. The best part of the entire process will be that the trainers will earn while they are still students.

The process of training, testing, interviewing, and fine-tuning of skills to select the trainers’ team started from May. They are currently undergoing a four-day concluding session on soft-skills development in different batches in locations across the State.

C. Madhusudhanan, head of the ASAP quality control, told The Hindu that the aim was initially to produce 1,000 student trainers as the title indicated. But the number of people who actually got trained fell slightly short of the target. “This was just because we didn’t want to compromise on the quality just for the sake of making it a round figure,” said Mr. Madhusudhanan.

Selection for trainers

The selection process for trainers was exhaustive, he said. Over 5,000 students (undergraduates and postgraduates) from different colleges in the State had applied.

From them, around 3,500 were chosen for a 21-day residential camp. After several training sessions and screening process, 1,760 candidates were selected for an interview to assess their language, soft skills, and IT skills.

“It was from this final lot that we selected the 864 skill development executives,” said Mr. Madhusudhanan.

The students responded very well to the training process, said Bindu Amat, trainer and coordinator of ASAP from Malabar region. According to her, there was an interesting mix of students from different disciplines among the selected ones. “There were more girls than boys in some centres,” Ms. Bindu added.

The ASAP foundation programme would be started in higher secondary schools and government colleges from October 30, Mr. Madhusudhanan said. “We have already received over 450 applications from colleges and schools to start the ASAP foundation course,” he said.

The ASAP is held in different phases. Level 1 is of 300-330 hours duration out of which 180 hours are devoted to Foundation Courses that consist of modules on communication skills in English and Information Technology.

The other 120 to 150 hours are dedicated to the skill sector chosen by the student. The focus of the foundation course is to develop soft skills that are essential for a professional corporate work environment.

According to Mr. Madhusudhanan, the skill development executives will be paid well for their work.

“They will get Rs.500 for an hour,” he said. The classes will be from 4 to 5 in the evening since the college-going ASAP trainers will be engaged till 3.30 p.m. The trainers will be assigned schools and colleges nearest to their place. These trainers will be able to earn an amount of not less than Rs.10,000 every month through this. “Not bad for someone, who is only still a student,” said Mr. Madhusoodhanan.

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