Initiative for improving employability of higher secondary and college graduates

The Additional Skills Acquisition Programme (ASAP), launched in 2012 with the objective of improving the employability of higher secondary and college graduates in the State, aims to cover close to 25,000 students this year.

Even though this is a significant jump compared to the 3,200 students in the first year, officials feel it is achievable, considering how they have created an army of well-equipped trainers through the ‘Thousand Splendid Stars’ programme.

In addition, on November 4 and 5, the State government is organising a summit of stakeholders in the skill development field called Skill Enterprise Engagement for Empowering Kerala (SEEK ’13), to build on their existing list of 13 specialised skilled courses. This will be held at the capital.

The 3,200 students, who have undergone 180 hours of communicative English and basic IT skills, have already begun enrolling into the skill-based courses of their choice. For the second phase, BSNL will send their executives for a mobile communication course that will be of 150 hours and the Kerala Press Academy will lead a certificate course in junior correspondence for 100 hours.

The summit is part of the government’s ambitious plans to cover all the government and aided educational institutions.

Since the department struggled to find capable trainers for carrying out the foundation courses, focus has been on the ‘training the trainers’ part of the scheme.

“The Thousand Splendid Stars programme was a careful filtration process by which we managed to shortlist close to 1,000 candidates from the 6,000-plus that applied. Group discussions, interviews at different stages, aptitude tests, and performance at training camps were part of the process. We pay them a substantial sum of Rs.500 per hour of teaching the foundation course,” said head of communications at ASAP, M.K. Vivekanandan Nair.

The next batch of the foundation course will start shortly once the new recruits are despatched to various partner institutions (schools and colleges currently under the ambit of ASAP). More Skill Development Centres (where students from different institutions can assemble for the classes) will be created over the next few months based on the numbers that will enrol for the next batch.

In the capital district currently, there are only two such centres — one at the Government Sanskrit College and the other at the Government Boys HSS, Neyyattinkara.

ASAP is a joint venture of the Higher and General Education Departments.