Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: The experiment undertaken by fabrication industries in the district to train school dropouts for vocations such as welding, fitting, machining and electrical works has turned out to be a success.

A total of 64 youths from Thanjavur and Tiruchi districts are about to complete their six-month training in 14 industries as envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Periyar Maniammai University, Thanjavur with the BHEL Small Industries’ Association, Indian Institute of Welding and Confederation of Indian Industry, Tiruchi Zone.

The initiative was meant to divert the energy of uneducated youths, who might otherwise end up as a burden on society, for a productive purpose, according to the Director of Centre for University Industry Interaction, Periyar Maniammai University, K.V.R. Rajandren.

During the training period, each trainee is entitled to a stipend of Rs. 2,500. The university, on its part, will impart 40 hours of theoretical training and improve their job-seeking credentials with a certificate.

These candidates can exercise the option of joining the regular workforce of the industries where they undergo training for a monthly salary of up to Rs. 5,000.

In fact, this initiative augurs quite well with the constant need for workforce in the fabrication industries where it is usual for employees with ITI background to seek greener pastures in the gulf countries after a few years of service.

This trend has prompted BHELSSIA to form a placement council to identify member units with a societal bent of mind, said S. Sampath, Chairperson,Training and Placement, BHELSSIA, observing that the current batch of candidates have imbibed a sense of self-esteem after realising their own worth to the society.

Buoyed by the success of the initiative, more industries have expressed desire to rope in trainees from the next batch onwards, Mr. Sampath said.

BHELSSIA president K.G. Muralidharan is confident that the success of the experiment will motivate unemployed youths in rural areas to transform into technicians in the fabrication industries. But for the attitudinal deficiencies, over 200 youths would have gained from the MoU. The rest had dropped out. Nevertheless, the initiative, he noted, signifies the entry of SSI sector into the system of training and placement.

Faced with the daunting task of enhancing production capacities against the backdrop of shortage of workforce, the BHELSSIA has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to retain workers. One batch of non-ITI youths, most of them sponsored by the BHELSSIA, are currently undergoing a two-month training at the Welding Research Institute of BHEL, with special approval of the Department of Science and Technology. The association also has a cent per cent placement understanding with the Sri Ramakrishna Advanced Training Institute, Coimbatore, which trains school dropouts for industrial tasks. Yet another initiative is attracting ITI candidates from far-off places such as Aranthangi with a promise of a lump sum amount at the end of a year in addition to the monthly salaries, Mr. Muralidharan said.