Learn how to educate women through skill training programmes and methods to rethink training programs to assist women in engaging in the active workforce.

Education and training programs for inexperienced women

Most employed women in India work in the low-skilled sector. They work as domestic help, factory staff, or farmhands. These are sectors that have been hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, such women are in dire need of education and training programs to improve their skills. After all, their innate potential gets sidelined due to the absence of proper education. 

The fallout of the pandemic

With the advent of the second wave of COVID-19, 97% of household income declined, meaning 10 million lost jobs. According to the CII, 60% of these lost jobs were done by women. Similarly, another report suggested that 47% of Indian women lost their low-skilled jobs last year. 

The recession had proved to be the worst in the last several decades. Effectively, India was under significant economic stress that hampered the lives of low-skilled workers, especially women. There were no jobs available, though the situation seems to be improving now.

The demand is growing, but supply is diminishing every day. These women need empowerment, but how? One way to solve this issue is to educate them through skills training programs. 

Related article: Gender Pay Gap: Where Do Indian Women Stand Right Now?

Technical training for women

It would be ideal if we could stand with these women during tough times. We must strive to inspire and educate them about the importance of enrolling for training programs. They are likely to be intrigued by the opportunity to grow in their skills and get better jobs. 

However, numerous obstacles like lack of childcare, patriarchal social norms, and mobility issues can be discouraging. Only if the women are able to enrol in these programs can they be expected to complete them successfully. 

Due to this reason, training programs to educate them should not be bound by constraints. We must try to motivate women by teaching them about adapting skills and informing them about better income opportunities. 

So, how can we rethink training programs based on evidence to minimise job gaps? 

Related article: 5 Successful Women Entrepreneurs in India Who Took Their Businesses to New Heights Despite COVID-19

How to go about it 

Here are three ways to reinvent training programs, thereby helping women participate in the active workforce. 

  • Offer training with the promise of cash grants: Low-skilled women will have financial constraints that inhibit participation. One can offer cash grants to overcome this barrier. Or, one can offer childcare support and minimise their burden. 
  • Address sexual harassment: Presenting training programs that talk about domestic abuse and sexual harassment will encourage women to sign up. One can try to address these issues and provide a perfect roadmap based on the solution. 
  • Encourage women to follow their dreams: If we offer support and deliver on our promise, these underpaid women can perform exceptionally well. What’s more, we can train them for male-dominated occupations too.

Government training for women

To teach skills to women to find productive jobs, the Government of India established the STEP scheme, which equips women with the necessary skills and training to become entrepreneurs. It is open to all women above the age of 16, and it is funded directly by a grant granted to an institution/organisation, including NGOs. 

Assistance under the STEP Scheme will be available in any sector to impart employability and entrepreneurship skills, including but not limited to horticulture, agriculture, handlooms, tailoring, stitching, embroidery, zari, handicrafts, food processing, computers & IT-enabled services, as well as soft skills and workplace skills such as spoken English, gems and jewellery, travel and tourism, and hospitality.

In addition, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched the Vocational Training Programme for Women, which is in charge of providing skill training to women across the country to increase employment opportunities for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and ages. 

The program offers industrial skill training through the Craftsmen Training Scheme, instructor skill training through the Craft Instructors Training Scheme, demand-driven short-term courses, special programs for ITI instructor training, and tailor-made courses based on industry needs.

Last words

It is crucial to help low-skilled women get empowered. They might seem ignorant or helpless, but all they require is a helping hand. With authentic training programs, we can educate them and enhance their skills. It will help them find their desired job with a better income. 

While the pandemic undoubtedly had a negative impact on this segment of the workforce, we must help them get back on their feet.