LabourNet plans to empower one million Indian labourers in the informal sector by 2020

LabourNet, India’s leading Social Enterprise focusing on ‘Real Income Increase’ and ‘productivity’ of the unorganised sector workforce, today announced it plans to provide vocational training to about a million unorganised workers across the country, in a span of next six years.


Despite India making remarkable progress in IT and establishing world-class institutions like, IITs, IISc and IIMs majority of the 500+ million workforce in India continue to exist in the unorganised or the informal sector, with poor work conditions, no or few work contracts and social security benefits, says a company statement.  
In an interview, Gayathri Vasudevan, CEO of LabourNet talks about her firm’s inception, vision and going forward, the plans and more to Jayashankar Menon. Excerpts:
JM: How can you fix the existing gap in the system?
GV: Having impacted close to 80,000 workers in the unorganised sector, we already have the required expertise to positively influence over 100,000 lives every year through education, training and decent work services. What is more, the existing gap in the system can be fixed only by holistically creating an ecosystem which will address every aspect for workers in the informal sector and we at LabourNet are striving to achieve this.
JM: What is the plan of action you had chalked out to address this situation?
GV: LabourNet, India’s top Social Enterprise, has identified this grave situation and has chalked out a plan to impart one million workers with necessary education, skill sets, financial and social empowerment.  The identified three verticals in which training will be provided by us include Services, Construction and Manufacturing. In addition to this, we provide skill development training in areas that encourage micro-entrepreneurship.  
JM: What are the various trades you provide training to the workers?
GV: The various trades we provide training include leather, rubber, jewellery carpentry, masonry, shuttering carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, painting, crane operator training, fork lift operator, general machine maintenance, bar bending, Press operators, Fitters, beauty & hair care, safety training and more. We are actively exploring at Agriculture sector as it employs in excess of 50 percent of the informal sector workforce.
JM: Unlike in the past, employers are looking for valid certifications from applicants before hiring, besides the relevant functional and industry skills. Will LabourNet offer that cover to the workers?
GV: LabourNet offers services that cover, counselling and assessment, based on which relevant work integrated vocational training and education is provided.  Upon completion, certificates are issued, followed by providing of WORK- Self, work contracts and full time employment. We have established partnerships with close to 100 corporates across the country.
JM: Can you talk about LabourNet, its inception and achievements?
GV: LabourNet was set up in 2006 as an initiative of Movement for Alternatives for Youth Awareness (MAYA), a non-governmental organisation based in Bangalore. It began largely as an effort to provide a one-stop platform for unorganised sector workers to obtain services which are currently available and accessible by formal sector workers. Today, LabourNet has revamped itself into a Social Enterprise to make it more sustainable and provides required benefits for workers in the informal sector through a holistic platform.  
Furthermore, its sustainable model is an end-to-end solution through a built-in 4E – Empowerment by blending Education, Employability and Employment.  It is structured and in synchronisation with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and the mandate set up by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). LabourNet’s solution won ‘Sankalp’ Award for ‘highly scalable social models’, ‘Best Upcoming Partner’ by NSDC for 2012-13, Best Practice Recognition for ‘Assessment Tools’ 2013 by NSDC.


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