Dulumoni Barman, Suraj Upadhaya, and Pranjeet Bora are flag bearers of quality technical and vocational education training in Assam courtesy the North East Skill Centre (NESC), an initiative of the Assam Skill Development Mission (ASDM) and ITE Education Services (ITEES), Singapore.
Dulumoni from Bongaigaon in lower Assam is a multi-faceted talent with a soft corner for drama and dance, and a hardcore beauty and wellness professional. Employed in Fresco Spa under the Lemon Tree group of hotels in Patna, her skill sets have earned her immense appreciation. Her talent was harnessed methodically at the NESC wherein she underwent a one-year course in beauty and wellness and an outdoor exposure, arranged by the NESC, at Hotel Novotel in Guwahati.
Suraj from Biswanath in North Assam is a passionate sportsman in his heart but has all the features of a soft spoken service industry professional. He is employed in the food and beverage (F&B) department at DoubleTree, Bangalore run by the Hilton Group.
The Dulumonis, Surajs and Pranjeets have given enough reasons to the Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Department of the Government of Assam to be hopeful of a momentous shift in generating skill-based employment, away from the Government sector, in the country as well as overseas, besides encouraging an ecosystem of entrepreneurship.
A beaming Ankur Jain, the Managing Director of Assam Skill Development Mission says, “Our State has been emphasising skill development programmes. Today, if you think of a good career for yourself, proper skill development training is a must.”
He says that the upcoming Skill University at Mangaldoi in Darrang district will be a game changer in skilling Assam’s youth for jobs the world over. “Industries need skilled manpower. Our university will generate tens of thousands of skilled manpower in the years to come.”
His confidence possibly stems from the two batches of students who have been absorbed by various industry groups across the country and the likes of Dulumoni who is advocating for girls like her to join NESC. “Learning at the NESC helped me a lot. I would like to suggest girls, particularly in rural areas, to avail the vocational training course there. It will help them get jobs,” Dulumoni says over the phone from Patna.
Part of the credit for this initial success of NESC also goes to the Singapore-based group ITEES which had handheld the Centre for over five years after signing an MoU in October 2016, before its COO Lim Boon Tiong handed it formally to the ASDM MD in Guwahati this month. The ceremony was marked by the presence of Singapore Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, SEED Minister, Government of Assam, Jayanta Malla Barua, Industry and Commerce Minister Bimal Bora, High Commissioner of Singapore in India, Simon Wong, and Principal Secretary, SEED, and Labour Department, B Kalyan Chakravarthy.
The ITEES is the principal provider of technical education in Singapore at the technician or semi-professional level, and the principal authority for national occupational skill certification and standards. It has been supporting NESC by providing technical assistance on campus design and building, design of facilities, curriculum design and development, training of the trainers, centre management staff and supervisors.
NESC offers specialised skill development training in four verticals ‘Beauty and Wellness’, ‘Retail Services’, ‘Food and Beverage Service’ and Hospitality Operations-cum-Housekeeping, in which Pranjeet, hailing from North Lakhimpur, has trained himself. He joined Radisson Blu, Gwalior as a guest service associate (GSA) after his course and is now with the same hotel chain in Guwahati. “I spent about ₹ 1.5 lakh, including ₹ 48,000 as course fee, to complete my course. My salary is now double than what I had expended to complete my course. We are lucky that the Government has set up an institute like NESC in the State,” he says.