Many underprivileged youth in India are unable to find a job, or have heavy and underpaid work. Their origins as ‘dalit’ and a lack of education are the main causes. Good education is the key to a better future for them. That is why we set up the Connexion Learning Centre in Bangalore. This vocational school offers vulnerable young people the opportunity for practical training, with the prospect of a job. The school is supported by the ROC Mondriaan in The Hague.
The first vocational training offered by the Learning Center in Bangalore is Hotel Management. More and more hotels are emerging in Bangalore, one of the major Indian business cities. In collaboration with ROC Mondriaan, four practical training courses were started for the catering industry in 2014, so that students in this sector can work as cook, waiter, receptionist or chambermaid. The local teachers receive training in the Netherlands at ROC Mondriaan and are then supervised in Bangalore. The curriculum is based on Dutch standards, with a lot of attention for learning-on-the-job and internships.
In order to increase the internship and job opportunities of (graduate) hotel management students, the Tulip Café was started in 2019. The learning-on-the-job coffeeshop is situated in the food court on the campus of St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore. Here, students and staff are offered quality coffee, fruit juices and shakes, sandwiches, snacks and sweets. The café is run by the hotel management graduates and students themselves, under expert supervision. For the students, this provides extra internships places to practice their skills. For graduates this immediately results in paid jobs. In time, we aim to expand to other colleges and ultimately an own regular coffee shop branch in the streets of Bangalore.
In 2020 the course Elderly care has been developed. Students learn how to be a caretaker, in theory as wel as on the job. In the Indian society more caretakers are needed, since less older parents live with their children and more need support and care at their own home or in elderly care homes. This provides our students opportunities on the labor market.
Housekeeping, Cooking, Beautician, Tailoring
Where the Hotel management and Elderly care courses cater mainly to underprivileged youth, the Connexion Learning Centre too offers crash courses for (young) women who live in poverty. These short vocational training programs offer them a chance to quickly develop their skills in order to gain employment (and a family income) in sectors with high demand for skilled workers. The Housekeeping and Cooking courses offer women the chance to do upgraded domestic work, or find a job in the hospitality industry. With the Beautician and Tailoring courses women can find a job or create their own small business from home. Besides, the tailoring graduates produce quality items like face masks that are for sale in our webshop.
From study to work
Employers are closely involved in the development of the training courses, so that they fit in well with the needs of the local labor market. During their education, students gain practical experience through skills training and internships. After completing the training, we help the students find a job, through an employment agency affiliated with the school. The young people are then able to earn their own income and thus improve the living conditions of themselves and their families.
Young people from children’s homes and who are supported by other NGOs can attend the Learning Center for a small contribution. However, young people in the middle and upper classes can also participate in the courses and training courses for a regular fee. Our goal is to make the Learning Center function as a “social enterprise” that is not completely dependent on sponsorship or donations.
The Hotel management course has been developed together with our partner ROC Mondriaan that fulfills an advisory role for the curriculum, trains the Indian teachers, supervises the exams and provides international certificates. The Elderly care course has been developed together with Ashley Care Homes in Bangalore and the ROC Mondriaan School for Service, Care and Welfare ASML foundation and Edukans contribute financially to the education program.