Youth Transformations in Mumbai
Through the Youth Employability Program, Pranita and Suraj were able to obtain their first formal jobs – and gain a new sense of independence and confidence.
In celebration of International Youth Day on August 12 we are sharing inspiring stories of young men and women who have worked with TechnoServe to gain economic independence.
Pranita, who is 21 years old, was a model student through secondary school and university: confident, articulate and enthusiastic. So it is no surprise that she was elected class representative in her Mumbai school five years in a row. But the pressure from her family to get married meant she wasn’t thinking about a job after she received her degree in commerce.
In another part of Mumbai, 22-year-old Suraj was the first to graduate college in his family. However, six months post his graduation he still remained unemployed, unable to convince prospective employers of his worth. Mounting family pressure to contribute to the household expenses forced him to help start driving a taxi at night.
“In my first job interview the interviewer kept asking me questions about myself, my career, what I wanted to be in 10 years – none of which I could answer and this made me feel unprepared and less confident,” said Suraj.
Pranita and Suraj’s outlook changed dramatically when they enrolled in the Youth Employability Program (YEP). A partnership between TechnoServe and J.P. Morgan, YEP aims to improve workforce readiness among youth in Mumbai. The one-year program offers training on personal effectiveness, such as goal-setting and communications; personal finance; professional effectiveness; and English fluency for business.
For Pranita, the lesson on setting SMART (or Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals was eye-opening. “The training not only helped me understand my strengths, but also provide a platform to develop them further,” she said. “While I thought marriage was a means to an end, YEP gave me a reality check and helped me align my realities and aspirations.”
Though initially shy during training, Suraj began to open up after a few sessions and gain back his confidence. Learning how to articulate his strengths and weaknesses helped him better prepare and practice for the interview process.
Both Suraj and Pranita have successfully obtained employment within months of completing YEP. Pranita began working as a transaction processing associate at a leading consulting firm. Her sense of agency has also shifted: “I am a confident and strong girl who feels responsible for herself,” she said.
Meanwhile, Suraj was one of five participants who were selected as a management trainees with a financial software company. The first thing he did after his selection was to tell his father that he would no longer be driving a taxi!