Trainer Recognition Awards for Vocational Training Institutes
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the VTI recognition awards helped us identify the best practices in facilitation, placement, mobilization, and data and tech through a comprehensive nomination and voting process.
Organizations identified their best on the basis of parameters across four sub-categories in each of the main categories. Meet our winners, who are driving innovative best practices on the ground, and transforming the skill-training ecosystem --
Benedict Roy - Social Media Champion
Centre for Development and Empowerment of Women Society, Avalahalli
Benedict Roy, a facilitator with Centre for Development and Empowerment of Women Society (CDEW), Avalahalli for the past two years, credits his interest in teaching to the career development course he was part of during the pandemic, at the very center he now teaches. “I lost my job as a ground staff during the pandemic and came across the CDEW brochure while at home,” he adds. Post-course completion there was no looking back.
He claims he was so fascinated by the facilitation techniques he came across in his course that he decided to use them in his own class. “During the initial baseline survey, I realised that my learners didn’t know about simple applications like powerpoint presentations. There also was a hesitancy to use technology in their day to day life,” he adds.
As a first step, he began digitizing all his class notes as presentations and shared them on WhatsApp groups to all his students. Then he introduced them to online quizzing platforms like Kahoot, to test their understanding of the lesson. And lastly, he gave them PPT templates and themes so that learners could make collages and engage with PPTs and other online tools and applications.
“I have seen a sea of change in my students. Now we share all that they have created in class as well as in the common WhatsApp group,” he adds. He claims that the WhatsApp group has been instrumental in encouraging learners to look for online resources to better understand their coursework and has been a great source of encouragement for learners to rid themselves of the fear of technology.
Sonalben Chudasma - Best Community Builder
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), Gujarat
Sonalben Chudasama has been a facilitator with Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (I) since 2014 and learners from her very first batch are still in touch with her; such is the effectiveness of the teaching methodology. Sonal uses a combination of four pedagogical approaches to make her class interactive and effective. They include Individual Attention and Progress Tracking, Co-learning, Technology linked learning, Revision through participation and focused teaching.
In order to ensure individual attention for each of her students Sonal maintains a progress tracking register for each course where students write about their expectations and goals from the training when they start the course. Each student has dedicated pages in the register where they keep adding notes about their progress over the course of the training.
Her second approach on co-learning involves engaging learners in group activities. “In the case of English Speaking; after I have taught the class, I conduct an activity where students give each other speaking prompts and then come and speak in front of the entire class. This also helps them build confidence in public speaking,” she adds.
In an attempt to familiarize her students with tech, Sonal encourages her students to use applications like Duolingo and Hello English to continue their learning even after class. She has also maintained a repository of YouTube links to help learners with learning resources in each lesson.
Amongst all of these however, her most unique initiative is one-on-one revision. Right at the beginning of the course, she assesses each student and the amount of support they require based on their level of education and pre-assessment exercises. Having done that, she divides them into 3 groups (group 1 requiring the least support- group 3 requiring the most support). After she has completed a module in the class, group 1 revises the topics with group 2 which conducts a revision for group 3. This way each student goes through a topic multiple times which ensures continuous learning.
Asha K. - Best Localized Content Creator
Asha K., a placement officer at Careship, an all women center, can’t emphasize enough on the need for the use of vernacular language to build deep relationships with her students. “The way we do it is through dramatization,” she adds. Learners as part of their reading practice are encouraged to read short stories aloud. It is this very repository of short stories that is used to create short plays every week.
“Learners perform these plays in their vernacular languages, they really enjoy the whole exercise. It helps them address stage fear and build skills like public speaking,” she adds. The other advantage of dramaturgy is that learners also enact plays based on their lived experiences. “Prior to this exercise our learners didn’t think much about the stereotypes they operated in; they were ok staying at home and not being financially independent. But some of the plays made them understand their problems better.” she added.
The other key initiative that she employed were weekly presentations. Learners were provided themes based on coursework and they used chart papers to explain the concepts in their vernacular language. “We used vernacular language for 1.5 months and then gradually moved to English. They also got more comfortable with technology and used powerpoint presentations by the end of the course,” she added.
Asha vouches for the need to constantly reinvent as an educator and claims the need to ground your teaching in the local context of the learners. “Dramatization as a tool allows you to understand student perspective better and gives learners the freedom to play fictional characters or build an opinion about challenges that affect them,” she adds.
Ashwini H.S. - Star Placement Officer
Sparsha Trust, Bangalore
Ashwini's journey at Sparsha has progressed from being a learner to a star placement officer in less than four years. She joined Sparsha Trust after a six-year career break, during which she focused on caring for her children. Prior to that, Ashwini was a lecturer in statistics at Dharwad University. “I had been attending a tailoring class, where mobilisers from Sparsha visited and told us about the career-readiness program,” says Ashwini. Her child had begun going to school and she wanted to re-enter the workforce, she adds.
Following the three-month program, Ashwini joined as a trainer at Sparsha itself in November 2019. Since then, she has actively engaged in the classes and provided pre-admission counseling to understand the needs of the students. Ashwini is passionate about helping students find the right opportunities, and she actively participates in placement activities. As a placement officer, Ashwini organizes numerous in-house campus drives to ensure that the right person gets the right opportunity. Her dedication to helping students find the best career path is a testament to her commitment to their success.
One needs to continuously learn to deliver to the learners. The Quest App continues to drive me to learn, Ashwini says. “At a time when I did not know what to do, QuestApp provided me with guidance. Now, it keeps me updated,” she adds. Her experience as a learner helps her meet her students’ needs, she says. “I sat in that classroom and expected to transform my professional life. I know every learner who attends the classes wants that too,” she says. This motivates her to help them secure jobs and plan careers.
Jayashree N. - Best Digital Award
Trainer, Sparsha Trust, Bangalore
Facilitation skills coupled with the ability to manage data contributes to Jayashree’s successful career growth at Sparsha Trust. Prior to her training career, she served as a mathematics teacher for four years, which contributed to her effectiveness as a trainer. She has a data-driven mindset and a good memory, which enables her to manage complex information with ease, she shares.
As a trainer, Jayashree is highly focused on maintaining a digital database of learners, keeping in touch with them regularly to share digital learning resources, and providing placement-related information. She believes in the power of technology to enhance the learning experience and prepares her learners to embrace the latest technological tools to remain competitive in the industry.
Jayashree is a natural facilitator and enjoys engaging with her learners in a collaborative learning environment. “Through Training of Trainers with Quest Alliance, I have developed a deeper understanding of my role as a trainer and how to train learners effectively,” she says. The training helped me with developing activity-based learning and I worked hard to make training sessions interactive, engaging, and fun.”
“I understand that each learner is unique and has different learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.” she says. To be an effective trainer, she makes it a point to personally connect with each learner, understand their individual needs, and tailor her training sessions to meet their specific requirements. Overall, Jayashree's passion for training, coupled with her strong data management skills, makes her a highly effective trainer who can bring out the best in her learners.
Rashmi Majethia - Star Mobilizer
Navjeevan Trust, Gujarat
Rashmi Majethia, Centre Manager and Mobilizer for Navjeevan Trust credits self-learning for her career growth. With her expertise in identifying key locations where many people gather, she has played a pivotal role in increasing the institute's reach and enrollment and is now being identified as a star mobilizer.
Rashmi has a keen eye for identifying locations where youth often gather. She uses this knowledge to mobilize potential learners through a variety of approaches, such as connecting with alumni from local colleges or engaging with young people at nearby lakes. Additionally, Rashmi employs door-to-door mobilization tactics and focuses on target areas like colleges to recruit new learners. “There’s a lake nearby. We noticed that youth gather there in the evenings. By talking to them, we were able to mobilize many learners,” she says.
As a result of her hard work and dedication, Rashmi wears several hats at Navjeevan Trust, serving as a centre manager, placement officer, and mobilizer. “I lacked the skills that we teach our learners, earlier. Through this role, and through the various opportunities through Quest Alliance, I have been able to become self-reliant, and am now able to equip our learners with the same skills,” she says with pride.
Her ability to multitask and manage multiple responsibilities has made her an invaluable member of the team, and her work has helped countless individuals to gain access to valuable skills training and employment opportunities.
Jitendrabhai Dayatar - Best Strategist
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India
Jitendrabhai has been working with AKRSP(I) since 2014. He initially joined as Trainer but was inclined more towards placements and that's where he found his calling. Today he oversees placements for 9 centres of the organisation across Gujarat.
His work involves conducting exposure visits, organising parent meets, walk-in interviews and job fairs, but most importantly contacting employers to inquire about job opportunities. His work with migration support centres is something he is extremely passionate about. These centres are set up in cities to help women, who come from rural areas into the city to work, to transition into the workforce. They are provided affordable accommodation and full support and guidance.
He says, “Students should have a choice in where they choose to work. By taking them to the workplace during exposure visits, we give them that opportunity and if they do join, the migration support centres help in their transition to the workforce. That I believe is a very important aspect of placements.”
Rajesh Vasava - Best Data Manager
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India
During his education, Rajesh had always been fascinated by computers. He didnt understand them or know how to operate them but had this curiosity to try and learn. Rajesh started his journey in the social sector in 2010 as a mobiliser trainer at AKRSP(I). For 3 years, he had some great mentors who taught him the basics of IT and computers and when he was confident enough, he took a leap and became an IT Trainer to impart that knowledge to young learners.
Today he is in charge of the Netrang centre of AKRSP(I) in South Gujarat and he thoroughly enjoys his work. He says, “Data is an extremely critical part of our work. We need data to see how effective our work is, which sector/village or area we should be focusing on, data analysis to understand salary differences of different students amongst many others.” He also works with MiS systems in Gujarat and Bihar, and is working towards simplifying and speeding data processing by supporting other centres and creating standardised excel formats for other centres across South Gujarat.
He is a self-learner in the truest sense of the word, everything he knows today he has learnt on the job and he believes that the learning never ends and he is grateful for the opportunity every day.
Hardik Christian - Best Student Career Planner
Navjeevan Trust, Gujarat
Hardik’s career journey has been nothing short of momentous. After leaving his job in the IT sector he decided to work in the development sector and joined Navjeevan Trust in 2014 as trainer. Today he is a Centre Manager and Placement Officer and is passionate about working with students. He says, “Students come from different backgrounds with a variety of ideas and thoughts. Helping them pave their career path excites me.” He helps organise guest lectures, exposure visits and market scan activities. To help students, he also takes up counselling sessions wherein they try to determine the interests and skills of the students and which field would be best suited to them.
Hardik is known for motivating students to undergo On Job Training to help them understand the practical aspects of the workplace. He says, “During 3 months of the course, they receive apt theoretical knowledge, however for 15-30 days, we encourage them to experience the practical aspects of work before they decide their career path.”
Today Hardik is a proud trainer, “My students have been placed in about 80% of the hospitals in Rajkot. Whenever I visit they give me a lot of respects and their parents too express their gratitude. That for me is the biggest motivation to continue to do my work.”
Ibrahim Khan Pathan - Community Engagement Champion
Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), Facilitator and Mobiliser
Ibrahim Khan Pathan is the facilitator cum mobilizer at Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), Gujarat. He also handles placements sometimes. Opening up about his career, he says “Previously, I used to work as a policeman but I wasn’t satisfied with my work then. I am a very social person and my skills were underutilized.”
Ibrahim gave up his career as a policeman to begin a journey as a mobilizer. He has undergone the navigator and MasterCoach training wherein he perfected his communication skills for articulation, tone and pitch. In the classroom, Ibrahim uses voice modulation to pique the interest of his students and explain concepts. “My students learn things easily. I also make sure that all my students participate equally in my class,” he says. Acknowledging his special skills to engage students, he is often invited by partner organizations to take sessions for their students.
Ibrahim had a paralysis attack a few months ago. He has recovered now and does his duty whole-heartedly. “I create a unique relationship with each student. I believe it’s important to take care of the small things like remembering their birthdays and keeping in touch with them even after the completion of their courses. This helps me mobilize new batches as well.” There are also meetings held in nearby villages of Halol. Along with his students, he also counsels their parents so that they can also provide support to their children. He is truly a good motivational speaker.
Ibrahim has also done great work during the pandemic. Through his network, he helped his organization to provide medicines and other equipment to primary health centers.
Ratna Kumar M. - Digital Mobilizer
The Quilon Don Bosco Society, Centre Coordinator and Trainer
Ratna Kumar M. is the Centre Coordinator and Trainer at The Quilon Don Bosco Society, Kerala. Ratna understands the power of social media and communication when it comes to mobilization. He always gave importance to developing good communication collateral like posters, google forms, advertisements, etc. which helped him complete his mobilization target on time.
Ratna harnesses the power of social media to circulate his content, especially via Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram. He makes it a practice to attach google form links along with all his content. With an increase in the rate of enrollment, clearly his methods are a success.