Targeting of appropriate beneficiaries has been always a challenge for development projects and it is considered as most crucial part for the success of any project. Achievement of project objectives largely depends on the right selection of project beneficiaries. For the case of skills development project, targeting is even more important. Inappropriate targeting will have both short and long term impacts. Dropouts during training or even after completion of training is the biggest challenge for skills development projects. Inappropriate selection of trainees increases the rates of dropouts and the project ultimately fails to achieve the desired results. In the long run, the failure of the existing skills development projects may create negative impact on the upcoming projects and on the perception of community people regarding the effectiveness of skills training. Youths and their parents will consider skills training as waste of their time.
Trainees are usually selected and enrolled by the training centres. To fulfil the given targets, the training centres sometimes need to enrol trainees without having right aspiration for skills training or influence the trainees to enrol in certain trades. All these issues increase the chance of dropouts from training or remain unemployed after completion of training.
To overcome the challenges, Uttoron-skills for better life, a skills development project implemented by Swisscontact and funded by Chevron, has designed a comprehensive multi-layered trainee selection process. The trainee selection process involves three steps namely (i) awareness campaign (ii) preliminary selection and (iii) motivational workshop.
At the first stage Uttoron project organized awareness raising campaigns in the project working areas. The objective of this campaign was to inform the community people and the potential trainees about the opportunities and benefits of skills training and to inform them about the trainee selection camps. To reach the people of all walks of life, various types of communication tools were used such as micing, arranging documentary drama-show, leaflets distribution, poster display in public places, hanging banner in the community and meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and local government representatives.
Four-day long trainee selection camps were organized immediately after the awareness campaigns. These camps were mostly arranged in public and popular places close to the community so that people of all walks of life could get easy access. The trainee selection guidelines were also prepared to ensure proper targeting of beneficiaries.
At first the interested candidates were interviewed at the information desk to verify the mandatory criteria such as age, educational qualification, residence, financial status etc. Candidates fulfilling the mandatory criteria were transferred to the registration desk. Project staff further interviewed the candidates at registration desk and filled in the registration form.
Candidates who fulfilled both mandatory and supplementary criteria were selected for two days long motivational workshop and were given a “Yes” card mentioning the schedule of workshop. Priority was given to disabled persons and women. Candidates who did not qualify for the workshop were informed by the project staff carefully about the reasons for elimination. Thus, community youths having the need and fulfilling the minimum criteria were selected for the third stage of selection process
Two-day long motivational workshops were organized for the primarily selected candidates. The objectives of the motivational workshop were to build self-confidence, raise motivation of the participants and at the same time assess their level of aspiration throughout the sessions. The workshop was designed in a way that help them to boost confidence which includes drawing pictures, debate sessions, group works, individual assignment, games etc. and prepare plan for their career and future.
The participants were also informed about the opportunities and limitations of different trades offered by the project. Participants were asked to discuss with their family members, friends and well-wishers about selection trades for skills training. This exercise allowed the participants to take informed decision about selection of trades and build career aligned with their vision. Each participant went through an individual interview session with the trainers which helped the trainers to further assess their level of aspiration and sustainability in training. Thus, participants having the need and right aspiration were finally selected for skills training on different trades. The trainee selection process is a recurrent event and will be organized at certain intervals throughout the project duration.
Uttoron supports community members to qualify for industry-driven trainings, positioning them for new or improved employment opportunities. On receiving market-valued skills and rewarding jobs, these community members will have the opportunity to increase their income and improve their living standards.