The underlying theme of SEEDS Mason Academy aims to build a skilled construction workforce, including women, while helping formalise the largely informal sector of labour and construction workers in India.
Savda Ghevra JJ Colony, where the Academy was located, is a resettlement colony on the outskirts of Delhi established in 2006. It houses around 8000 families, but infrastructure is sub-standard. Families are culturally conservative and survive mainly on daily wage jobs. The vision was to help women boost their skills and get employed.
How we helped
We created two relevant and demand- based courses of assistant mason and plumber general (helper). The modules were designed after a thorough assessment of the skills required and needed in the market. The rigorous 864-hour curriculum emphasised basic theory of measurements and drawings, safe and economical construction practices, as well as introducing softer communication skills. This was aligned with the National Occupational Standards.
The process of identifying trainees was done through door-to-door visits and community focus group discussion meetings. One of the major challenges was finding a suitable time, without compromising daily wages. The classes were therefore run late evening, from 6 -9 pm.
The programmes ran with a combination of audio-video lectures, presentations and practical sessions that enabled women from all levels of education to grasp the concepts.
A 5-star grading and certification system was introduced, based on theory and practical tests. Most women in the course met the 3-star benchmark.
Following a holistic method from enrolment to placement, the academy not only provided classroom training, but engaged the students in field visits and internships, giving them opportunities to learn on ground.
Leaving a mark
96 women enrolled in the STEP programme. While many joined the academy in hopes of better work opportunities, for others it gave a sense of purpose. The simple self-sufficiency to fix their own homes was in itself a life altering (and money-saving) opportunity.
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