2 jobs per minute @ MET's Job Fair for the underprivileged
November 19, 2006 will be recorded in history as the beginning of a revolutionising effort towards 'Academia-Society Partnership'. Nearly 4000 underprivileged school/college dropouts were given job opportunities through MET League of Colleges' path-breaking social outreach programme – Vidya Shakti. The fair aimed at helping the underprivileged to carve out a career for themselves. Throughout the day the event was flocked by scores of hopefuls for whom this fair seemed like the only ray of hope in their gloomy, unemployed lives. The attendees received spot offers or were short listed for further employment and/or received training options for future jobs, from companies none other than Hutch, Godrej Hi-care, DTDC, 3 G, ICICI Onesource, Kids Stuff, Welspun, Spinach, Pizza Hut, Mac Donalds, Pantaloon, Mall People, SalesThink amongst many others. "I was unemployed and frustrated for the past two years. Words cannot describe the happiness I am feeling to know that I will be joining work from tomorrow," says Mahesh Patil, resident of Bandra who received an offer letter from Knowledge Explorer.
We all recognise that poverty is not the sole reason for the alarming drop out rates as many times, there are brilliant students who drop out as well. In essence, there is a gap between the needs of the community and the students and what education aims to provide. Through our social outreach programmes, MET aims to play a major role in societal upliftment. Says Prof. Vijay Page, Director General – MET Institute of Management and brain behind Vidya Shakti. The jobs on offer ranged from front-line retail and call centre positions to jobs of sweepers, drivers, security, house maids, back office administration, data entry operations etc. For those who did not get jobs, MET has coordinated with training agencies like SalesThink who will train and later place them. Lions International will support the training initiatives.
MET is a socially sensitive educational institution, since inception, we have constantly striven to sensitise the students towards social causes. We thus endeavour to build socially aware individuals who will lead tomorrow's India. No wonder that as a token of recognition for the special efforts taken to uplift the society, MET was been conferred special NGO status by United Nations some years back.
Putting together such a colossal endeavour would not have been possible without the efforts of the MET Management students. For the past few months the students held numerous surveys in and around Bandra where they have been painstakingly and tirelessly spreading the good word amongst the unemployed youth. The word of mouth has sure spread wider than imagined, "I had come from Mumbra to try my luck, my friend told me about this fair. I am very happy that I came here because I will be joining as a housekeeping assistant from December 1" said Sapna.
Vidya Shakti is a part of a larger social outreach initiative. As a part of the Mumbai University Sesquicentennial year celebrations, MET spearheaded a unique Societal Outreach programme, Vidya Setu, that envisages a proactive role for the students in civil society development. It has 15 mission programmes covering 150 critical sub missions ranging from Poverty Alleviation, Education, and Women Empowerment to Child Health, Fitness and Geriatric care. This contribution has been appreciated in the Global arena too by none other than the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN - ECOSOC). MET has suggested to the Mumbai University to introduce Vidya Setu as a 100 mark paper where by every student will be required to put in a minimum of three hours per week to do developmental work within 3 km of his/her college. "Mumbai University has lakhs of students. Just imagine the success of this programme if each student devotes just three hours a week towards social service. The incentive for these students can be in the form of marks that will be counted in the final examinations. The students will also be sensitised towards the realities of life" reiterates Prof. Page.
In order to lead by example MET took up Vidya Shakti and MET students worked actively along with the faculty to unite prominent members of industry, society and education to host a job opportunity fair "VIDYA SHAKTI" on Nov 18 and 19, 2006 at MET. The aim was to provide job opportunities to at least 2500 unemployed youth through this programme. The institute plans to conduct this fair regularly in the near future.