Need to Bridge Skill-Gaps for Rural Income Generation Activities


The rural area around Nagpur where HERD Foundation works needs to be developed to rejuvenate its dwindling economy. Much needs to be undertaken for poverty alleviation and creation of suitable livelihood options. Comprising of tribal populations subsisting primarily on agriculture it has never appeared more important than now to create avenues for income generation. Aside from agriculture the region remains sadly bereft of any traditional skills or rural enterprises that may augment living conditions.

HERD Foundation is exploring approaches to generate fresh perspectives through people’s participation in planning their resurgence. Our initial steps in these directions have led us to probe a variety of opportune ideas. However for lack of any traditional expertise that usually offers a way out, we are left high and dry with this aboriginal population who are largely forest dwelling inhabitants. Having given up their nomadic existence both men and a segment of women simply carry on by tilling the land to make ends meet.

HERD Foundation is of the view that we need to create pathways for appropriating skills that could offer a way out. But bridging the skill deficiency gap is a huge challenge. The majority of house bound women although interested in investing their time for income generating activities remain confounded by the lack of opportunities. Many of these women are members of self-help groups but their activities are restricted to pooling bits of their money for sharing small loans to tide over economic adversity.

They have never ever attempted at using their funds for productive purposes. However with limited access to opportunities for skill building it appears an uphill task to offer them access to sustainable livelihoods. One of the reasons for this is lack of access to any sort of skill training. Relying largely on agriculture and farm based livelihood opportunities, a greater majority remain unemployed. This unskilled or untrained mass of women can be taught to imbibe certain skills for prospective enterprises.

HERD Foundation looks at these gaps in abilities as an opportunity to set up training programs in appropriate skills that may help them set up suitable ventures. Through purposeful examination we intend to establish fitting vocational training that could lead to sustainable forms of employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship. However we are well aware that any skill building program would have to be a long term project to make it viable and workable.

This then means that skill building trainings would have to be targeted towards turning rural unskilled women to be befittingly trained to be work-ready and employable. By the end of such trainings they ought to be effectively ready to be linked with self-employment opportunities. Through these skills building programs interested women could take on enterprises that have the possibility of fruition. One can even think of adopting an ‘Employer-Payer’ model in which an external entrepreneur supports training-needs by mobilizing and training the women who later become ready to be absorbed in any given enterprise.

However the most important factor here would be the interest and proficiency of the rural women in becoming an intrinsic part of the efforts. They need to be made aware of the importance of their skills, outlook, attitude and focus for continued improvement and development. HERD Foundation is looking ahead to take on tasks for appropriate skill-building and livelihood creation for employability and entrepreneurship through interventions and partnerships with government and corporate agencies who share similar futuristic plans.

Psychometric Tests for Insights on Employee Performance

It is a well established practice to conduct psychometric tests for the well being of an organization. Usually HR takes on tasks related to modus operandi for psychological measurement and evaluation of staff members. Psychometric tests make use of predesigned instruments that are now readily available online. Such tests appeal to modern day HR practitioners concerned with objectively measuring skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational levels of personnel.

Psychometric testing involves two essential functions – one the use of appropriate instruments, and two the deducements and evaluation in the wake of applying such tests.  The truth is not many of us really understand how psychometrics works. Psychometrics is actually the science of educational/psychological testing. It attempts at probing the mind of an employee to evaluate defined variable aspects. However to most people psychometric testing remains a black box. Even so one gets a basic understanding of employee mindset which is what makes psychometrics important for organizations.

One really needs to know full well how such testing benefits the organization. The basic intention for implementation of psychometrics in any given organization is to process improvement in employee output based on outcomes of specially-designed testing instruments. Test scores are usually used to categorize candidates into groups – pass/fail , hire/non-hire, and below-basic/basic/proficient/advanced and so on.

Psychometricians document their assessment by determining the results through use of defined methodologies.  Validity of responses is the evidence provided to support score interpretations. For instance they will interpret scores on a test to reflect knowledge of English, knowledge of numericals, personality types, reasoning powers and so to provide documentation and research supporting this.

Companies are likely to place some emphasis on numerical reasoning skills if they are considered important in ensuring a high performance in the given role. The allotted job profile would therefore expect one to have moderate to high numerical reasoning skills. Therefore an employee would be subject to numerical reasoning questions of a level of difficulty and complexity.

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure written verbal skills that assess one’s ability to quickly understand and efficiently convey work-related concepts and information. One needs the ability to comprehend and quickly filter through extensive amounts of work-related written data to identify critical issues to draw logical conclusions.

Finally an abstract reasoning test is to measure conceptual reasoning skills that refer to lateral thinking or evaluate fluid intelligence. It measures one’s ability to quickly learn new information, identify patterns in data, integrate complex information, and apply it to solve work-related problems. There is no dearth of test instruments that may measure employee intelligence is whatever it is that you are trying to measure. These tests are usually subject to multiple-choice questions that remains the popular mode for quizzing.

Often an organization may need to state very precisely what their expectations are from such psychometric tests. These are typically run as job analysis study to form quantitative, scientific blueprints for outcomes from different levels of employees. There is a whole lot of information on the internet dealing with the literature on how to make the most of such psychometric tests to evaluate potential and existing employees. HR uses them to the advantage of the organization by leveraging their knowledge of employees and guiding performances as per evaluation content.



Employable Education for All


ARD Yuva Connect

Awareness Creation for Employable Education

The term ‘employable education’ often appears to be a bit of a conundrum. It is well known that a person’s ‘employability assets’ comprise of three things. One, knowledge – what they know; two, skills – what they do with what they know, and three; attitudes – how they do it. And from here on begins a long list of detailed areas for study that can interplay or interchange to take you down the road to your focused area of working.

Since time immemorial children have been groomed for either becoming doctors or engineers. There was never any other worthy field for a well deserved work-life, other than maybe qualifying for a government job. Even now these three work-areas remain baseline aspirations for which we keep motivating our children. In this quest we often forget their basic skills and essential personal attributes.

But then also, not all of us can be measured on the same scale for occupation specific skills, specific or generic. Among other things we are also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the transferability of these skills from one occupation or business context to another for employability. Of late increased attention is being given to the development of vocational skills in identifying our niche areas of interest.

We need to create more awareness with regard to employer-relevant knowledge and skills and also attitudes that will allow individuals to move ahead in a self-sufficient manner. In a sense we need to help them realize their potential so that their capabilities may be exploited as assets in an ever growing market. There is obviously an important inter-relationship between assets and deployment.

Career management skills likewise can develop self-awareness of occupational interests and abilities. They can also let one be open to opportunity by knowing what work opportunities exist and what is required to make them work for you. Decidedly, decision-making skills remain critical especially when one needs to develop a strategy of getting from where you are to being where you want to be.

In the final count, it is the extent to which an individual is aware of what they possess in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes and its relevance to the employment opportunities available that will affect their willingness to undertake training and other activities designed to upgrade their skills. It is in this context that HERD Foundation explores opportunities to facilitate Employable Education for All.