Can you imagine being selected out of 400,000 candidates for a life changing opportunity? Can you imagine attending a 3 week course by the British Council without having to pay a penny? Have you ever attended a course where the certificate was handed to you personally by legendary cricketer and former India cricket captain, Kris Srikkanth?
That’s exactly what happened to the 23 first graduates of the fully funded Rin Career Ready Academy! They were the lucky few who had been given the opportunity to attend a 3 week intensive course to help them improve their English and get their dream job! Little did they know that this opportunity was going to change their skills and attitude towards learning forever.
Rin Career Ready Academy was the brain child of Rin (Unilever). They knew they wanted to give something back to the people of South India, who had made them so successful. They knew that many young people were held back in their careers because they lacked effective communication skills. They immediately realised that they had to partner with the very best, and quickly settled on British Council!
If they were excited, we were ecstatic. This was right up our alley and sat well with our values, ideas and plans for South India. Together, we created one of the most innovative and exciting programmes our team had ever been involved in. We listened to their ambition and we doubled it! We integrated the best of our English offer- Digital resources, which would reach out to hundreds of thousands of learners, Aptis to assess language skills and face-to-face training for 200 learners- a high impact end to the whole intervention.
When the British Deputy High Commission heard about the project, the High Commissioner, Bharat Joshi, was keen to support the cause. As a result, the training for the pilot batch happened at the lovely High Commission premises in Chennai. The students were absolutely floored when they saw their classroom!
The final participants were a mixed bag – a chef, a social worker, a housewife who suddenly has become the sole breadwinner after her husband had an accident – the only thing they all had in common was their desire to learn and turn their lives around. Over the 3 weeks the 23 students and their hardworking trainer, Veena, became a real family. The students travelled from afar, leaving home early in the morning to reach BDHC on time. Their punctuality, dedication and discipline during the entire course was exemplary!
The 3 weeks flew by with innumerable CV drafts, mock interviews, fun, games, and lots of hard work. Before we knew it, the last day of the course arrived with the biggest challenge yet looming large. Every candidate had an opportunity to put their skills to the test and interview for real jobs.
D-day kicked off with interviews for top retail and sales jobs. After all the practice sessions in the nets, it was finally time for them to march out of the pavilion and onto the field. It was truly their time to shine and we couldn’t have been prouder!
Much like in our beloved cricket, this series couldn’t end without a presentation ceremony to honour the star performers. And to make sure our heroes got the recognition they deserved, top representatives from all the teams were there to cheer them on, including Mei-Kwei Barker and Stephan Roman, from the British Council team; Tammy Sandhu, representing the High Commission and Meha Parekh from the Rin Brand team. These VIP dignitaries, headlined by Cricket legend Kris Srikkanth in his keynote speech, further inspired, encouraged and motivated the learners on their continued path to success.
Certificates became trophies representing the blood, sweat and tears that had gone into this massive achievement and were handed out amidst much fanfare.
Here’s what some of the learners had to say about the programme:
D. Yuvaraj “ I am now confident to speak in English after attending this course.”
K Madan Kumar, “I have gained so much during this course, I have improved in email writing, spoken English, language etc”
Padma Priya Latha – “I wish my children get an opportunity to get trained like this”
Selvi–“ I am not scared any more, I talk to my family members in English, teach my kids what I learned here during the course. I am confident to go and get a job any were. With the confidence I got here, I have enrolled myself for computer classes. During this course I made friends, which I never thought I would do”
Jagannathan S – “We don’t want the training to end! I am very happy I got an opportunity to get trained”.
Jagan didn’t want the training to end, and we assured him that this was not the end but the beginning… Over half of our participants had been offered jobs and the others were well on their way to a new life, equipped with tools for success!
The journey continues as we travel around the other cities to touch more lives…. Watch this space….
Post by: Sitharay Nadine Krishnan