Trainee and Trainer Profiles


Anjali Pillay, Bhilai, Chhattisgarh

“I believe in self-empowerment for women so that they can stand on their own in society. Being a Sai devotee, I work towards creating this awareness among the people. I think love with selfless service is modern-day spirituality,” says Anjali Pillay, who has been associated with Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programme from 2017. She is a Senior Human Resource
Manager at Bhilai Steel Plant, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). She has experience in providing training in Tailoring, Sweet box making, Candle Making (floating candle), Papad and Pickle Making.
In 2015, she got posted in the CSR department of SAIL and got the chance to do service through her occupation. Bhilai Steel Plant adopted 21 villages and she was part of the team which made “self-help groups” of 15-20 number of women who had gone through the training of sweet box making, candle making, old clothes mattress, tailoring, pickle-papad making, and marketing. In the past three years she has trained about 700 women.

S. Nagabhushan Rao, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh

S. Nagabhushan Roo, an ITI and CTI graduate, has been associated with SSSSO since 1972. He was the head of the institution of private training centers from 1980s. Apart from the technical know-how, he knows the nitty-gritty of administration of the training institute. “When I have passion to serve and share my knowledge, I don’t see any trouble,” he says.
Nagabhushan travels every day to SSSRVTC Srikakulam, for which he is the director. He has few faculty members and a caretaker to support him. When asked about the difference between other RVTCs and SSSRVTCs, he says “We don’t focus on providing only skills. We aim to make them better citizens. The students who join, participate in morning prayer activities, Bhajans, and Human Value classes, which develops their personality. I see a silent transformation taking place along with acquisition of skills”.

Scaling up

Vocational training programmes are fulfilling an important need for skills among youth in rural areas and for the unemployed and under-employed youth in urban areas. Scaling up such programmes will require studying the outcomes from the current initiatives, replicating the best performing models and, increasing the number of centres and skill offerings that can serve the youth and help them build long-sustaining careers.
As part of the Vocational Training Mission, SSSSO aims at increasing the number of trained youth to 1,00,000 over the next five years and also improve on their placement numbers and monthly wages earned. Potential earnings per year by the 100,000 trained and employed youth could add ₹1,000 crores (₹ tO billion) per year to the economy if all are employed or self-employed.
With greater efforts to trace trainee graduates and their employment status, SSSSO will be able to report more accurately on the actual earning history of the trainees. This is a challenge flagged by researchers when the outcomes of vocational training programs in India are discussed. Going forward, SSSSO plans to implement systems that will improve the tracking of graduated trainees so that their employability is determined more accurately and widely.

All India Meeting of Vocational Training Coordinators at Prasanthi Nilayam

One of the immediate goals is to build a Management Information System (MIS) that will help manage the vast amount of data generated across India along scores of indicators that need to be tracked in order to study its vocational training programmes. Such an MIS will help streamline data collection and management and, significantly improve the assessment of outcomes and impact of the vocational training programmes.
Towards the above goals, collaborations with different organizations, support of philanthropists, CSR support from corporates, and implementation partnerships with organizations already established in this domain of skilling will be critical. By elaborating on SSSSO’s vocational training programmes and their experience with various models, the Organisation hopes to establish the case for a multi-pronged approach to vocational training and skill development in this decade.


T. Latha, Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh

“We are a family of four members, husband, myself and two children. My husband is working as a TV Dish connecting person. Prior to Mag gam and Jardosi training we were facing hardships for family maintenance and were unable to provide quality education for our children.
With the help of BIRED in association with Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation,
Hindupur, we got trained in Maggam and Jardosi works for 45 days. This training helped us a lot and I am able to earn around ₹7,000-8,000 per month. With this I was able to manage my family expenditure and now we are able to give quality education to our children by joining them in good schools. With this we were respected among our relatives and able to lead dignified lives in society. Now I am also training my neighbours on this Maggam and Jardosi work and helping them. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to BIRED and Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh. I am very happy to say that my children are now attending Bal Vikas classes too.”

Vimalkumar, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Vimalkumar, a youth from Seliyur in Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, studied Class XI and could not continue his education due to family circumstances. He had to take up a job to help his father (who is a driver) and was searching for one. Fortunately, he came across a SSSSO Member who heard his story, suggested that he join SSS RVTC at Nanmangalam and get trained in Plumbing, Electrical and Two-wheeler Servicing. The SSSSO Member also said that the course was being offered free and was an integrated one. He could choose the work in any of the trades, the spectrum of opportunities was wide.
The member also brought Vimalkumar to the RVTC Nanmangalam. The boy was intelligent and diligent. He learnt the skills well. He showed extra interest in Two Wheeler servicing and worked on Sundays too. After completion of training, he was offered employment in a Two-wheeler Service station with a salary of ₹ 6,000 and, within a year, seeing his hard work and skill it was increased to ₹ 12,000 per month. He earned a good name too, and helped new students of RVTC in the practical techniques of servicing. He expressed his wish to start his own service centre within a year or two.

Binotiben Patel, Navsari, Gujarat

In August 2019, a young lady named Binotiben Patel took training for valuation of fruits and vegetables under the SSSRVTC Gandeva, Navsari District in Gujarat. After the training, she started her own business in 2019. She started preparing pulp of various fruits and juices of amla, pineapple, mango, guava, apple, etc. “I have learned everything from RVTC. They helped me set up everything. I have this business which helps me to be independent and earn my livelihood,” she says with immense satisfaction.

Select Trainee and Trainer Profiles


Cost Benefit

For an investment of ₹4.54 Crores, the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres have been able to train 30,000+ youth who, based on the average income data generated in this study, now have the potential to generate ₹286 crores per year. This is an impressive achievement on multiple counts:
  • The financial inputs to achieve such a figure are reasonably modest due to the organisation’s emphasis on volunteering by highly accomplished and skilled personnel.
  • Sa mitis absorb a chunk of other costs like rent and other expenses.
  • The student does not pay anything to be trained and therefore has zero monetary constraints to access the training.
  • The cost per trainee is extremely modest when compared to other national programmes.
  • The youth being benefited are from both urban and rural areas (where, especially, earning a steady income outside of agriculture is a difficult task);
  • The intangible gains for the trainees are substantial: Samiti members take personal interest in mentoring the trainees, spending time with the youth and sharing their knowledge.
  • Finally, and more importantly, the trainees are able to eam an income and support their families, which can be a game changer for them and their families, allowing them to stay in their homes if they wish to, instead of migrating to cities in search of jobs.
The benefits of the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes therefore are economic and social, psychological and spiritual. Profiles of a few trainee graduates give us a glimpse of such benefits.

Cost of Training

The various district level SSSSO units incurred an expenditure of ₹4.54 crores while training 30,187 candidates between 2014 and 2019.
Of the ₹4.54 crores expenditure, 58% was spent towards Tailoring programmes (₹2.63 crores} followed by 26% for Computer Courses ( 1 .18 crores), and 15% for Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical category (68lakhs}. Some Centres offer multiple skills, and hence the expenditure cuts across skill categories where multiple skills are offered.
The expenditure breakup is in line with the trainee numbers by category: 64% of the trainees are in the Tailoring domain, 21% in Computer Courses and, 5% in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical. The other skills being offered such as Spoken English, Food Processing or Agri-based Products are low-resource requirement categories (e.g. for machinery, training space, maintenance costs and raw materials} and therefore, even though 11% of the trainees have undergone training, the expenditure is quite low ( 1 %} .
SSSSO Samitis consist of a large pool of committed and qualified volunteers (Seva Dais) who undertake all organisational activities as an opportunity for selfless service. Thus, 71% of the trainers across programmes are volunteers who accept no remuneration. This is reflected in the trainer salary costs: only 14% of the costs over the last five years are salary costs for trainers hired for the specific skill type. Volunteers from the Samitis assist the trainers where required.
Operational expenses like rent, electricity and maintenance form the bulk of the expenditure (40%). Raw materials for the training are a fifth of the expenditure. Based on the expenditure reported, the per-trainee cost is extremely modest.
Volunteer and Paid Trainers fry Skill Type

Potential and Actual Earnings of Trainees

Based on employability figures of trainees from 37% of Centres, the earning numbers for 30,000+ trainees of the Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres have been calculated. The potential earnings of all trainees are calculated based on the average monthly salaries I wages reported for their categories. Next, the employability percent (trainees employed or self-employed] reported by 37% of the Centres is used to calculate potential earnings only for that percent deemed employed or self-employed out of the total sample. These calculations give a fair idea of the potential and actual earnings of the trainees.

To summarize the learnings from the above figures:
  • If all the trainees were employed I self-employed, they would earn ~24 crores per month I ~286 crores per year. These are potential earnings of the trainees.
  • Based on the reported employability percentages for each skill type, actual average trainee earnings amount to ~8 crores per month I ~96 crores per year.
As discussed earlier, since employability numbers are not known for all centres/trainees, ~96 crores per year is a conservative estimate, and earnings per year range from ₹96 crores to ₹286 crores at highest rate of employment. Since government training programmes also demonstrate employability rates of 30-40% or lower in some cases, this is a reasonable calculation of potential and actual earnings of the graduate trainees.

Comparison to Average National Income

The average monthly income of ₹8, 117 from the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes is significant when compared to the national income figures. In 2019, Government of India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had estimated per capita annual rural income in India to be ₹40.925 (₹3,410 per month) and ₹98,435 in urban areas {₹8.202 per month). According to the All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey conducted by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development} in 2016-17, the average household income per month in rural areas was only ₹8.059, and the average consumption per month is ₹6,646, leaving a surplus per month of only ₹1 ,413. This surplus often goes towards debt and loan payments leaving truly little buffer for growth, emergencies and other expenses towards health and education.

Compared to the national income data therefore, the value added to the lives of the individual youth trainees of the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes and their households is not only substantial but life changing.



Average incomes vary by skill type. Highest average salaries are earned by trainees in the Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical category, followed by Computer Courses.

A 2012 Tracer Study of Ill graduates by the Government of India found average incomes of ITI graduates to be about ~5,300 per month. Those who entered the Public Sector earned a few hundred rupees per month more than those who were employed in the Private Sector. More recent numbers have a wide range and vary from ~7.500- 15,000 depending on the skill category. Apart from ITI salaries, the average salaries earned by trainees of the Sri Sathya Sai VTCs and RVTCs can be compared to wages they would have otherwise earned.

Agricultural labour and daily wage work under MGNREGA are two options for RVTC graduates. Published agricultural labour wages in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana {where most of the RVTCs in this sample are) are about ~160 per day. If we assume 25 working days per month, an agricultural labourer could earn ~4.000 per month. However, work is not available round the year due to the seasonal nature of agriculture. Further, all the youth in rural areas cannot be accommodated in agricultural wage labour (and are not willing to engage in the sector).

MGNREGA pays about ~180-200 per day (varies by year} and could yield about ~4.000-5,000 per month. However, each rural household is allocated only 1 00 workdays in a financial year, and the days are shared by all working members of the household. Clearly, wages from this scheme will also not match up to the wages that young workers can eam if trained in the right skill and given the opportunities to find jobs and be self-employed. The trainees from RYTCs who qualify with a certificate in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical works can serve a wide range of customers in these areas and earn up to ~15,000 per month. This kind of steady income from utilization of these specific skill sets has been a game changer for the youth and their families. Moreover, the said amount is what they earn in the initial years. As they gain proficiency, they can

command higher salaries or higher payments for the services they render, unlike the standard payments received for agriculture labour or MGNREGA-based employment. Thus, the skills training helps them improve the standard of life and living as they progress in their jobs or skill-based entrepreneurial venture.

Average income reported is ₹8. 117 per month; however, some categories like Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical are able to earn higher incomes (average: ₹1 0,406). Reports from some of the RVTCs indicate that whether self-employed or employed in companies, trainee graduates from Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical domain are often able to earn ₹15,000-20,000 per month.



A recent survey by Team Lease Services found that only 18% of vocational training graduates found employment, of which only 7% found formal jobs. They concluded that vocational training programmes in India are not very effective in increasing the employability of youth. Compared to these statistics, the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes are delivering results nearly twice as well with 32% employability overall, and substantially higher employment figures in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical domain.


The Collaborative Model – Maharashtra

Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations Maharashtra have experimented with a different model of youth vocational training. Rather than establishing RVTCs, SSSSO Maharashtra tied up with other organizations that already have well established training programmes. Some of these are: Don Bosco in Karjat. lata Strive in Airoli, and ICICI Academy in Pune. The ICICI Academy in Nag pur is a facility to train female candidates.
The Sri Sathya Sai Samitis in various towns and villages identify rural youth that could benefit from the vocational training courses. Videos of vocational training programmes are used to acquaint the youth with the content. The Samitis recognized that youth do not have to go to distant cities for employment. There is a great need for trained and skilled labour in tier 2, 3 and 4 towns which are underserved. Accordingly, some of the job-oriented courses that youth are sent to after selection are: AC and refrigerator mechanics, electrical, welding, pump repair, appliances repair, office administration and home health assistants programme. Rural and tribal youth from the districts of Akola, Sangli, Aurangabad, Nashik, Buldhana, Satara and Yavatmal have benefited from the vocational training courses.
Once the candidates are selected and sent to the residential training courses, the local SSSSO Samitis continue to support those who cannot afford the costs with boarding and lodging. Thus, SSSSO ensures that all arrangements are taken care of during the training periods that range from three to six months. The host organization that conducts the training pays for the programme. The agencies training the candidates help with placements as well. Some of the trainees from ICICI Academy have received pay packages of ~2-2.5 lakhs per annum. Companies they have been placed in include Kotak Mahindra Bank, Kirloskar, Godrej, Videocon, and Haier. Welders trained at Don Bosco go on to earn ~8000-1 3,000 per month depending on their location, while AC Mechanics working as free lancers manage to earn up to ~20,000 per month.
The rural youth are unused to and unprepared for the regimented training programmes and the work culture required of professionals. Volunteers from Sri Sathya Sai Samitis ensure that some hand holding is continued even after the trainees arrive at the training centre, as well as after they join employment at various companies. Counselling sessions are held to prevent dropouts and moral support is provided during training and employment. Employed youth are encouraged to remit at least ~1 ,000 per month to their families. Consequently, families also convey their happiness at the thought of their boys and girls working as professionals.
Through this collaborative model, SSSSO can contribute by mobilizing youth in rural areas and leverage the strength of already established training academies whose vast networlk of thousands of companies help with successful placements of trainees. About 90% of the trainees go for corporate employment while the remaining are self-employed. So far, 840 youth- both boys and girls-have been selected and sent for training through this model by SSSSO. Access to such resources for rural youth, especially from tribal areas, can be a game changer for their own as well as their families’ futures.

Skills Offered

More than 40 skills are offered between the 169 Centres. Most of the Centres offer one skill; 39 Centres offer two or more skills. The groups below (called “primary skill groups”) are created for ease of analysis. A Centre offering Tailoring training may also have a computer course (trainees could be different or same). A RVTC offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills may also be offering Spoken English, Masonry or Carpentry.

The women’s wing (Mahila Vibhag) of SSSSO generally offers training on Samiti premises or in space donated by volunteers I members. 71% of the trainers in the Tailoring training domain are volunteers from the Samitis (231 volunteers) and only 96 are paid volunteers (29%). For nearly five decades, Tailoring has been an established training programme in SSSSO and therefore, it has scaled up pan-India over the years. Typically, these are delivered through VTCs in urban areas and towns where Sri Sathya Sai Samitis are functioning.

‘Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical’ is a broad category that encompasses multiple skills offered by RVTCs. Targeted at rural youth, predominantly male, this category offers a variety of skills that help young men to either find jobs in these fields or, to be self-employed in the village(s) they come from. Many RVTCs offer multiple skills in this domain, so that the youth are well equipped to earn an income by offering various services.

The figure above provides details of skill offerings by the Centres. Of the 122 Centres offering Tailoring and associated skills, 97 offer this skill alone. Another 14 offer Computer courses at the same Centre; 5 offer Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills and 17 offer other courses. Similarly, of the 16 RVTCs offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills, 2 offer computer courses and one offers tailoring and associated skills. Together, the 169 Centres have trained 30,187 candidates over the last six years.

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