In April 2011, Milaap started a vocational education initiative for students, mainly high school to college graduates or dropouts, who need formal training in economic fields looking to employ semi-skilled workers. The focus of this training is on practical skills like accounts management, sales communication, customer servicing, and team management.
This program, called GRAVITY, was initiated in partnership with Grameen Financial Services Limited, one of India’s largest livelihood support organizations. Students at GRAVITY take out loans from Milaap lenders for their educational training with Grameen Financial Services Limited. Once graduated from the program, students find work and start repaying their Milaap loan.
In the first 6 months of operation, the Milaap’s GRAVITY education program trained 127 students, with a total funding of over INR 12.75 Lakhs. In total, our lending model has covered 220 students with an eighth batch underway. We are setting up an integrated system of training students, financing their studies, and setting up linkages with employers.
Some key statistics for the program:
- 99% of the students were placed in jobs within a week of completion of the training program, with an average salary of INR 5,500 per month
- Recruiters include reputed retail chain outlets, super-markets, micro-finance institutions, rural BPOs, and manufacturing facilities
- Healthy composition of gender in the program with 41% students being women
- Diverse group of students with 38% from minority communities or socially backward classes
- Successful placement of students who failed in their formal graduation coursework
- Trained 220 students in five different centers
Graduates of Milaap’s GRAVITY program have been placed in jobs at supermarket chains, cafes, rural BPOs, and rural financial services firms including Microfinance Institutions. Figure 3 illustrates employment statistics of the first three batches of 125 students who completed the training. Retail chains, which include multi-brand stores and cafeteria outlets, account for more than 50% of the placements.
The average salary of the students was INR 5500 per month. The student’s average monthly installment on their Milaap loan is approximately INR 600; therefore, these loans are quite affordable for the students. We have experienced 100% repayment till date.
Milaap’s GRAVITY program has been able to scale-up steadily because of a keen interest demonstrated by students who need specific skills to enter the work force. The student batches for the next three months have all been booked and Milaap has the available funds to manage this growth. We realize that a tangible link to employment is crucial to keep this interest among students. We have been working with students who have graduated from the program in their job searches and are working to build and secure relationships with potential employers to make this connection more concrete for future students.