Boosting plumbing skills in India
The 2019 Poul Due Jensen Social Responsibility Award goes to Grundfos India for their efforts to help young people from marginalised groups in both rural and urban areas acquire much-needed vocational skills, helping the Indian society to cope with demographic and environmental challenges.
Every year, Grundfos India helps 200 young people break out of poverty or crime and access a more prosperous future with a certified diploma and the life skills to either run their own start-up company or work with service providers. Through two project partnerships, school dropouts are trained to become skilled plumbers, and Grundfos India also helps some of the students find apprenticeships through its network of installers.
Vocational education changes lives
At the Swami Vivekananda Rural Community College in Tamil Nadu province, Grundfos India helps train 120 young people from the rural poor population.
– The students come from the increasing number of uneducated youth and school-dropouts from rural families that are unable to afford formal education. Through this course the young adults are provided with the necessary skills in plumbing and life skills to give them a decent livelihood, explains Sathish Kumar Nagajothi, Senior Executive – Marketing, who was involved in this CSR project at Grundfos India.
In Chennai, Grundfos India works with Rotary and Kohler to educate 80 plumbing students every year at a brand-new education centre.
– We developed a vocational plumbing course to enable youth in Chennai to take up industry-relevant skills training in plumbing. In collaboration with the local Rotary Club chapter and Kohler, we refurbished an old textile factory near our own premises and created a plumbing classroom with products from both Grundfos and Kohler, live demos and service stations. This provided the students with a classroom where they can learn from an educated faculty, well-versed with the latest technology and to experiment and practise with the latest pumps and sanitary fittings that are in the market, says Sathish Kumar Nagajothi.
The plumbing courses have empowered several young adults by encouraging school dropouts to seek vocational training, helping to create livelihood opportunities and to stay out of trouble or illegal activities and learn a skill that can give them a source of income.
– Society in general benefits a lot from more earning members and a reduction in the crime rate, which in turn helps the overall economy and quality of life. The Indian economy is highly dependent on the employability of its youth as by 2020 more than 65% of the population in Indian will be under the age of 35, explains Sathish Kumar Nagajothi.
More than money
The award jury highlighted that Grundfos staff actively participate in curriculum development and trainings and help the students find employment after graduation. About 15 staff members are connected in one way or the other to each project:
– In the Rural Community College, we’ve worked closely with their teaching staff to develop and implement a skill-development course and to expand their state-of-the-art plumbing lab and classroom. We continuously engage with the college to run training sessions and to get the students placed with GIN’s distributors and service providers, explains Sathish Kumar Nagajothi.
In Chennai, staff members are directly involved in giving trainings and tours of the factory, as Grundfos India directly sponsors the plumbing course. The 20,000 € donation from the Poul Due Jensen Social Responsibility Award will also be given to the Rotary Club in order to further develop this course and its reach.
Another important aspect of the initiative is that it addresses several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals directly with regards to quality education, economic growth and decent jobs, but indirectly also building the knowledge and skills needed to increase water and energy resource efficiency in the vast country. Furthermore, the training centre in Chennai is trying to attract young women to the plumbing school, a trade which is traditionally very male-dominated, thus also improving women’s possibilities for increased equality and economic independence.