Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma launched a coffee-table book and a documentary film on Aspire Meghalaya, a programme designed to enhance well-being and improve soft skills of tribal youth of the state in a glittering function marking the culmination of the first Entrepreneurship and Startup Summit 2020 held in Shillong on Wednesday.
Launched in 2019, Aspire Meghalaya is India’s first soft skills and well-being programme for tribal youth and is set to support them in meeting the challenges of three gaps that are hindering their employability: a lack of clarity on their aspirations, underdeveloped communication skills and a lack of emotional resilience to face challenges at workplaces and in their relationships.
The programme was initiated by government of Meghalaya and was executed by Avenues, Meghalaya’s pioneering life coaching social enterprise. The objective of the programme was to improve employability for the youth and empower them with employable soft skills, encourage talent identification and aspiration recognition at an early age.
CM Sangma said that Aspire Meghalaya has set new benchmark as far as empowering the tribal youth of the region. He said that he will engage with the Union ministry of tribal affairs and would apprise them that similar programmes should be held in different tribal pockets of the country.
“Tribal youth have no access to opportunities and facilities to improve their confidence and talents. A programme like Aspire Meghalaya will give wings to their ideas, thoughts and vision and will allow them to move forward in life,” the CM said.
He lauded the effort of Avenues and its founder Mark Laitflang Stone for his commitment and dedication to work with the youth and ensure that their talents and skills are recognised and given a platform to shine.
“I have been clear from Day 1 that our youth are very talented, inspired and really want to do many things, but face hurdles they feel they can’t cross. Aspire Meghalaya has become the effort to help them cross over barriers. Here, we’re looking at the individual and delving into their mindset and ensuring that they truly believe in themselves,” the CM said.
Avenues head and founder Mark Laitflang Stone said, “The programme builds upon the pillars of mindsets, emotions, communication, connection and recognises talent and aspirations.”
Participants of Aspire Meghalaya have shared positive feedback on their time with the programme. Theimon Dkharfrom Jaintia Eastern College, East Jaintia Hills, said of her experience,
“We have been guided on how to achieve our goals and how to prepare ourselves in certain professional situations. We have been taught about values of trust, respect and courage and we have been supported to be brave and to face our fears.”
Post assessment data reflect the positive impact that Aspire Meghalaya has had on its participants with the reports showcasing that:
• 99.85% of participants had identified a clear set of values.
• 92.53% felt confident about making positive first impressions.
• The number of students willing to participate actively in their classrooms improved by 300%.
• 88.76% felt better placed to express their emotions.
• 81.55% were prepared to deal with conflicts constructively in their friendships.
• 76.87% had identified a major goal to work towards.
• 89.44% had developed better decision-making skills.
• 83.61% had identified a personal leadership trait.
• Over 114 career aspirations were identified by participants across the state.
• 4,445 boys and girls had discovered a talent they could be proud of.
The success of Aspire Meghalaya speaks abundantly of the tribal youth’s need for such a soft skills training initiative that will prepare them for the challenges and opportunities that come their way after their academic graduation.
Here’s the documentary made by Aspire Meghalaya: