LabourNet launches Capstone Project in collaboration with Christ University, Bengaluru

The collaboration aims to bridge gaps between the Development Sector in India and Academia, by providing students with skills and knowledge to make a real-world impact.

BENGALURU- For the past twelve years, LabourNet has nurtured over 1 million livelihoods across the country. They work to uplift informal workers by providing skilling opportunities, growing real wages, and enabling decent working conditions across industries.  They are now looking to involve young college students in their endeavor to transform the informal sector. Their flagship Capstone Project will give students a chance to work on high-impact interventions in a purpose-led and performance-driven organization.

The Capstone Project was inaugurated on 13th January at Christ University, Bannerghatta Road Campus. The inauguration ceremony was attended by the students participating in the project along with representatives from both the university and LabourNet. In attendance from Christ University included Dr. Fr Biju K Chacko, Director; Dr. Jyothi Kumar, Dean; and Dr. Prerna Srimaal, Coordinator for the BA Liberal Arts program. From LabourNet, the event was attended by Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Chairperson; Dr. Neena Jaju Pingaley, Head of Learning and Development; and Dr. Padmini Ram, Head, CLARE and Director, Urban Ethnographers.

The Capstone Project furthers the 3-year industry-academia relationship between LabourNet and Christ University. It is built upon the foundation established by Christ-LabourNet Academic Research Endeavour (CLARE). The success of that has encouraged LabourNet to open such collaborations with various universities, and hence CLARE is now the Centre for LabourNet’s Academic Research Endeavour (CLARE).

About the Capstone Project –The Capstone Project is an attempt at getting college students involved in transforming livelihoods. The project will involve participation from 35 final-year BA Liberal Arts students in a semester-long fellowship.

Designed as a hybrid fellowship, the project gives students access to the rigorous practical experience of working in a high-impact organization.

I have always had a soft spot for academia. University courses in India are great in a way that they provide a solid theoretical base, however, workplace skills are a completely different ballgame. Capstone is designed to bridge this knowledge and skill gap. When students complete the Capstone Project, our aim is that they will be more employable and industry ready. It provides hands-on experience with real-time problem-solving scenarios that we encounter at the workplace. We are excited about this partnership,” quotes Gayathri Vasudevan, Chairperson at LabourNet.

Young students bring with them a diverse knowledge base and different skill sets. The Capstone Project serves as a culminating experience where students meld their varied college experiences to drive impact at the ground. It offers them an opportunity to learn from industry experts and collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders.

Why the Capstone Project-LabourNet started its flagship Capstone Project as a response to two needs. The first was the considerable gap between classroom education and prevailing job contexts, which is making it increasingly hard for graduate students to find employment. The second was the growing need for skilled youth in the development sector, bringing with them new ideas and increased vigor to solve social problems.

The Capstone Project provides students with a chance to step outside their classroom and hone their technical and soft skills by working on real-time projects. It offers them the ability to put their managerial and leadership abilities into practice and understand decision-making in a professional setting. It allows them to bridge the gap between theory and practice by gaining valuable practical experience in the industry – something many graduates do not have.

In return, the organization has a lot to gain from working with students. These students come from diverse disciplines and bring with them new perspectives that allow them to contribute to the organization with ideas and drive innovation. LabourNet has specially designed the Capstone Project to involve students at all levels of the organization and every stage of an intervention. The organization is also aiming to introduce young students to the development sector and show them the rewarding experience of working on social impact projects.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Jyothi Kumar, Dean, Christ University, Bannerghatta Campus, said, “We have always strived to offer something new to students – be it as creating an interdisciplinary campus, our liberal arts program based on sustainable development or this new Capstone Program which calls for sustained industry-academia collaboration. We are here to give our students the best form of education for the future, and Capstone is a good example of that. I believe, in line with NEP, many new educational trends have to do with experiential learning.”

LabourNet’s Capstone Project is an attempt to build lasting relationships between academia and industry. It is a novel way to involve the youth in driving social change on the ground while gaining valuable practical experience.