Published: 13th January 2021
How the SHE ARISE Program is empowering women from underprivileged backgrounds to secure a career in tech
Altran India, part of Capgemini, launched the SHE ARISE Program in 2018 and has trained and placed almost 800 women
Sneha couldn't find a job after completing her post-graduation in Computer Science in 2017. With a seven-member family, who solely depended on her father's income from farming, Sneha getting a job would considerably eased their burden. While she did apply for jobs, not having an engineering degree proved to be a problem. It was then that Sneha decided to enrol in the SHE ARISE Program. Sneha was trained and was finally placed. She now earns as much as her friends and colleagues who have an engineering background. But Sneha is not the only one. Hundreds of girls like her, who couldn't get a job after graduating or even lost their jobs due to COVID-19, are now being trained through this programme by Altran India, which is part of Capgemini, in association with NASSCOM Foundation.
SHE ARISE is the CSR programme of Altran. Speaking about it, Nuzhat Parveen, CSR Director, says, "We realised the need to penetrate Tier II and Tier III engineering colleges as most of the underprivileged women go there. The programme was based on a report on the engineering sector, which stated that most of the engineers remain unemployable. There was also less number of women engineers and women in leadership roles as compared to men. Previously, we had worked with IIT Madras on NPTEL and that had provided us adequate experience about engineering education. This led to the launching of SHE ARISE in 2018."
Nuzhat Parveen, CSR Director, Altran India
So, who can apply for this programme that is offered free of cost? "We are focused on selecting women from lower-ranked engineering colleges and those from a weaker socio-economic background. They can be recent BTech, BE or BCA graduates or women who have lost their jobs after working for five or six months. After applying, the candidates have to appear for a test where they are tested on their basic understanding of engineering as the course is on advanced computing," says Nuzhat. And what do they learn during the programme? "The curriculum includes coding in Python, Java and courses on Data Science, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity," adds Nuzhat. The training programme is quite compact and continues only for three to four months (450 hours), with eight-hour-long classes every day.
The programme was earlier only limited to off-campus in some major cities like Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad, but after the COVID-19 pandemic, they have shifted completely online. "We have had candidates from various parts of the country, including Tier II and Tier III cities," says Nuzhat, adding, "We have been leveraging technology to not keep it limited to online lectures but have integrated learning management systems and adequate field exposure and projects so that they are ready for the industry." The programme also focuses on developing soft skills among candidates like communication, presentation and even preparation for interviews. SHE ARISE has a 100 per cent placement rate, says Nuzhat.
SHE ARISE online classes | Pic: Altran India
To ensure that all their students could connect online, Altran worked with local communities and organisations. "We asked our candidates whether someone in their area had a computer or a smartphone and an internet connection, in case they didn't have one at home. Most of these families are aspirational when it comes to their children's education. They usually have laptops or smartphones," says Nuzhat. "But we have faced a lot of internet connection issues," she adds.