Our team has now been in Kolkata for 3 weeks, and we have learned and experienced so much. I am now much more comfortable here in terms of commuting to work, navigating the city, talking with Bengalis, and even dealing with the weather (sometimes pouring rain, sometimes hot and sunny, and always humid). I am especially happy to feel safe and confident traveling around Kolkata as both a woman and a foreigner, something that I have learned is unique about Kolkata in relation to other cities in India.
This past week, I went to Metiabruz 4 days in a row to talk with both the women working for iMerit as well as their trainers. My work here now involves training some of the iMerit women in XML, as many of them are anxious to learn new skills. Currently, they are working on a few different projects, including digital publishing and image tagging. I sat down with one employee, Shagufta, to find out exactly what she and the others were doing. The digital publishing project takes content from companies such as IEEE (a professional electrical engineering organization) and digitizes it to be used on different web and mobile platforms. The women at Metiabruz work on the first three steps of the project: zoning, quality control (QC), and proofing. Zoning is labeling each different section of the original file as either a header, paragraph, equation, etc. QC is ensuring that the zoning was done correctly, and proofing is going through each section to correct “suspect” or misspelled words as well as spacing errors for total accuracy. It was amazing to see how fast Shagufta and the others could zone and proof entire articles, even with just a couple weeks of training for some of them. She let me try proofing a page, and I was slightly embarrassed at how slowly I clicked my way through the page compared to them. The fact that these young women working in a small, rural office in Metiabruz are digitizing highly technical articles for such a distinguished organization is really fascinating to me.
In addition to learning about the iMerit workers and their projects, I also got to learn about the trainers this weekend at the Training of Trainers event. This was a two day event that had speakers and training demonstrations for both English/soft skills as well as IT for both Anudip and iMerit trainers. All of the trainers were so passionate about their jobs and learning how to appropriately teach the basics of computers, Microsoft Outlook, and HTML, as examples. One interesting point that was emphasized was the importance of knowing how to use keyboard shortcuts, which is a key skill for computer programmers. An employer from Aegis who interviews people trained through Anudip is hoping for over 100 interviewees and over a 90% success rate. It will be really interesting to see where Anudip students go next, whether to work for iMerit, a different BPO company, or start their own businesses altogether.
Overall, it has been great learning from both the students’ and employees’ point of view as well as the trainers’. I am looking forward to begin training the women in Metiabruz and help them to continue developing their English and IT skills and especially their confidence in the workplace.