Nepal is a country of culture, art and craftsmanship. People learn traditional skills from their families, thereby passing on the cultural heritage of the country from generation to generation. However, people do not always have enough knowledge about products, quality, marketing and running a business. Some traders exploit producers and they are, therefore, becoming poorer. As a result, the current generation of young people are discouraged by the prospect of continuing to work in the traditional family occupations and are seeking new careers. However, the job market is becoming more competitive, especially for low-educated and underprivileged people. Vocational training is also becoming more expensive and marginalised people cannot afford it.
KTS supports people from an uneducated and low caste background, including physically disabled or destitute women. KTS provides vocational training which will result in practical and marketable self-employment in the three main areas of carpet weaving, hand knitting and carpentry. As many potential trainees from the countryside cannot afford the city’s high accommodation costs, KTS is developing living provision for them. This will help to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life in the rural areas of Nepal.
All the KTS training courses are run in line with Fair Trade practices and all products comply with Fair Trade standards.
A. Hand Knitwear Training
This is one of the best skills for people with only a primary-level education, especially women and the physically disabled. The training is for two hours a day, five days a week, over three months. Amateur knitters can also join the course to upgrade their skills. KTS advertises the training courses through NGOs, INGOs, national newspapers and local radio. KTS charges a nominal fee of NPR 150 (US$2) per month to those who can afford it. KTS provides all stationery materials and wool free of charge. After training, KTS offers job opportunities to all graduates who are interested in working for KTS. Any trainees who show real aptitude for the work are offered the chance to produce smaller items, such as socks, gloves and scarves, which encourage them to complete the training and work full-time in the future.
B. Carpet Weaving Training
KTS runs short-term, practical courses so that trainees can benefit quickly from the skills they learn. There is a one-month spinning course; a one- or two-month, on-the-job course; and a four-month weaving course. The training is very popular amongst the underprivileged as it quickly enables them to earn a living. KTS gives each trainee an allowance of NPR30 per day and offers a day-care centre for his or her young children. Older children are offered free education at the KTS primary school. The training programme has been self-supporting since 1994.
C. Carpentry Training
Carpentry is a practical skilled trade in underdeveloped countries as work is readily available. KTS runs a two-year course, providing 20% theory and 80% practical training. Each trainee is given an allowance of NPR700 per month to subsidise their living costs, as their families cannot afford to support them while they are training. During the course, students learn how to make many different types of furniture. The students take a carpentry Level 2 skills exam through the Centre for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT). More than 90% of our graduates have gone on to earn an income from the skills they have learnt.
KTS has been working in partnership with the RugMark Foundation, which rescues children from child labour, and the Shangrila Home in Kathmandu, which rehabilitates street boys, to receive vocational carpentry training. These two organisations underwrite the monthly allowance for the boys while they are training with KTS.