Bridgestone Creating Safer Journeys by Upskilling Drivers. Wins CSR Impact Award
Did you know that more than 6 out of 10 respondents from the trucking community felt unsafe while driving on the roads due to a lack of skills and proper training, 9 out of 10 respondents from the same community confessed that they did not undergo any formal training before getting a driving license.
In India, there are 20 lakh truck drivers at present and the driver-to-truck ratio is below 750 per 1000. According to transport association members, there is a 20-25% shortage of drivers in the market. Hence fleet owners face a limitation on this front. The drivers resultantly end up working longer hours to fill the gap, which leads to lack of rest or proper sleep.
Further, drivers do not have access to proper training for navigating on the roads. They generally learn from the co-drivers who may or may not possess the necessary expertise to train others. As is evident, there is a considerable dearth of trained manpower in the commercial driving sector. This is one of the reasons India accounts for the highest number of road accidents globally.
Bridgestone India, part of Bridgestone Corporation, a leader in providing safe and sustainable mobility solutions company, has made it its priority to promote safer, accessible, and smart mobility for all. Amongst their many endeavors to create safer journeys, is a unique skill development programme named Project Sarthi that allows India’s youth to undergo continuous formal learning and training and have access to employment opportunities in transport sectors.
Apurv Choubey, Chief Human Resource Officer, Bridgestone India says, “As one of the leading organizations in the automobile sector; we aim to continuously try to advance this ecosystem by bringing better products, advancing infrastructure, and engaging communities through various training and skill development initiatives.”
Today, the project is spread across India covering 14 States and 35 Districts. It has created a pool of trained drivers having driving skills and certifications who can grasp better employment opportunities in the transport sector.
For their impactful work, Bridgestone India won an award under the Skill Development category at the 8th CSR Impact Awards, India CSR Summit. This is Asia’s largest CSR Forum hosted by CSRBOX and Dalmia Bharat Foundation.
About the Project
Project Sarthi is one of the flagship projects that Bridgestone India undertakes under its Corporate Social Responsibility commitment. Through this program, youth from across India are encouraged to take Heavy Motor Vehicle driving training and to develop their employability skill as trained and efficient commercial drivers.
Learners under project Sarthi undergo a rigorous 30-day residential training program on HMV driving at the Institute of Driving training and research (IDTR), Pune. This training module includes classroom lectures from experts, training on simulator software, training on vehicle simulators, training on the test track, driving on road, highway, uphill, and night driving. Two-day special sessions are arranged at the Bridgestone campus for participants to teach tire making, it's functioning, and safety tips which are considered as an integral part of road safety.
Training women drivers
The training program is free of cost which allows youth from marginalized sections oe society to empower themselves. They also receive soft skill training modules that include sessions on yoga, financial literacy, substance abuse, and gender sensitization, among others.
This program achieves the objective of creating a pool of trained drivers, who will also ensure road safety by using their skills. By encouraging and educating learners on safe and defensive driving skills, these trained drivers will be preferred when hiring by employers.
Learning through simulators.
The project is spread across India covering 14 States and 35 Districts. 82% of the participants are from Maharashtra. Around 53% of the participants are between the ages of 24-28 years followed by the age group of 29-33 years which is 26% of the participants.
To further upscale this program, Bridgestone India has recently tied up with Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC). Post this tie-up, two more centers have been started in Telangana and Odisha. Bridgestone has also conducted an Impact Assessment of the initiative, and the results are extremely positive.
99.5 % were not involved in any accidents after the training whereas 92.24 % of drivers who underwent the training want to continue HMV driving as their profession. The average joining income of the trainees has gone up to INR 15,000 from INR 7,000 and within a year income has gone up to Rs. 40,000. The project has made lives safer for those on the road.