Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | November 10
“Along with many other aspects of traditional work ethics, ‘skilled labour’ has been forsaken in the Naga society wherein jobs like plumbing, sewer maintenance, carpentry, welding, etc., are not seen as viable jobs primarily because society does not consider them worthy of being celebrated as decent jobs.”
It was this observation that drove three young men- Zacükho Thingo, Pursunup Jamir, and Chete Thele to form ‘Wisdom Company’ in the year 2018 with the dismal realization that the construction sector in Nagaland has been running because of the thousands of non-locals from other states who migrate to our state for employment while our people remain jobless and unequipped, lamenting over the lack of prospects.
Pointing out that for more than half a century, Naga people have valued position and status over hard work, discipline and commitment, the trio decided to step out and do something about it instead of waiting for a change. They recognize that many fresh graduates with high educational qualifications end up with jobs where experience is not a prerequisite and end up with jobs they are overqualified for, contributing to a growing mismatch between job seekers and job availability, and eventually unemployment.
However, on deeper introspection, they believe that there is no skill which a graduate cannot learn within three months. The primary cause of the skill gap in Nagaland, they point out, is internal with the definition of a good job being largely dictated by society’s expectation.
“There are plenty of opportunities but why we don’t recognize them is because we don’t see them as jobs. We have been conditioned to think that a college degree is the only way to secure a stable future. We need to be reminded of the time when skilled tradesmen were seen as role models. The skill gap is not just about the gap in employability but it is also a gap in outlook,” they articulate.
Also speaking to The Morung Express, Vepo Thingo, who is in charge of the Technical Department in the company, says “we believe that manual work does not just create employment but transforms the feeling of ‘being unemployed and feeling really hopeless’ to a renewed zeal for life.”
Emphasizing on the need to become self-dependent, he highlights that they have been focusing mostly on manual construction work wherein the company ropes in unemployed Naga youths and train them for a couple of months, starting with repair works in their own homes. “Initially we started with jobs like painting and carpentry. We have now started to diversify,” he shares.
In the last two years, he observes that these young people have started to take responsibilities of their own lives as a result of being able to do something worthwhile with their lives.
A civil engineer by profession, Vepo Thingo also puts across that it is not just young lads who are involved but women as well, who are usually employed for the area of designing and management, book keeping, etc. He, along with two others—a civil engineer and a B.Com Graduate are taking care of the Technical aspect.
“Our main vision is to play whatever part we can, to contribute towards making Nagaland self-sufficient especially in the construction sector,” he says. Towards this end, he also feels there will be an increase in the field while putting across that “these days, I think there has been a push for people to go into entrepreneurship, having realized the limitation of government jobs.”
Wisdom Company is currently in the process of developing a retail shop in Mohonkhola, Kohima, which will also serve as their workshop and office as well. Wisdom Company offers engineering services such as architectural designs, planning, structural analysis, 3D modeling, cost and budgeting, project report apart from works such as painting, plumbing, wood-working, tiling, electrical wiring, roofing etc.