What is EXPA?
-EXPA is an acronym for Exchange Participants Association. NCC conducts Youth Exchange Programs to various countries, where about 120 cadets selected nationwide every year travel to 11 different countries as ambassadors of the country for durations ranging from 10 days to 6 months. EXPA members are all people who’ve been on these YEPs, hence the name.
-Today, there are over 7,000 such “EXPAs” all over the world, aged between mid-fifties to still-in-college twenties, working in Defence, Govt., business and technology. An informal organization called EXPA has existed since the early 90s, with members meeting on a regular basis in annual and regional conferences.
-The formal registration as a Society happened in Apr. 2017, in Bangalore, Karnataka.
What is the CADET Program?
CADET – Comprehensive All-Round Development and Employability Training
The CADET Program is an experiential, hands-on Personality Development and Employability training for NCC Cadets, delivered in NCC camps over a two-day period, starting from 0830 till 1800 on each day.
What else has EXPA done in the past?
Over the last 25 years, EXPAs have been regularly involved in social programs including donations and infrastructural support during the earthquake in Latur in 1993, in Bhuj in 2001, the tsunami in 2004 and the Chennai floods in 2015. EXPAs have raised money for various causes (like the medical treatment of a terminally-ill cadet in 2016) and are regularly involved in the mentoring and support of young cadets.
How regularly has the CADET Program been conducted?
-EXPA has been running two-day and three-day training programs in various parts of the country since 2015. In 2017, we trained over 3,000 cadets in 16 locations (up from 200 cadets in 7 locations in 2015). Thereon to 14 camps with 3,000 cadets in 2018, followed by 6,000 cadets in 28 camos in 2019. We ran webinars and online camps in 2020 and 2021, going back to physical camps starting in Sep 2021.
-Over the last 3 years, EXPA has run the program in camps at Ahmedabad, Bagalkot, Bangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Devlali, Hassan (Karnataka), Junagadh (Guj), Nagrota (J&K), Mangalore, Moodabidri (Karnataka), Mumbai, Mysore, Namchi (Sikkim), Nashik, Puri, Sangli, Tezpur (Assam) and Trivandrum, among other places
How has the CADET Program been designed?
The training program and curriculum was designed by a team of professors and psychologists from Bangalore University.
It has been vetted and contributed to by various Officers of the Defence and has the reputation of covering over ⅔rds of the areas needed for SSB Selections.
Who are the Trainers of the CADET Program?
-The trainers are all ex-NCC cadets driven by the intention to give back to the NCC, since they have all been so positively impacted by their own NCC training.
-Trainers and facilitators are in the range of 21 years (people who have been in the NCC very recently) to the mid-50s (people who have been in the NCC as far back as 1979).
-Trainers are required to have been NCC cadets, must have participated as a trainer earlier or as a facilitator in camps and be a CADET certified trainer. Facilitators are people who support the trainers in the camp, are themselves ex-cadets and are aspiring to be Trainers.
-Some of them must have enough work-experience if they are to qualify as “seniors”. Each camp’s trainer-group has 33% seniors (people with a minimum of 10 years of work experience). The rest could be juniors (people between the ages of 20 and 35), but will have been through our C-TOP training program.
-They must have been certified at CADET Trainer’s Orientation Program (C-TOP). Nearly 150 trainers have attended/been certified via well-structured, residential, in-person C-TOPs.
-EXPA does not pay trainers for their skill and time in training. They are only reimbursed their travel costs to and from the camps that they train at.
How are Trainers qualified to deliver the CADET Program?
-Trainers are all former NCC cadets with anywhere from being students to over 30 years of work experience in various areas.
-There are trainer-the-trainer (C-TOP) programs that volunteer-trainers must attend and be certified at before attempting to train.
Beginning in 2018, the C-TOP has become a formal certification, in order to help CADET training scale effectively. C-TOP is now a two-day camp that potential trainers attend to be trained and certified at.
Why is the CADET Program available only to NCC cadets?
-For any effective training program, there are three big things that must come together: Trainees, Trainers and Location.
In this case:
1) The NCC brings the Trainees
2) The NCC provides the infrastructure needed on location, for trainers also
3) CADET Trainers do the training voluntarily.
-This combination is effective, inexpensive and scalable.
-The cadets themselves are a real representation of society as a whole, across economic and social sections.
What kind of feedback have you had about CADET’s effectiveness?
EXPA has had very positive feedback from both cadets and the NCC itself about the training. The most visible impact has been in the domain of awards and employment for trainees – a number of cadets from our first few programs have come back to us with testimonials about how the training program changed their ability to communicate and interact with people. This document has sample responses conducted in Feb-Mar 2018, of CADET trainees from 2016.
Are CADET programs conducted all over the country?
CADET programs have been conducted pretty much all over India in nearly 50 camps to date, in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim and West Bengal. We have also trained ANOs (i.e. teachers assigned as NCC officers in colleges) at the NCC Officers Training Academy in Kamptee, Maharashtra and Gwalior, MP.
Are there shorter or differently-scheduled CADET Programs?
All camp-based CADET programs are 2 or 3 full consecutive days, held all day, typically over a weekend (to help trainers manage their schedules better). We’ve found that this structure best addresses the needs of cadets, in helping them develop significant communication skills in a short time.
What language is the program conducted in?
The program is meant to improve the employability of cadets. Therefore, much of it is conducted in English to enable participants to learn the language as a skill that will help them target urban jobs as much as rural. However, depending on the location of the camp and its composition, trainers assigned are mostly bilingual people who either conduct parts of the program in the local language or help translate for other trainers. A lack of English skills will not be a limitation for participants.
What is the NCC expected to pay, in running this program at a camp?
Nothing, although there are related expenses. Trainers are not paid for their time; they are reimbursed their travel expenses by EXPA. NCC is, on the other hand, expected to handle all the logistics at the location of the camp, though: local transport from and to the closest railway station/bus station/airport, living accommodation for trainers and food during their stay. NCC is also expected to print and deliver the trainer material – 10-12 pages of exercises – for each participating cadet. EXPA provides the certificates for the cadets, usually delivered digitally.
How is the CADET Program funded?
The major costs of the program are in Trainer travel, Trainer training, technology and operations. EXPA spent about Rs.19 lakhs in 2019-20 on these items. EXPA raises money from contributors across India to help defray these costs. CADET Trainers and EXPA members themselves are significant contributors to this effort, but we’ve also raised other personal contributions and CSR money. Online contributions can be made here. We do not solicit or expect payment from either the NCC or the cadets we impact.