– From dreams to reality
BANGALORE and NAGAPATTINAM, India, Aug. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Freudenberg puts diversity into practice and encourages women to move forward in their professional lives. Dr. Chitrakala Mohan, an electrical engineer working at the Freudenberg Training Centre in Nagapattinam, India, is a prime example. Despite the weight of social pressure, the 39-year-old earned a doctorate, and now motivates her own female students to aspire to a life of equality. As of August 1, she took over as ‘Head & Principal’ of the Training Centre.
Household chores and raising children in India are both still seen as traditional duties of women. Despite equal rights enshrined in law, vocational training or even university attendance are often not within most women’s grasp. Perseverance and tenacity are an absolute must for those with their heart set on an academic degree. Similar was the journey for Chitrakala Mohan, an engineer at the Freudenberg Training Centre, Nagapattinam. The journey to gain a doctorate was an arduous one for her who recently took over the management of the Training Centre.
Raised as the eldest child in a middle-class family, Chitrakala’s parents precisely understood the role education would play in their daughter living an empowered life. They invested in good schools to give their child the best possible start to her career. “Even then, I was thrilled by technology,” says the 39 year old. In 1999, she began studying electronics and electrical engineering in Madras. After graduation, she started her professional career as a lecturer at an engineering school. “I wanted to give something back to my parents and help them finance the education of my two younger siblings,” Chitrakala continues. “From 2008 onwards, I could devote additional time to my postgraduate studies in power electronics and drives.”
Chitrakala is now married and has two children of her own, aged nine and six. In 2016 she decided to do a PhD. “A married mother with a career – and a PhD on top – entails negotiating many obstacles,” she explains. “But was very determined and thanks to my husband’s full support, I coped well.” Over four and a half years, mostly in the evenings and at weekends, she conducted research on multilevel inverters. Alongside, there were many research trips too. “We live in Nagapattinam – a small place. Advancing my career often meant being away from home,” Chitrakala continues. Finally, in December 2020, she was at long last able to hold the coveted PhD certificate in her hands. Dr. Chitrakala is an inspiration for women apprentices. With the pandemic raging in India, she remained undeterred in the pursuit of her PhD and continued with her teaching. Midway through her research in 2018, she joined the Freudenberg Training Centre in Nagapattinam. Freudenberg supports women in realizing their career plans and assisted Chitrakala with her doctorate. As a result, the young Indian woman taught natural sciences and electronics part-time, freeing up more space for her scientific research. Freudenberg originally established the Training Centre in 2004 following the devastating tsunami. The Centre’s goal is to provide young people with apprenticeships and help them qualify for a technical profession that will shape their own and the country’s future. Every year, roughly 120 young people receive theoretical and practical training at the Centre for one to two years, along the lines of the vocational training system in Germany. So far over 700 young people have received professional training to start off their careers as welders, fitters, machinists, mechanics (motor vehicle) and electricians.
Over the years, the training program has enjoyed considerable success and is today certified by the National Council for Vocational Training, known throughout India for its stringent standards.”I also had an amazing role model,” she explains. “If there’s one thing I would pass on to our students, it’s the words of our former president, Abdul Kalam: “Dream, dream, dream! Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.” “I love getting young people passionate about technology,” Chitrakala explains. Increasingly, she says, there are more and more girls in the classes. “I’m incredibly proud to work for a company which is committed to equal opportunities.” Esther Loidl, Freudenberg Management Board Member and Chief Human Resource Officer agrees with the Indian national: “A major strength at Freudenberg is diversity in action around the world. To the degree that we support women to develop their professional potential, we also benefit as a company.” Georg Graf, Freudenberg Group Regional Representative for India, also congratulates Chitrakala on her success. He adds, “The Freudenberg Training Centre in Nagapattinam is a live example of our Freudenberg values. Under the lead of Dr. Chitrakala, FTC will shape many more life stories of our students while providing vocational training and life skills for a better future.”
In the wake of the devastating tsunami in December 2004, Freudenberg built a Training Centre in Nagapattinam in the south Indian province of Tamil Nadu. It officially opened in 2009, with a vision to provide career and skills-oriented vocational training to young people, contributing to the creation of a sustainable future and bringing perspective to peoples’ lives.
Built on an area of 13 acres, the Freudenberg Training Centre runs state-approved courses in welding, fitting, machining, motor mechanics and electrician trade. It has since obtained approval from the National Council for Vocational Training which has strict standards and is widely recognized throughout India. The initiative highlights Freudenberg’s long-term thinking and vision.
In helping a region recover from a devastating natural disaster, Freudenberg wanted to do more than just rebuild. The company wanted to make things better for the long-term. 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of Freudenberg’s Training Center in Nagapattinam, which helped change lives after the devastation left in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and continues to offer a brighter future.
About Freudenberg India
Freudenberg has held business ties with companies in India for more than 90 years. The Group has 13 production sites around India and employs around 3,000 people at 50 locations. https://www.freudenberg.com/company/locations/freudenberg-in-india
About Freudenberg Group
Freudenberg is a global technology group that strengthens its customers and society long-term through forward-looking innovations. Together with its partners, customers and research institutions, the Freudenberg Group develops leading-edge technologies and excellent products and services for about 40 markets and for thousands of applications: seals, vibration control components, technical textiles, filters, cleaning technologies and products, specialty chemicals and medical products.
Innovation strength, strong customer orientation, diversity, and team spirit are the cornerstones of the Group. The more than 172-year-old company lives by its core values: a commitment to excellence, reliability and pro-active, responsible action. In 2020, the Freudenberg Group employed some 48,000 people in around 60 countries worldwide and generated sales of more than 8.8 billion Euros. For more information, please visit www.freudenberg.com
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