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India Needs Better Skill Training Mechanism To Boost Employability

Dearth of trainers, absence of a well-suited curriculum and lack of proper infrastructure makes students unemployable

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Skills have become an integral part of boosting capabilities and enhancing employment opportunities which are instrumental in building the economy and improving the society. The importance of advanced skill sets and quality resources has increased tremendously in the last decade. Unfortunately, India has just little over 3 percent of its workforce which is formally trained, whereas China has over 80 percent. 

Over the last couple of years, skilling has become one of the primary focus points for the government. This is largely on account of the skill crunch that employers face due to the dysfunctional education system that is churning out people who aren’t job- ready. Dearth of trainers, absence of a well-suited curriculum and lack of proper infrastructure makes these students unemployable. 

In order to bridge the gap, Govt. has introduced programs to skill the youth and prepare them for jobs. Also, Government has reformed the apprenticeship system to make it conducive for employers to create talent as per their needs. However, the adoption is slow by the industry against what was anticipated. India has just about 4 lakh apprentices with little over forty thousand employers. 

Skilling needs to be an integral part of the education system. This has been best demonstrated by European countries where Government, employers, academia and community have equal participation in making a healthy skilling ecosystem. They focus on skilling right at the early learning days of a child, thus building transversal skills which sets the foundation for quality education. 

Also, apprenticeships are an integral part of the skilling process, which is, in turn, increasing the employability quotient in the students and making them more relevant to the demands of the employer.  Not only large, but even small, micro and medium employers actively participate in apprenticeships. More so, connectivity to higher education makes it the best career route for the youth. Credit system entitles them to get lateral entry into degree programs. Tight governance ensures necessary checks and balances are in place to achieve the desired output. 

Today jobs are becoming more and more specialized which need multidimensional skills.  This has lead to employers paying more heed to capabilities instead of qualification The skill gap which is ever widening is also becoming complex in nature with every passing s day. Technology is transforming the jobs and the skills required to handle these jobs are also going through the evolution. Creativity, adaptability and decision-making abilities are becoming hygiene skills. 

Today’s jobs demand employees to have domain knowledge, be technologically sound and have strong management skills. Thus skilling is leading to the concept of upskilling and reskilling. While upskilling is mostly focused towards fresh candidates in order to bridge the gap between education and employment; reskilling is for the people in the job who need to upgrade their skills to remain employable in the market. Over the last one year, this has become a common practice by employers to keep their existing employee abreast with newer technologies and to create talent in the house for future job roles. 

As a country, we need to take a few more initiatives to make India stand out as the skill capital of the world which are:                                                                                                   

1.  First,  exposure to skilling needs to start early at secondary education and should focus on building transversal skills.  

2.  Second, we need to connect vocational education to higher education and  bring in more acceptability for this model from the community     

3. Third, Govt. should look for a public-private partnership to ensure scale and quality. This could even mean decentralization of authority and accountability.                                

4. Fourth, a blended mode of learning should be the way forward. To cater to the complexities of jobs no single form of learning will be sufficient. There has to be a blend between online, onsite, on the job and on campus for comprehensive development of capabilities.

5. Fifth, consolidation and recognition of all schemes and programs under one regulator as per NSQF is important as this will lead to the formalization of skilling, thus scaling up the numbers;  and ease of governance. The ambition of 400 million skilled Indian by 2022 isn’t far from reality, but it isn’t achievable until we have an equal participation from all the stakeholders.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Sumit Kumar

Sumit Kumar is currently overseeing the operations of NETAP is a Public Private Partnership of Teamlease Skills University, CII and NSDC under the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) of the Ministry of HRD (AICTE). Prior to TeamLease he was associated with Monster India as their regional manager.

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