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Cover Story - The Facilitators View
Dilip Chenoy: NSDC is mandated to do three different things. We have to create and set up institutions in places where none exist. Second is to enable institutions to train people in a sustainable manner so that they are employable. So we are not looking at things such as grants, aid or charity. It is really a business model to help people break the supply gap that exists. The third element is concentrating on the area of standards and accreditation. Under the National Skills Policy, NSDC is mandated to set up sectoral skills council, which will do a variety of work like developing labour market information system to understand where skills are required, what kind of skills are required, how are people to be trained, to act as a bridge in the whole apprenticeship training program between the trainee and the industry, and also ensure standards for the skill provided. Then we’ll also look at certifying the agencies that will provide the training. So basically, we have to make the whole chain economically viable.
If you look at the magnitude, then we must have 150 million people trained over the next 15 years - that means roughly 25,000 people must be trained per day. The current industry efforts produce 100, 200 or 300 people being trained under their CSR programs. The scale is just not there. And the first thing that we are looking to do is create scale and scope of activities.
Supriya Banerji: CII brings in a regime between the industry and the government. Industry would not want to hire expensive skilled labour- especially the medium and small enterprises If you ask an MSMEs or the new-age industries if they would want to hire labour which costs more than the traditional amount but can deliver better quality, they would probably hesitate. And that’s exactly where all our efforts are concentrated - to make the MSMEs realize and bring in the acceptance of the benefits of having skilled labour. Unless industry pushes for hiring only certified skilled people, it will not create advantage. In fact, employers themselves should take initiatives to send their people for skill training and development programs. That is where CII has taken the responsibility to make that shift happen.
Around 250 ITIs were adopted by CII and were put up for adoption by the private sector. ITI is the immediate solution to the basic minimum requirement for skill development. Existing ITIs run by the government were not very successful. The challenge is for industry to completely turn around the way these ITIs are running. The whammy in India is that there are not adequate trainers and this is another area industry must work upon - bringing in new trainers and re-training the existing.
Dilip Chenoy: Currently, most of the training programs are seen as charitable programs or as CSR activities, or the programs are funded by the government. But actually this can be converted into a business model. If you look at the government programs, their aim is to go and get people. But sometimes its value gets lost because it seems to be free. When the whole system is so disparate, how do you bring in professionalism? The only way to do so I to make sure the user pays for the training, but it is done in a manner that those who are under privileged and cannot afford it can be given scholarships. If the training is job-linked, you can get him a scholarship or a loan from the bank and then the employer takes the responsibility of deducting ‘X’ amount from his salary to pay back to the bank. So this way you can stretch your period a little more. The employer may not take the full amount but may just take the partial amount back. This will also bring in a bond between the employer and the worker.
The other thing is to move to a model where a 3, 6 or 9-month training program is broken down into smaller duration courses and sandwich the industry learning and training. Because many people don’t want to go and learn skills for 3-4 months as they need to work. The loss of income during that period is a major deterrent for people from undergoing skills training.
Supriya Banerji: A large consumer durable company came to us and said they want to train all dealers who deal with their products. And they have a fleet of 40,000 dealers. They want to train the dealer staff not just for themselves, but also for the entire consumer durable industry. That awareness is probably coming in. Multinationals are picking this up much faster because they have done this in their home countries and other countries where they are present. Even big companies are becoming more aware.
The way we see it, manufacturing industry will be a little slow in adopting skill development because their needs are very different and difficult. Their needs are very reliant on machinery, which, because of changing technology, becomes obsolete very fast. So, the kind of training the manufacturing sector needs is higher. The services sector, on the other hand, is growing with the coming of sectors like retail, ITeS, hospitality etc. The demand for domestic services or office services is going to be huge in the future. Imagine the number of security guards India will need or basic car maintenance staff. So the absorption of skills in the services sector will be huge. But the manufacturing sector, that CII also represents in a large way will be slightly slow in adopting skill development measures.
The role of the CII will be to co-ordinate the needs of an entire industry and create programs in association with the NSDC to cater to the needs of the industry – all in an economically viable manner.
MD & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation
Deputry Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry
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