Vocational development should have a theoretical and a practical angle and employer has to be involved in both angles for the plan to be successful
Today more and more companies have understood their obligation in investing in creating a supply chain of talent for their companies and their industries
On Vocational Training
Meera Shenoy: Most of government training in the past, whether ITI or otherwise, has suffered from being “training for trainings sake” or done at the end of the year to exhaust budgets. The other problem has been many trainings have been in traditional areas without moving in pace with the new economy demands. Slowly, change is happening. ITIs are being successfully turned around in a PPP mode with companies adopting ITIs and overhauling outdated curriculum.
Arun Maira: Vocational development should have a theoretical and a practical angle and employer has to be involved in both angles for the plan to be successful. On the one hand, the industry needs to participate actively in the structure and design of the vocational curriculum at different layers depending on level of training required to each individual or group. On the other hand, companies need to provide ‘on the job’ opportunities for learning over and above the laboratory environment that a classroom can provide. That means that companies need to allocate resources to these initiatives, in terms of time, people and financial investment. Companies, both from private and public sector, need to co-create the complete process of skilling in a partnership mode with the government.
What has been done in the states?
Ramesh Zalki: The Karnataka Vocational Training & Skill Development Corporation has successfully trained one lac job seekers in auto, BPO, manufacturing, retail and construction sectors. It organizes ‘Udyog Melas’ in each district, where job seekers, training companies, assessment companies and employers are brought together. Job seekers are first assessed by accredited private bodies for skill levels and skill gaps. The ones who pass this first level of filtration – mostly ITI and school graduates - are sent directly for interviews with corporates and Government bodies, including the armed forces. The ones who are identified as having skill gaps are imparted training as per MES modules (Modular Employable Skills, a framework instituted by the Ministry of Labour) by private training companies like NIIT, Tally, L&T Construction and NGOs like Myrada. The state government reimburses the training companies directly for services rendered. After completion of training, the candidates are sent for interviews and the success rate of such interviews in 2009 was roughly 70%. Temp recruitment companies like TeamLease and Adecco are also involved on the recruitment side.
We attribute this success of this programme over previous initiatives to the fact that employers were directly involved, the role of third-party assessment and the fact that funds were directly paid out to training companies. After this initial success, we now target placement of 4 lac candidates in 2010, with an anuual budget of Rs. 100 crores.
Meera Shenoy: In my five years with the Andhra Pradesh, heading the EGMM (Employment Generation and Marketing Mission) under of the Rural Development Department, we educated a cumulative 280,000 tribal youths and placed nearly 75% of them. The current annual budget for this programme is to the tune of Rs. 200 crores per annum. Some of the innovative projects under this umbrella were the country’s first rural retail academy and the grass-root English, work-readiness and computer academies. With industry experts, we created new training modules, hired simple local teachers and transformed them to market linked trainers and invited companies to come for campus recruitment. India needs hundreds of these home grown models, where every gap in moving vulnerable youth from unemployment to their first job, is taken care of.
On Corporate Responsibility
Arun Maira: One of the main reasons for the boom of IT and ITES in India was the availability of trained professionals, massive investment from MNC’s and Indian organizations that were looking at the arbitrage opportunity arising from the availability of trained and affordable talent. When talent became scarce and cost of hiring also increased, companies began demanding that the government solve the situation. They were under the impression that talent availability and readiness was the government’s responsibility. When it comes to the government responsibilities, education is surely under the scope of the government’s role but in terms of vocational skills, readiness and availability of talent is a joint responsibility.
Today there are more and more companies that are looking at the long term view from the business point of view. They have understood their obligation in investing in creating a supply chain of talent for their companies and their industries. Some industries like IT/ITES that were opportunistic and looking at the next arbitrage opportunity may decide to move to other countries looking at the next arbitrage opportunity.
The solution for skilling in India lies primarily in industry taking charge of talent as part of their own supply chain. There are many companies that have understood and are taking charge of it like TCS or Infosys in the IT/ITES segment, L&T, Tata Steel etc.
Till May 2010 - Executive Director, EGMM, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
Currently Executive Director, Wadhwani Foundation
Member, Planning Commission
RAMESH B. ZALKI
Secretary to Govt. of Karnataka, Labour Department