Statistics point out that India’s workforce is set to increase by 32% in the next 20 years, according to the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs. A skill gap analysis conducted by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in 2014 reports an incremental requirement of 109.73 million skilled manpower by 2022 across 24 key sectors. It is estimated that a mere 4.69% of the total workforce in India has undergone formal skill training of any sort compared to 68% in the UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in the US, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea.
To handle this skill gap that’s hovering over the economic development of the country, PM Narendra Modi had launched Skill India Initiative in 2015 to train about 400 million people by 2022. The project seems ambitious but the recent approval of Rs 12,000 crore by the Cabinet shows that the Government is taking serious steps to bridge the gap of supply and demand of talent. The technological evolution that is sweeping the entire corporate sector introduces new skills every day, and to keep up with the newer skill sets it has become essential for the Government and the industry to come together to find the perfect solution.
Under Phase 1 of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the government has trained about 1.97 million people against the target of 2.4 million. However, a weakened assessment system led to lesser number of certifications which stood at 1.27 million. Keeping this in mind, this year the government has introduced a quarterly review to enhance accountability. According to the guidelines of the program, “a third-party agency would be appointed to monitor the validation of all training centers. Detailed guidelines would be framed for the sector skill councils, training partners, franchises and the assessment agencies with respect to revenue sharing, split of the fee between them and other desired parameters.” More than 1,100 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) have been created in the last year with a capacity to train 173,000 people and last week the cabinet approved a national apprenticeship promotion scheme under which five million people are to be trained by 2019-20 at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.
India Inc has time and again pledged to assist the Government in developing the skilled manpower. And in 2013 the Companies Act mandated all organizations with a minimum net worth of INR 500 crores, a turnover of INR 1,000 crores, and a net profit of at least INR 5 crores, to spend at least 2% of their profits on CSR. Leading corporations have taken an active role in working with ITIs to strengthen them and improve the quality of learning outcomes from the institutions. Dr Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, “ If India needs to leverage its demographic dividend, vocationalization of high schools and the transformation of ITIs for market driven job roles should be taken up on a war footing. At Wadhwani Foundation we are building technology solutions to game-change the learning and dissemination systems and working closely with Central and State Governments to reach scale.”
Ambuja Cement Foundation has announced its milestone accomplishment of empowering 25,000 youth across the country through 16 of its Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Institutes across India. The placement success of youth who have undergone training at SEDI is close to 75% till date. Pearl Tiwari, Director, Ambuja Cement Foundation, said, “Through SEDI we aim to motivate youth, towards equipping themselves for both jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, thus enabling employment generation and economic progress. We wholeheartedly believe in contributing the Governments Skilling India mission and look forward to many more such milestones going forward.”
Samsung India has signed up with DTTE to set up Samsung technical schools through ITIs through the specially designed curriculum - Advanced Repair and Industrial Skills Enhancement (A.R.I.S.E.) programme. TVS Group in its TVS Training and Services offers practical training in automotive and engineering industrial automation, industrial manufacturing, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and welding training, finance and accounts, and communication and personal development. It also has an initiative to train rural youth for a range of jobs.
Aditya Birla Group Retail works with a network of skill training partners across the country to complement their classroom training programme with structured on-the job training in their stores across the country. SRF Foundation engages SC/ST trade apprentices in plant operations to provide them on-the-job training to complement their technical training. Tata Motors runs the Apprenticeship Training Program in Pune. More than 3000 youth undergo apprenticeship training in their in-house training department every year. There is a special focus towards students from SC/ST backgrounds. Over 29 tribal ITIs are approached for Job Trainee Apprentice (JTA) scheme.
Udyogini, which facilitates management training for women’s groups, along with INTEL Foundation came up with the INTEL – Udyogini School of Entrepreneurship, a school where all the basic nitty-gritties of business is taught to rural women in Hindi for three months. Small entrepreneurs are roped in as resource persons. The course includes training in business skills, life skills, math and language, examinations, internship, field programmes and placement. Business ideas of entrepreneurs are chosen for incubation.
Asian Paints has set up paint academies in different parts of the country to formally train existing painters to ensure that their existing skills are recognised and are improved on. Godrej Industries partnered with LabourNet to design and facilitate training solutions for construction workers to enhance their employability at its various sites. Godrej focused on four key trades - Bar bending, masonry, shuttering carpentry and tiling in five locations across India. The construction workers were diversified, semi-skilled and did not have any formal training. A structured training programme comprising Content Design and Pedagogy, Pre Training Skill Assessment, onsite and classroom training and assessment and Certification is being delivered. The programme has been successful in imparting training to almost 4000 workers across India within a short span of 9 months.
Mphasis runs ‘Nanagu Shaale’, which means ‘school for me too’ in Kannada. It is a programme for inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream government schools. The efforts are focussed towards rural areas through sensitisation of teachers, parents, other children and the community at large. In its first phase, Nanagu Shale has impacted 35,000 children with special needs in 1426 villages in four districts of Karnataka. This programme is in its Phase 2 now and aims to extend its reach to five more districts of North Karnataka.
For HCL TalentCare, they are focussed on addressing the complete value value chain of sourcing, skilling and staffing requirements for entry-level employments in key industries like IT and associated industries like Banking, Insurance, Healthcare etc. Ravishankar B, Executive Vice President, HCL TalentCare said, “We are creating a business model by offering “Productivity-on-Arrival” and “Just-in-time hiring” to our clients and a “career launch pad” to graduates. The Yong Graduate Program (YGP) for IT is a 3 month residential program for graduates coming from non-engineering background and transforming them for entry-level roles in IT sector. The training will be conducted in our state-of-the-art residential campuses in Chennai and Hyderabad Currently some of our clients in the IT sector are increasingly demanding graduates for roles like Application Support and Maintenance, Testing, Infrastructure Management etc.”
The industry and the government are on a mission tackle the talent agenda of the country. Needless to say, skill growth must be matched by job creation to meet the mission’s objectives. In 2015, the number of jobs created in eight select industries was 135,000, reports The Wire. This was much worse than the 421,000 jobs created in 2014 and the 419,000 in 2013. It is estimated that over 210 million jobs will have to be created by 2027/28 – roughly by 13 million a year. That’s a long shot if we count the statistics. But not impossible if public-private partnerships are forged at the right time, and technology can only enable it.