Our research with KPMG (India) supports the government’s well reported view that 500 million skilled workers are needed by 2022. In fact, we believe that industry demand will outstrip that if the economy continues to grow towards current expectations. But there is insufficient capacity to provide the training required, not enough adequately trained teachers, and in many cases neither the right courses nor course materials available for teachers and trainees to use. I would doubt that anyone involved in skills education and training is satisfied yet with the progress that has been made. But no one should be in any doubt that we are all committed to this cause, from Government and NGOs to training and education services businesses like ours.
Learners traditionally have not placed the same value on vocational education as compared to academic education - the ‘parity of esteem’ issue. But this is changing as well. We are supporting the government’s efforts to create qualification frameworks that enable learners to jump off vocational routes onto academic ones and back on again if they wish, topping up their training as their life chances develop. Capacity and consistency of approach is being addressed through investment in training businesses and Sector Skills Councils by NSDC, through PPP investment into ITIs, and through the sheer hard work of entrepreneurial training companies. We do need to ensure quality while we rapidly expand training provision, or the benefits will not be felt.
Of late, we are seeing the trend of employers coming forward to make the investment in training on behalf of their employees, though they remain a minority. We are also seeing some innovative hybrid models where the employer provides a loan for the training and on successful completion deducts the cost of training over time from their new employee’s salary. For learners to be prepared to pay for themselves, they need to see direct and immediate benefits from the investment, and usually this comes from aspirational sectors like IT or BFSI. Our ambitious and innovative train-the-trainer program is designed to address this, and we are using learning technology for both trainers and learners to ensure that we can scale up, while maintaining consistency and quality.
Through a network of over 80 centers across 15 states, our training business IndiaSkills has delivered training to tens of thousands of learners across a range of sectors and qualifications. For example, we train in retail, hospitality, banking & finance, construction, security, air-conditioning and refrigeration and auto, to name a few.
A very good example is our work with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, DMRC, which was then facing some safety issues on worksites and so they decided to adopt the highest standards of safety for their employees. They partnered with IndiaSkills to develop and deliver a skills-based course - ‘Certificate in Safety for Metro Transport Maintenance.’ Over 2000 employees have been successfully trained to date and employee confidence levels in the workplace have increased to 97 percent. We have done a lot of work with Shoppers Stop too. IndiaSkills delivers retail skills course through Shoppers Stop’s existing trainer and training center network, at the workplace. A significant improvement in staff retention and productivity has been reported, with a 95 percent satisfaction score with the learning inputs from participants.