Article: Need for skill up gradation: Srinivas Rao


Need for skill up gradation: Srinivas Rao

Srinivas Rao Cheedella, Managing Director, Laurus Edutech

There are different dimensions to skill development. The initiatives around skill development would have to be all encompassing and interlinked, and the skills you impart would have to be relevant to the industry. As a leading engineering sector focused skill development company, our role is largely to connect with the industry, understand their skill needs and work backwards to create programs that are industry led programs and embed that into skill development. This approach ensures that we are skilling for only those sectors where people are most needed in order to meet their skill requirements.

One of the big challenges today is the continuous evolution of technology. As technology is evolving, it is important that the skilled resources are continuously upgrading their skills to be able to operate with new emerging technologies. India today has over 400 million people who are in the industry and need to go through a skill up-gradation. The biggest challenge is for these resources to be able to take that time out at the cost of their wages and up-skill themselves. This has been a stumbling block and will continue to be in the future as well. One of the ways that organizations can address this issue is to facilitate people to be able to take a break on paid wages and enable them to up-skill themselves. Alternatively, the programs will have to evolve, such that up-skilling courses could be conducted onsite in a blended model that enables people to be at work and yet have an opportunity to up-skill. Mobilization of youth for training, building a brand image around vocational courses and job linkages continue to be other challenges.

There are several initiatives being taken up in the country to address the skills gap. A separate wing called PM Council for Skills has been setup where the Prime Minister himself is personally reviewing the progress of the skill initiatives. The government has taken up a very ambitious initiative of skilling 500 million people in the next 10 years. This is much higher than the population of several countries like the US, etc. There are over 17 different ministries taking up skill initiatives and besides National Skill Development Corporation has also been formed as a PPP (public private partnership model) where the government with the leading private industries bodies like CII, FICCI, Assocham, Nasscom have subscribed to equity with NSDC. NSDC has a mandate to skill over 150 M, about 30 percent of what Government of India envisages. NSDC today has funded over 60 proposals.

Laurus Edutech is a leading engineering focused partner of the NSDC and is setting up over 540 centers at a total project cost of Rs.54 crores. NSDC owns 27 percent of the equity in Laurus Edutech and the project that is predominantly for skilling people in hard engineering skills has a mandate to skill 1.1 million people and provides employment opportunities in the next 10 years. Further, we also work with various ministries like Rural Development, Director General Resettlement and other state governments in skilling resources as part of their initiatives. The students who get skilled are required to go through an assessment process. Laurus supports some of its clients in actually conducting these assessments and with over 80,000+ assessments, that Laurus supported, rates it as a distinct leader in this space.

Quibus Technologies, a subsidiary of Laurus Edutech provides skill technology, which helps automate all of the skill development activities and assists in monitoring and tracking. The application platform called LEAP that Quibus has developed, has been implemented in over 1000 sites making it the largest application deployed in terms of tracking and monitoring.

The quantum of investment that a person in the engineering space is required to make is directly proportionate to the complexity of the skills. The higher the complexity, typically the investment envisaged is higher. A candidate could start his/her career with basic skills that could generally get employable opportunities at the entry level at an investment as much as just Rs.5000 for a 1 to 2 months program and the higher-end skills like that of working on automated CNC machine etc., could cost as high as Rs.50,000 and upwards..

Largely, this fee for the training programs are met by the candidates, however for candidates who are underprivileged, belong to socially lower strata, etc., there are several government programs that either foot the bill or subsidize the fees. Employers yet have not been so forthcoming in terms of directly funding skill development initiatives, but have been investing into it in some form where unskilled resources are hired and trained to the extent they need to deliver on the job. This is primarily because it is difficult to source and hire ready to fit resources. However, some of the corporate have been supporting skill development initiatives through their corporate social responsibility arms.

A fully integrated partnership model is what works the best most of the times. The industry would have to repose trust and faith in its partner and provide all of the knowhow, content and other material that could help skill resources. This exactly works like the concept of “GIGO” in the computers world. If the transfer of knowhow etc., is part heartened the outcome is typically proportionate and might warrant further training at the industry end. The industry could protect its knowhow and process content, etc., by actually structuring a full proof agreement that enables protection and thereby repose faith and trust in partners to do exactly what they would do to skill internally, and thereby cause an effective transition of skill development to a partner who is specialized in skill development.

We operate a model called SIPP (Skill India Partner Program) where we fund part of the setup of a skill development center inside the campus of the industry. The objective of this program is to ensure the industry is able to concentrate on its business and leave the responsibility of providing skilled resources to Laurus Edutech. This not only saves industry players cost in terms of setting up and running such a center, but also frees up the time so that they can focus on their core.

Currently most of the industry is reeling with backlog on its various projects primarily due to non-availability of skilled resources. Today, the current capacity of skill development can only generate around 4 million people annually versus the industry need of around 12 to 13 million people annually and this gap is widening as the skill development initiatives have not picked up in full steam.

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Topics: Skilling, C-Suite, #HRIndustry

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