The de facto accepted target by government and industry alike is that India has to skill 500 million people over the next 10 years to maintain a healthy 9 to 10 per cent growth. Herein lie both the opportunity and the challenge. In spite of the obvious demand for skilled workers, there is an inherent stigma with vocational training for most people. As my friend Anubhav Singh, banker, social observer and philosopher put it succinctly, in a country where education is undertaken for the sake of education or for “class upgradation”, people continue to opt for degrees that do not necessarily lead to jobs.
The government is recognizing the need to bring changes to the existing education system and is also planning to introduce mechanisms that allow for structured movement between vocational and academic studies. But these changes are yet to be incorporated. Companies are struggling to find quality talent at entry level positions. This skill gap is the window of opportunity for private players in the skilling industry. In this journey, private players will have to identify early on as to who their real customer is (employer or candidate), how their business model can get the quality-cost-scale balance right, and most importantly, who is going to pay for the skilling programs. This journey is a marathon where only those with the muscle to sustain in the game long enough will stand to see the fruits of their efforts.
In this cover story, People Matters attempts to give a snapshot of the entrepreneurial side of the industry of skilling: its players, its challenges and its opportunities. India’s Skilling Industry: In Need of Synchrony is a continuation of our editorial efforts to capture this segment’s journey year-on-year.
This issue also brings to you a conversation with M. Damadoran (Retired IAS and Former Chairman, SEBI, IDBI and UTI) and his unique journey of risk-taking and perseverance to turnaround two large public sector banks.
In our regular sections, Elango R. presents a refreshing thought on how we stand to miss enjoying the present by focusing too much on the past; and Vivek Paranjpe shares his out-of-the box yet practical advice on the challenges raised by our readers every month. In the section “Creating Great Workplaces” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Prasenjit Bhattarcharya shares insights from this year’s “India’s Best Companies to Work For in 2011” study and introduces the special issue and yearly book that People Matters will release in August 2011.
As we do every year, this month carries the HR Technology Special. This special supplement includes the latest trends in HR technology and a listing of products for key business decision-makers.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions; do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.