In an endeavor to create a world-class workforce, the governments of both the countries – India and Singapore are taking up several measures and putting in constant efforts to upskill the existing labor force.. Through various plans and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that are being worked on, the commitment is quite evident and appropriate plans are being taken in recent months. PM Modi’s two visits to Singapore last year in 2018 resulted in the creation of roadmaps in various domains of science, technology, and innovation. Startups and fintech emerged as new areas of bilateral engagement during these visits. The two governments also signed an agreement to set up a Joint Working Group on Fintech. There were other agreements too that have been planned between Nanyang Technological University and India’s leading institutions for cooperation in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, academic research and space technology.
Moreover, Singapore has also begun working with the Central and State Governments to establish skill development centers focusing on various sectors. These centers of excellence are being equipped with modern infrastructure and technology. They will also drive best-in-class framework for vocational training and quality assurance. Let us explore more about what different preparations are being made collectively by both the nations in this regard to meet the demand for the qualified and trained workforce for making the youth get ready to cater to the growing need of a skilled workforce.
Skilling the Indian youth in Aviation
The plan to set up skill development centers is being inked by the National Skill Development Corporation of India's (NSDC) Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council in collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic and a Singapore-based private sector firm. A wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based investment holding company, Terra Orient Pte Ltd. - ‘Terra Orient Skills Academy’, will also support the establishment of an ‘Aerospace and Aviation Centre of Excellence in Advance Skilling’ in Bangalore. With the objective to upskill Indian youth in the aviation sector, Academies will also be set up in other places in India. These centers will act as regional hubs for the training of a new generation of employees to equip them for domestic and overseas jobs along with boosting business opportunities in the international aviation sector.
Singapore is known to have top ranking amongst various countries in aviation services including maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. Hence, the skill training will have the advantage of using the Singapore curriculum and standards for better results. These 'Centers of Excellence in Advance Skilling' will cater to sectors like automotive, logistics aerospace, aviation, and related emerging technologies.
Moreover, there is a high probability of better employment opportunities and better remunerative consequences post getting the skill certification. India's High Commissioner in Singapore Jawed Ashraf said, "These are all priority sectors under 'Skill India' and 'Make in India' programmes, which require a large workforce with advanced technical skills."
Setting up of skill centres
Singapore has also opened up three internationally acclaimed Skill Centers in India - New Delhi, Udaipur and Guwahati. Lately, the Assam Government and the Singapore-based ITE Education Services (ITEES) established the North East Skill Centre (NESC) in Guwahati on March 7, 2019, with the aim of providing skill-based training to the unemployed youth of the state. It would offer one-year diploma courses in hospitality - food and beverages, housekeeping in hospitality, retail services, and beauty and wellness.
Apart from this, hundreds of students have cleared courses in the areas of Hospitality and Retail segment in the World Class Skill Centre (WCSC) situated in New Delhi. Plans of expansion are underway for WCSC. Other states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha are also working with ITEES and Polytechnics in Singapore to develop such skill centers in the future.
One of the interesting things to note here is that this is one of the various other collaborations being planned between India and Singapore in the crucial skill development sector which has gained prominence in the bilateral engagement not only at the center but also at the state level too. Some of the other plans include:
- Collaboration between various Singapore-based entities like Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, Institute of Technical Education and Civil Service College in developing areas of urban planning, logistics, and infrastructure development.
- Setting up the first Indian Institute of Skills in Mumbai in collaboration with Singapore's Institute of Technical Education Services (ITEES) is in a discussion.
- Creation of training programs for employees of state government in areas of public administration and governance.
The good news is evident through the Singapore-India relations that are based on shared values and approaches. Economic and technological ties are extensive and growing specifically in recent years. Defense relations and political engagements are relatively strong and regular. The close ties that exist between India and Singapore historically in economic opportunities and convergence of interests on key issues can further help in creating strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people links for the workforce of both the nations.