Skill based education is not a choice but a need in India where the demand for skilled professionals is still very high the desire to get skilled is low. Learners, parents and society prefer socially acceptable qualifications in pure academic subjects. Youth still incorrectly believe that skill based education leads to low paid jobs and it is perceived to be meant for only academically weak students, school dropouts and for people in the lower strata.
Industry sectors across the board are facing shortage of skilled talent as there seems to be a skill deficit. Every employer seeks employees who have the skills needed to do a given job. While employers understand that many youth lack technical skills that come with education, training, or previous work experience, they do expect youth to possess work skills and soft skills needed for job success. These include ability to solve problems and communicate effectively with others and assuming personal responsibility for learning and attendance. Regrettably, youth still report to work without these skills. Families, who appreciate the relevance of these skills and help acquire those, enjoy a real advantage in the job search process. Sadly, many youth lack opportunities for on–the-job work experiences. This is especially true for youth with disabilities and other at-risk and disconnected youth.
Acceptance of workforce with vocational skills by corporate houses, government bodies, policy makers and the society in general is still low despite the fact that prescribed textbooks in schools or colleges have little or no connect with skills required to perform a task. However, with the Government setting a humongous target for skilling and driving industry/academia and multitude of consultations taking place amongst all stakeholders, it is paving the way for promoting skill building at the grass root level in high schools, colleges and universities.
In a nutshell, following ten points should be built into any framework for promoting skill development:
S Skills for all irrespective of age group or socio economic background
K Knowledge & application of acquired knowledge
I Industry linkages – the founding stone of success of any skill intervention
L Learning by doing in the real work environment
L Last mile access to skills by developing skill development centers in remote locations
Y Youth Empowerment in totality
O Organized sector employment and self-employment
U Unambiguous premium on skills in the employment market
T Training for employability and not for imparting skills alone
H Handholding youth in migration and settlement
We have just begun the journey of social transformation. For this journey to bear fruit, HR Managers will need tocease to look for people with formal but irrelevant qualifications, there will be a standardized way of assessing people and industry will reward people with requisite skills.