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An awakening towards a better and skilled future

As India, a country with diverse people, awakens itself to the imperative need for skilled man power, there are efforts made and steps taken in the field of vocational training and skill development. There is a distinct disparity between the growth rates of skilled man power and the growth rates of the industry which flawlessly leads to unemployment of youth.

According to a Planning Commission report, at present, only 10 per cent of the workforce in the country has some form of skill training (2% with formal training and 8% with informal training). This is greatly low when compared with countries like Korea (96%), Germany (75%), Japan (80%), and the United Kingdom (68%). There’s more to the facts; 80% of the new entrants into the workforce do not have any prospect to undergo any kind of skill training (Planning Commission, 2008).

To discern the biggest problem plaguing us and our society, it is important to get to know the difference between numbers of the youth unemployed and the vacant opportunities in the job market. According to the facts, 90% of employment opportunities require a skill set, but the misfortune is 90% of our schools / colleges rely on the text book knowledge in terms of solutions towards education and employability. The quality of education is noticeable in the low incomes and unemployment rates of our country with 45% of graduates making less than Rs 75,000 per year. The low employability quotient is the biggest reason for such a drawback.

Formal education is important, but the solution to the problem of unemployment amongst youth in India is waking up to the need of skill development and vocational training. Unfortunately, the mindset of Indians towards vocational training and skill development is extremely negative and is considered as a waste of time and resources than compared to the formal education and courses. It is important to identify the next phase of growth in accordance with the relevance of education in the job market and to create partnerships between public administrations, suppliers of educational services and civil society.

As a democratic nation we are clearly making a paradigm shift towards the skill development sector. The skill-demand gap is highlighted in the India Labour Report of 2009, in which around 13 million new entrants join the workforce every year, but the existing formal vocational training capacity has been accessed by only 1.3 per cent of these—or less than 0.2 million people. The chief minister of Delhi is also aware of this demand-supply gap and on a teacher’s day gathering addressed the need to make vocational training a part of the curriculum of the formal education system.

Countries like UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand etc., have undertaken various initiatives to improve the skill sets of youth, to walk on the similar path of success and we, as a nation, also have to build awareness about the skills development sector in India.

To start with, we need to study the governance and strategy employed by the Sector Skills Council (SSC) in UK and implement the strategies with altercations to our needs in India. SSCs in UK are designed to build skills system in accordance with the employer needs. In India, to supplement the formal education a base level vocational education can be imparted in the curriculum above a certain grade.
A very interesting apprenticeship system is witnessed in Germany which is commonly referred to “the dual system of education” as it combines theory with practical training and on-the-job experiences as well. Larger companies go for in-house trainings of their employees whereas; smaller ones share the skill development trainings at several training centers with other companies. The basis of this initiative is strengthening information services and counseling by recognizing the significance of vocational training in a formal education system.

The fact is, it is something that can’t be fully adapted in India, but a vocational training initiative of this extent will allow skills development companies like Centum Learning, IL & FS, Future Group, City and Guilds and Indian industry etc. to target youth and impart skills training to them at the early stages of their life.

Another strategy employed by ‘Skills Development Scotland’ (SDS) is encouraging Employer Recruitment Initiative. Here, an employer receives up to 2000 GBP if the employer recruits apprentices skilled by SDS. Such an initiative in India cannot be measured in financial terms alone, but can be measured by the fact that the employers are getting skilled and motivated employees who will certainly increase the productivity of the company, contributing in the prosperity of the same.

The trends being followed globally exemplify that the target set by the government of skilling 500 mn people by 2022 is extremely challenging and it is going to take a serious and well co-coordinated effort by the industry as well as the government as a whole. A happy amalgamation of the Government efforts and industry will help in making this vision a reality. But most critical part is for the government to take note of the need for skills building at the base level of educational institutions to help bridge the gap between skilled and new entrants into the workforce of India. The time to bring a change is now.

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