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Skill Development in India – Perspectives and Initiatives

As far as the skill development landscape of India is concerned, the year 2012 was kind of a warming up session. Indian Government has done fresh budget allocations in the year 2012 and new programs were launched by National Skills Development Council (NSDC) as well. Even private sector took initiatives to promote skill development in India.

Our Honorable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a meeting that we cannot achieve a goal (of skill development) with a business as usual approach – further, he asked ministries to aggressively prepare plans to roll out skill development initiatives.

This was followed by an increased allocation of Rs 2500 crores under National Skill Development Fund and the establishment of credit guarantee scheme for skill development. The NVEQF – National Vocational Educational Qualification Framework initiative which was launched in Feb 2012, to be implemented in polytechnics, engineering colleges and various other colleges that come under University system by 2012-13 is likely to cater to five million students every year and it is also supposed to increase the GER by 30% by the end of 2020.

A significant role is being played by NSDC in steering the skill development agenda forward. As on October 31, 2012 NSDC has approved 18 sector skill councils, over 62 training projects and has skilled over 2.8 lakh people through various projects. Centum Learning has partnered with NSDC and has formed a joint venture called Centum WorkSkills India with a mandate to skill 12 million people by 2012.

In recent past, industry has recognized the importance of skilled manpower and to make skill development a focus area for CEOs, Centum Learning and FICCI jointly launched CEOs for Skills Forum at the fifth Global Skills Summit held on September 5, 2012 in New Delhi. Establishment of Sector Skills Councils in Construction, Healthcare, Media & Entertainment and other industry verticals is a right step in this direction.

Areas to focus upon next year

In the coming years collaboration is going to be the keyword and will ensure that all skill development initiatives are strategized and executed to create skilled and employable manpower. None of the stakeholders (Skill Providers, Government, Regulators, etc) will benefit from working in isolation – since the stakes involved are huge and the task at hand is overwhelming.

Next in the pipeline would be Monitoring and Quality Certifications which will be mandatory to ensure that best in class delivery of training content takes place with prime focus on enhancing the employability and not just to go on with the training.

The coming year would also witness an easy access to skill based qualification. Vocational qualification would easily be made accessible so that people across education and social strata are able to take advantage of an equal provision and join the employable workforce.

The focus on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will increase as much as First Time Skilling. This happens because of the fact that a large segment of people who need to be skilled are already working with no formal skill based education and training. NVEQF is working towards the development of a national approach to RPL which probably will offer possibility of opening up a plethora of opportunities for vocational training, for millions of such people.

Strategy for next year

There is a need to incentivize the skill development initiatives from the government and regulatory perspective so that the cost of training development and delivery can be shared collectively and maximum advantage can be passed on to the beneficiaries. Likewise, the current amendment in the companies act (passed in Lok Sabha, yet to be cleared in Rajya Sabha), whereby, all companies making profit have to make a compulsory earmarking of funds for the CSR initiatives (like employability linked programmes) is a welcome step – this amendment will open far more avenues, where companies can put up with the training costs, thus passing the benefit to the beneficiaries.

When considering the industry prospective – there is a need to welcome vocationally skilled and professionally trained workforce into the talent management scheme. Industry cannot just go on talking about the deficit in the skilled workforce and not do anything to provide ample opportunities to those who are vocationally skilled.

Considering skill provider perspective it is important to design the training programmes in vernacular languages and then turn to the needs of the industry. This is because post training employment is facilitated and students who have diligently earned certification are able to find suitable employment.

Finally, when we talk about the learner perspective, it is important that learner’s who are the intended beneficiaries of the skill development programme join these training programmes with an inspiration to learn and as an opportunity that will open doors of potential future opportunities that will make them lead a better life.

At Centum Learning, our mission for 2013 would be to multiply the number of skilled and employable manpower in our country. In the course of accomplishing our set goals, our endeavor would be to open more training centers that will lead to the creation of a talent pool of skilled trainers and instructors with our initiatives like Centum Skill Instructor’s Guild. We are partnering with various corporate houses, government agencies, and multilateral organizations across the world to leverage the global demographic dividend.

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