The year 2015 has been significant in the sphere of the country’s skill development initiatives, with the launch of the National Skill Development Policy and National Skill Development Mission by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the World Youth Skills Day in July. The framework for the required ecosystem for meeting the skilling needs of the country is now in place.
Key measures introduced in the policy will go a long in enhancing the skilling ecosystem and encouraging more youth to consider vocational training as a path to a better quality of life. These include:
* Recognition of prior learning based on skills acquired through experience, which can be certified and built upon to improve employability;
* Establishment of skill universities and community colleges, through which formal diplomas/certificates can be awarded on completion of skill courses;
* Ensuring skilling courses include necessary soft skills, including language, basic IT and financial literacy for enhancing employability or required for being entrepreneurs;
* Initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana can be leveraged by students to fund their training courses, which will also encourage private sector to establish fee-based skill training centres.
With over 50% of population expected to be under the age of 25 years by 2020, the challenge will be of ensuring that our youth are adequately prepared to be gainfully employed to meet their aspirations of a better quality of life.
Initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities Mission, etc, will require a significant number of skilled persons to participate in manufacturing activities involving latest technologies under such missions.
Today, much of the skilling ecosystem is in place. It includes National Skills Qualification Framework for identifying competency-based skill levels required by industry; Sector Skill Councils established in all key sectors bringing required industry/sector connect in skill development; funding mechanism for encouraging skill development and training institutes in PPP mode; schemes for adoption of government-owned vocational training centres by the private sector; and labour market information systems for matching skill demand and supply.
Yet a lot remains to be done, especially in terms of changing societal attitude which traditionally has preferred formal higher education over skill training through targeted awareness campaigns; integration of skilling in formal school education; attracting and retaining talent in teaching skills through making it an attractive career option; and encouraging industry to differentiate certified trained skilled persons from those not formally certified.
The intent to promote formal skilling has already been established. Going forward, turning this intent into reality will require all key actors—including governments at both central and state levels—implementing policies and enabling regulations; training providers offering affordable courses with curriculum aligned to industry requirements and getting themselves accredited by concerned sector skill councils; industry willing to pay premium compensation to certified trained youth as compared to unskilled/informally trained persons; and finally the youth opting for formal skill development courses as a career choice. If achieved, over time, India will attain its vision of becoming the talent capital of the world.
By Anindya Mallick
The author is partner, Deloitte India