Challenges In Indian Skills Development Efforts
- Pro-active participation by the industries and the employers
- The mismatch between youth aspirations and jobs
- Shortage of training infrastructure
The Indian skill sector was languishing at just 2.8 lakh apprentices annually till 2010, which was almost half the number of skilled apprentices that the country had annual provisions for. But the subsequent amendments to the obsolete Apprenticeship act of 1961 and the establishment of a number of driving and implementing bodies under the auspices of various central ministries saw the reforming of the structure of the skilling ecosystem of the country. The Government has high aspirations of achieving around 50 lakh apprentices by 2020 and thus multiply the productivity in the industries by a huge extent and reap all the economic advantages that this would offer to the country as a result.
There are numerous challenges which persist and pose a roadblock in the pathway of skilling the indigenous youth with dextrosity. These can be discussed under the following headers.
- Mobilisation: One of the primary challenges that remain is the mobilisation of students to get trained under these apprenticeship programs. The lack of enthusiasm of the youth towards skilling initiatives has been driven by the traditional mindsets, low salaries during their entry in the professional sector as well as shortage of recognition linked with the long-term premium associated with skilling, inability to pay for the required training sessions and illiteracy as well as delinquency.
- Pro-active participation by the industries and the employers: Since the skilling sector in India was unorganised and fragmented, there was low enthusiasm on the part of the employers and industry bodies to recognise whether a worker has picked up the required skill-sets while being in the work environment or has assimilated them through formal training. Thus, the skill premium or any form of financial incentive linked with it is minimum. Large companies like L&T have their own skilling centres which provide industry-specific skills to their employees. In India, where about 93% of the employment comes from the unorganised sector, it is extremely crucial to create awareness amongst the employers and sensitise them on occupational standards, job roles and qualification packs. The challenge also persists in popularising the skilling initiatives to increase its reach and impact the skill development exercise in a positive way.
- Scalability: It is extremely important to scale up and provide alignment to the aspirations of jobs. This could be done by obtaining the perfect training partners which might also involve third party aggregators, creating an effective stakeholder management as well as obtaining enthusiasm and participation from the corporate sector who were yet to comprehend the opportunity that the skilling initiatives provide. Considering the fact that the industries and markets have a variation in performance and operations from state to state, it is important to identify the right kind of training partner who can fit in the requirement posed by the skilling ecosystem and scaling them up to meet the actual demand.
- The mismatch between youth aspirations and jobs: Skill gap studies conducted by the NSDC exhibit a harrowing picture and proper alignment of aspirations vis-a-vis jobs on offer could be achieved through proper counselling sessions. The stakeholders need to collaborate effectively to create such a symbiotic relationship amongst students to fill the classroom as well as take up necessary job roles based on their skills.
- Shortage of training infrastructure: The Indian services sector has seen a huge proliferation in job creation owing to lesser capital expenditure and thus has encountered a considerable amount of development in the training infrastructure. The manufacturing sector is yet to obtain a similar kind of focus. The shortage of training infrastructure is definitely stunting the growth of the skilling initiatives across India.
- Labour laws: The Indian labour laws are quite stringent and considered complex and have been regarded as significantly responsible for the lower growth in employment, lesser per capita income as well as the sluggish economic development of the nation as a whole.
- Minimum wages: Though most of the organised sector does not suffer from this, 93% of all employment happens under the unorganised sector in India. This sector observes concerns over minimum wages due to the lack of awareness, an ample number of the workforce after the same job and the employers’ unwillingness to pay the scheduled minimum wages.
These challenges should be combatted with efficiency to develop the prolific skilling ecosystem for the country that can nurture the industries by providing a competent and energetic workforce.