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On-the-job training is key to improving workforce skills

India’s socio-economic dynamics are totally different. The quotient of multi-faceted deprivation and the struggle for survival forces the majority of people to find gainful employment at whatever earnings are available and to supplement family income. This highlights the need for on-the-job training (OJT), which makes things easier not only for job seekers but also for job providers when most of the workforce entering the labor market is devoid of employable skills. According to Wheebox India Skills Report 2022, only 48.7% of all young people in the country are employable and the highest age group is 22-25 years old. In 2018, a New Delhi-based economic think tank – the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) – released a report. It was titled “No Time to Lose”.

The report estimates that India has around 468 million people in its workforce. About 92 percent of them worked in the informal sector. About 31 percent were illiterate and only 13 percent had a primary education, and only 6 percent were college graduates. Furthermore, only about 2% of the workforce had formal vocational training and only 9% had non-formal vocational training. He also said that nearly 1.25 million new workers – aged between 15 and 29 – are expected to join the Indian workforce “every month” until 2022. The report also pointed out that out of more than five lakh final-year undergraduate students aged 18 to 29 who were surveyed, about 54 percent of them were found to be unemployable.

The realities on the ground are certainly not encouraging at all, and so there is no room for any kind of complacency on the part of any stakeholders. The situation is quite alarming in the unorganized sector, but we must commend our traders, entrepreneurs and industrialists who contribute so significantly to the economic empowerment of the country by investing heavily in improving the skills of their workforce. at work. In fact, salaries for the first six months are considered stipends for employees during which they learn skills and begin to make positive contributions. This is not a healthy situation as we aspire to be a $5 trillion economy by 2030.

DETERMINE FROM NUMBERS

CTF plays a vital role in enhancing the skills of the employees to perform their jobs efficiently and can perform better positions in the future with effective abilities, which greatly increases the productivity of the organization. For a sustainable economy and inclusive development, we must equip our masses with skills for which multiple initiatives are underway under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

The results are encouraging but certainly not commensurate with the needs of the industry. The new National Education Policy-2020 (NEP-2020) has rightly placed emphasis on vocational education right from the school level. It will definitely give positive results, but only in the long run. We need short and medium term strategies to fill the gaps in the demand for skilled labour.

Under PMKVY-3.0, more than 1.36 crore youths are trained across the country. Since the launch of the program in 2015, as of December 31, 2021, 4.22 lakh candidates have been trained under the Short Term Training (STT) and 7.17 lakh candidates have been referred under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in the northeastern states. Over 7.5 lakh youths have been trained across all industries under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). More than 14 lakh people have been trained by Jan Shaksham Sansthan (JSS).

The data is quite impressive. To add, every year 25 lakh youths are trained in various Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 25 lakh youths are trained through fee-based programs. The STT component provided at PMKVY (TC) training centers should benefit candidates who have dropped out of school or university or are unemployed. In addition to providing training in accordance with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), TCs also provide training in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy. After passing the assessment, candidates receive job placement support from the training providers.

Let’s admit that there are serious shortcomings in our efforts to provide a skilled workforce to the industry, despite the multiple training capsules we have for interns who are first-time learners and retraining for trainees or existing workforce who have already undergone formal or informal training and need additional skill sets. The NSQF English, Employability and Entrepreneurship (EEE) training module looks good, but may not be able to create a resilient and skilled workforce that meets national and international standards and requirements.

IDENTIFY THE LACK OF SKILLS

A Skills Gap Study should be launched by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in coordination with industries and to identify the improvement in skills needs of the workforce in various sectors of the economy and the skill sets required for the respective roles. A District Skills Development Plan (DSDP) should also be prepared to create a State Skills Development Plan (SSDP) to meet the demand-based target.

WAY FORWARD

On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a viable option if implemented well. Central and state governments should share some of the financial burden of unskilled labor with employers for at least six months. Thereafter, they will be entirely under the responsibility of the industries. You should know that there is a colossal gap between demand and supply of skilled labour. The best way to hold them is by OJT. The CFF will act as an incentive for workers to improve their performance and capabilities, which will ultimately benefit their employers.

An identical initiative was undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Common Standards Committee (CNC) for Skills Development Programs has decided that 1.5% of the average cost of training per trainee for three months or 1.5% of the base hourly cost rate, as the case may be the trade category being trained, may be authorized as a Covid-19 allowance. As part of the “Customized Crash Course for Covid Warriors Program” launched by the Union Skills Development Ministry, the Confederation of Indian Industry, through its network of 16 separate hospitals, has forwarded skills to young people.

The objectives of the personalized intensive course are to meet the growing demand for qualified healthcare workers, reduce the burden on healthcare professionals and provide timely healthcare services in the country. Similar courses can be launched for the MSME sector. The idea is to make the most of the labor available in the country. Considering the quality of education in rural areas from where the organized and unorganized sectors get the most labor, CFE seems to be a viable option.

The author is co-founder and MD, Orane International, training partner with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), network member, India International Skill Centres, an initiative of the GoI. The opinions expressed are personal.

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