Addressing issues of skill development

Addressing issues of skill development

On the one hand, India has a large number of educated unemployed, and on the other, industry is desperately short of skilled professionals. One of the biggest challenges human resources man-
agers face today is finding candidates with the right skill sets.

Being qualified is one thing, being skilled for the job is quite another. So how do we overcome the challenge of getting skilled professionals? Skill development training, if delivered in a balanced and well-defined manner, can help bring talent to industry.

Against 12.8 million new entrants to the country’s workforce every year, the capacity of skill development is only around 3.1 million. The 12th Five Year Plan set out to increase this capacity to 15 million, and to meet this, skill development through engagement with both the public and private sectors stakeholders was thought necessary.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) was set up as a part of the National Skill Development Mission in 2008-2009 to address the growing need for skilled manpower across sectors. It was felt that the skill of a large number of young people from the unorganised sector, who lack formal certification, could be utilised under umbrella initiatives recognised by the government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Skill India’ campaign targets training 40 crore people in different skills by 2022. It includes initiatives like the NSDC, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yogna —flagship schemes to incentivise skill training. But lack of awareness about such training programmes, absence of adaptability with changing market needs and lack of vertical mobility, are key challenges facing the skill development landscape.

Private vocational training institutes can play a major role in helping government with skill development. The growing disconnect between higher education and industry requirement is a matter of grave concern.

With our overemphasis on academic performance, even top-ranked universities are producing qualified, but hardly employable graduates and the employability gap gets wider, every day. Skill development needs to be a strong component of our educational curriculum. A good mix of classroom teaching and practical training is what is needed.

The last few years have seen an exponential rise in the number startups in the country. We need to explore the possibilities of investing in startup and feed them not just with funds but also with well-trained and industry-ready professionals. Job training institutes can play a big role in picking up deserving candidates with industry tie-ups.

No dearth of jobs
There is no dearth of jobs. The shortage really is of the required skills for a particular job. Many a time, an organisation needs only 10+2 pass candidates from a rural background to fill its vacancies. Training and placement institutes can match the organisation’s and the candidate’s requirement. Perfect matching is the key to good placement. The idea is to get the right candidate for the right job.

Internships provide students hands-on work opportunity and help them learn to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life situation. They are stepping stone to the job market. Many companies give high-performing interns job offers; others give internship certificate which could help one land a good job. Placement institutes that have tie-ups with multinationals and industry bodies can facilitate internships and jobs.

Good communication and soft skills are part of the job requirement. Placement training institutes can help students master soft skills to increase their market value. From expanding their business vocabulary and increasing their speaking skills, to writing customised e-mails for clients, and preparing interesting power-point presentation, all these can be learnt at placement training institutes.

There is a need to organise job fairs to aid recruitment and networking. The attempt should be to connect prospective employees with multiple employers. Such recruitment fairs give students the industry exposure and the interactions held provide the students real-time experience about the hiring process and methodologies.

We live in a fast-changing technological world. If India wants to move up in the comity of nations, we need to improve our educational infrastructure, and technology is its most important component. We need to integrate technology at the grass root level and introduce futuristic skills to students. The aim should be to empower schools and to support the budding generation of change makers and innovators to visualise, design and create.

(The writer is Chairman, ICA Edu Skills)