‘Skilling India’ is comparable to the Hobbit’s ring – the initiative holds great power that can radically effect change, and thus, there is a clamor for it among its stakeholders! Demand from this nationalinitiative has been increasing with every passing quarter as the need for qualitative jobs emerges pan-India.
So, in our fervor to become the fastest growing economy (among developed economies), long-term growth can only be sustained if we provide access to a large pool of skilled workforce. A study conducted by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) over a period of five years throws light on India’s net requirement of 109.73 million skilled manpower by 2022 across twenty-four key sectors. In short, India’s issues are not related to job creation; it is with the creation of an ample pool of skilled workers who can keep pace with the changing demands of the industry.
With India having net enrolment of only 5.5 million students per year for vocational courses, it is abundantly clear that ‘Skilling’ has the arduous task of converting India’s demographic dividend into its biggest opportunity. Lesser emphasis given to vocational training has resulted in a large number of people being engaged in low paying jobs. This, along with a combination of other factors, poses danger to India’s national GDP. So, it is imperative for stakeholders across both the private and public sectors to jointly scale up existing skilling programs. This can be successfully carried out only if national bodies ensure a standardization of courses that comprise of highly practical content rather than outdated curriculum. A concerted effort by all the key players, along with contemporary methods of learning, should help convert India’s young talent into assets.
Investing in skilling not for today but for tomorrow
Since the framing of the Skill India program, initiatives concerning reskilling or upskilling have picked up pace. The private sector’s responsibility towards quality skill development must move beyond fund allocation. As one of the economies with the largest youth population, it is necessary to generate jobs that match the aspirations of this new brigade. To do that, stakeholders would also need to invest in the upgradation of trainers who can impart relevant knowledge of the industry.
The industry at large perceives skilling as an expensive exercise yielding less return on investment. But this is not completely true. Investing in skilling would provide the industry with a robust workforce with ready knowledge of the industry. Instead of starting from scratch, the focus needs to shift towards developing and evolving the existing skilling infrastructure to meet the dynamic demands of a VUCA world.
The issue needs to be looked at holistically in terms of the overall benefit to our society. In fact, social organizations such as Bosch can only grow when the society in which it operates progresses. Hence, it is necessary to discard the notion of short-term gains but instead, look at long-term sustainability. This would demand stakeholders to think beyond their respective sectors to bring about sizeable impact that will be visible across all sections of society.
Unlocking India’s latent potential through BRIDGE
India is home to the nationally renowned Bosch Vocational Center (BVC), which has been imparting learning for over 55 years. With expertise in the manufacturing sector spanning decades, the Group decided to extend its domain knowledge to support needs beyond its own business requirements. Acting on this, Bosch’s Response to India’s Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement (BRIDGE) program was founded in 2013.
BRIDGE focuses on school dropout youth to ensure their job readiness for India’s growing services sector. The intent of this program is to reshape the lives of a section of society through education. The program provides on-the-job training and 100 percent placement assistance. So far, over 7,500 youth have been trained and placed across India in more than 125 BRIDGE centers operating in either Government I.T.I.s or Private Higher Secondary Schools / Pre-University Colleges.