The BRIDGE between employability skills and the economic well-being of India

India grew as an industrialized nation on the strong foundation of its skilled blue-collar workforce and scientific and innovative minds. The skilled workforce has been a recourse to the post-independence economy which has seen great growth over many decades. Industrialization fueled by skilled manpower created the colossal engine, India Inc. Over the course of time the global outlook has changed with many advancements in technology and multiple fields of work being added to the list of jobs a person can pick for a career. Today, India has the largest youth population in the world, with sixty five percent being under the working age of thirty-five years. If we look at overall population on the other hand, it has grown from approximately 0.3 billion to 1.2 billion people as per the official census reports of 1951 and 2011 respectively.

The phenomenal growth in population has been both a boon and a bane with regards to industrial growth in India. An education system that evolved with the global standards has supported the economy for years. But lately, there have been few challenges surmounting and indicating the instability to befall the economic functioning of the country. Millions of youth in both rural and urban areas are facing serious issues of unemployment and underemployment. Along with this, the high rate of school dropouts, close to around fifty six percent, has posed a threat to the availability of skilled workforce for corporations.

Social Impact of unemployment

PictographArguably, the greatest impact of growing unemployment on the society is towards the economy. If a large section of the society remains unemployed then it directly influences the spending behavior. With less spending, it becomes harder for businesses to profit. Besides its impact on the economy, unemployment has many underlying consequences too. Take healthcare for instance; if a person is unemployed, then he or she lacks resources to expend on healthcare for both self and for dependent family members. The government’s initiatives with this regard are commendable, however it can always use a booster from organizations like Bosch to address the obvious. Access to nutrition, clean water, and any opportunities to overcome the financial situation becomes imperative. Bosch’s energy solutions and promise of carbon neutrality are highly supported by a strong workforce. Hence shifting focus towards the unemployment issue as part of its corporate social responsibility isn’t surprising for Bosch, particularly for a company that has built a strong expertise in vocational training. The Bosch Vocational Center(BVC) was established in Bengaluru back in 1961, which has been awarded “Best Establishment” by the President of India 54 times, 18 times in a row, producing over 5,000 trade apprentices so far including 245 gold medal winners at the national level.

Vocational Training to rebuild the society

PictographIndia’s major concern, when it comes to addressing unemployment, is the widespread lack of skilled workforce, with less than one-tenth of our workforce being formally skilled. The shift in market trends and the change in industrial needs in terms of workforce has led to many unemployed youths failing to capture jobs and build careers. The topical nature of many domain skills makes it harder to acquire them on-the-job. Vocational training helps people to acquire specific skills in the trade they wish to pursue. And such upskilling ensures that both, the employers, and the employees, are not on the short end of the stick. Bosch’s alignment towards the importance of skilling is not new, which can be seen through its constant perseverance towards having an updated syllabus for its trainees with on-the-job training opportunities leading to opportunities in the manufacturing or services sector industries.

BRIDGE to fill the gap between employability and social responsibility

One of the key vocational training models developed by Bosch is BRIDGE, which stands for Bosch’s Response to India’s Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement. It is a program designed for unskilled and lesser-privileged youth between eighteen to twenty-five years of age who fall under the NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training) category. It is a 3-month long program where the candidates are trained in job-specific, industry-specific, and soft skills. The corporate social responsibility wing at Bosch (Bosch India Social Engagement) is built on four brand pillars – We Skill, We Care, We Share, and We Empower. With BRIDGE, Bosch is pursuing the often-isolated issue of unemployment, to curtail its impact on the social well-being of people and the economy of the country. This endeavor expands the domain of corporate social responsibility to create scalable and sustainable models for others to follow.

BRIDGE is an easily scalable initiative that grew to two hundred and seventy two centers strong, from its launch in 2013, empowering over twenty-six thousand less educated youth with the necessary training to make them job-ready at an entry level. It has supported over twenty thousand unemployed youth in upskilling and in acquiring jobs across industries. This has enabled the youth to create a more stable environment for their families and to contribute to the economy. Apart from topical skills, on specific jobs and industries, the education imparted through this program includes life, communication, and personality development skills, which play a major role on setting the career path for every individual. Employment offers stability, and vocational training ensures that no person is unemployed due to lack of skills. With an improved standard of living, owing to secure jobs, the largest segment of India’s workforce, the youth, can be active members of the society and enhance the scope of the markets within the country. Skilled workforce attracts many multi-national firms to set-up shop in India, creating more jobs, and completing the cycle of employment.

As a leader in supplying technology and services in areas of mobility, industrial technology, consumer goods, and energy and building technology, Bosch offers its BRIDGE candidates hands-on experience from the best mentors in the industry. Being socially responsible means being committed to the betterment of the people of the entire nation. Coming from lesser-privileged backgrounds should not mean that an individual continues to remain in the position without opportunities to grow. Bosch recognizes the vast talent among the youth of India, which can be leveraged to build the markets within the country and promote holistic development.

About the author

Dr. O. P. Goel

Dr. O. P. Goel

General Manager, CSR & Head, Bosch Vocational Training (India)
Dr. O. P. Goel is an insightful leader with a strong track record of performance in the areas of customer service, channel management, vocational training, sales force development, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). He has over 30 years of experience in the automotive sector, now serving as General Manager, CSR & Head, Bosch Vocational Training (India). At Bosch, Dr. Goel spent 17 years in Automotive Aftermarket in various functions. During this time, he established the Bosch Sales Force Academy, which trains over 500 Bosch Sales officers and managers in 20 countries across the Asia Pacific region. Spearheading Bosch’s vocational training initiatives, Dr. Goel has been instrumental in raising the standards and visibility of Bosch Vocational Center (BVC) and launching various skill development programs for Bosch employees with industry-institute tie-ups.

Dr. Goel shares a deep passion for CSR and leads the company’s social engagement activities, also serving in the company’s CSR Committee as its member secretary. An acclaimed authority on Skill Development, Dr. Goel has been conferred with the “National Award for Professional Excellence” by the Indian Society of Training and Development (ISTD) and is an accredited Management Teacher of the All India Management Association (AIMA). An approved research guide at many universities, he has keen interest in academics and employability training for the less educated. He is currently member of the National Skills & ITIs Committee in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). A mechanical engineer, MBA (Marketing) and a PhD in Training and Development, Dr. Goel is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. If training has the power to transform individuals, businesses, institutions and the society, Dr. Goel’s vision and accomplishments are testament to that truth.

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