Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. It is no surprise that governments across the world are focusing on the significant role vocational education and training plays in their countries’ futures. At a time when skills gap is a major concern across the world, investing in skill development has never been so important. By 2025, an estimated 70 percent of Indians will be in the working age group. However, there is always the lingering doubt concerning this group’s employability. The need of the hour is to recapture the demographic dividend that has been much extolled, by developing and implementing measures and initiatives swiftly and effectively.
According to the data furnished by the Government of India, barely five percent of India’s total workforce has undergone formal skill training. When compared to developed economies such as the US, Japan, Germany and South Korea, India has a long way to go before it can be on par with industrialized nations. The Indian government has rightly recognized skilling as an area to act upon, however efforts to expedite and scale up the progress is yet to see definite movement on ground.
To become a center of modern manufacturing India will need a large pool of skilled talent Statistics will speak for India’s disproportionate skilling challenge. It is estimated that approximately, 104 million youth will be in need of skilling by 2022. That’s not it, another 298 million from the prevalent workforce will necessitate additional skill training over the same time frame. Progressively, each industrial revolution has happened faster than the previous one. Hence it is decisive for India to act upon these developments, if it aims to be one of the focal centers of modern manufacturing.
India’s skilling challenges are uncommon. On the one hand, ‘Make in India’ mission needs highly skilled technicians who can work effectively, and with ease, in world class manufacturing facilities. On the other hand, more than five million youth drop out of the education system every year. This section of the population have unfortunately not learnt any vocational skill, neither are they equipped to meet the requirements of the labor market. Moreover, India was once a land reputed for its quality and intricate craftsmanship. Today the country is struggling to find worthy artisans like carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Government and private sector collaboration key to addressing India’s skilling challenge acknowledging the formidable scale of this challenge, the government has initiated several measures along with the corporate sector. For instance, as pronounced in the latest budget for 2016-17, the move to set-up 1,500 multi-skill training institutes, under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)’, is highly commendable. This would address the grievance relating to insufficient skilled labor pool that is often voiced by OEMs and auto component makers in India.
Bosch has been manufacturing in India for close to 65 years and we strongly advocate for more collaboration between the government and the private sector. This is crucial and necessary from a short, medium, and long-term perspective.
Providing a solution to India’s skilled workers requirement
Bosch offers three models of vocational training in India. First, a long-term career oriented model which produces world-class highly skilled technicians. For 55 years, Bosch has been offering this course from its state-of-the-art and highly reputed vocational center in Bangalore. The imparted course in in line with the acclaimed German model of training which is directed towards making the youth employable. Apprentices from the Bosch Vocational Center have been nationally recognized with several of them winning gold medals. The training facility has been declared as the ‘Best Establishment’ by the President of India, 50 times, so far. And this is a feat unmatched.
Second, a short-term job oriented vocational training model, called Bosch’s Response to India’s Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement (BRIDGE). BRIDGE is Bosch’s vocational training module that is exclusive to the underprivileged youth (18 to 25 years old) who are Not in Education, Employment and Training (NEET) category. Through this two months course Bosch has a vision of supporting students who are keen on reshaping their lives by supporting them through training and job assistance. The program is offered nationally through various training partners – both in the Govt. and educational institutes and partners in private sector.
During the two-months training course, special focus is given to developing soft, industry-specific and job-specific skills. Students receive job placement offers from organizations and companies operating in organized and semi-organized sectors.During the year, through its programs in vocational training for employability, Bosch has enabled the lives and livelihood of over 3,000 school and college drop outs. This was achieved across 65 training centers in India. Bosch’s vocational training module has now been adopted by the governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan at their respective industrial training institutes (ITIs) over the last one year.
Upgrading and transforming India’s creative nerve- focused centers for artisans from Bosch Third, addressing the need for quality craftsmen in India Bosch has started an Artisan Training Center. Through newly developed models the focus of the center would be to develop world-class artisans in India. Spanning over nine months, the first six months of the course is dedicated to training- a module that has been developed with the support of an expert from Germany. The last three months of the course is dedicated to on the job training. Apart from imparting technical knowledge and skills, the trainees are also given lessons on professional skills.
Published in The Financial Express (March, 2016)