Skilling India for Global Competitiveness : Plugging the Skill Gap

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NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Stressing on the need to focus on skills and training for productivity and competitive edge, R K Verma, IAS, Secretary, Industrial Training & Technical Education, Punjab said, “Effort has to be made to train our workforce right upto the grassroots level.”

He was speaking during the session on “Skilling India for Global Competitiveness: Plugging the Skill Gap” organized by PHD chamber of Commerce and Industry, here today at PHD House. The session was organized to mark the World Youth Skills Day.

RMI_0107Sharing that the key challenges to the Skill Development being the strengthening State Skill Development Missions; Private sector participation in skill development, Expanding Outreach of skilling programmes, Availability of trainers/instructors/assessors, making skill aspirational, career guidance and post training placement tracking, adopting best practices, Verma underlined the need for an end to end strategy for skilling, aligning skill training with demand dynamics, effective counselling and guidance besides the able delivery of the training programme.

“India has a huge advantage of its demographic dividend with 65% of its population under the age of 35 years. However, the manner in which it will use the opportunity will determine whether it will reap its demographic dividend. India must, he said, stress and invest in education and training so that it is able to achieve its target of double digit inclusive growth”, said Vikram Sahgal, Chairman, Chandigarh Committee, PHD Chamber.

About 63% of the school students drop out at different stages before reaching Class-X. Only about 2.5 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas about 12.8 million persons enter the labour market every year.  Even out of these training places, very few are available for early school dropouts. Thus, a large number of school drop outs do not have access to skill development for improving their employability, added Sahgal.

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Anil Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary, Industrial Training, Haryana while echoing the concerns raised by Rakesh Verma, said, “There is an urgent need to have close interaction between the skill requirements of the industry and the available training and employment avenues besides keeping in mind the global challenge of competitiveness.”

Kumar stressed that practical industrial training should be imparted at the industry floor itself since the technology is changing so fast and getting obsolete too sooner than not, rather than having massive outdated technological infrastructure at ITIs, ITIs should be imparting only the basics.

Vivek Atray, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula highlighted that our system is not quick enough to react to the needs of the environment. The world is dynamic ever changing and changing fast but our course curricula remain static, fixed. This gap, he said is very important to plug.

“The launch of the Skill India Campaign is an important milestone towards achieving the objective of skilling with Speed, Scale and Standards across the country”, said Atul Gupta, CEO, Red Alkemi.

According to a PHD Chamber report, for the GDP to grow at 8% to 9%, it is required that the secondary and tertiary sectors grow at 10% to 11% respectively; assuming agriculture grows at 4%.  This will necessitate the migration of a major portion of the work force from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors.  However the skill sets required in the manufacturing and the service sector are very different from those in the agriculture sector.  Therefore, there will be large skill gaps in coming years, due to the migration, which can only be bridged with the help of large scale skill development.

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By 2020, there will be shortage of 47 million skilled workforce globally, whereas India will have a surplus of 56 million people. India requires to impart skills to around 12 million people every year, the report states.

90% of the jobs generated in the Indian economy are skill based. However, the report said, there is a gap between what the industry demands and what the academic institutions offer. The lack of vocational programmes offered to students coupled with little transparent progression pathways in the system that can offer the students the flexibility to choose a stream, or the ability to make a transition to other streams is a big hurdle in harnessing the demographic dividend.

Ms. Sudha Sharma, IRS (Retd.), was also present on the occasion. Industry captains from Chandigarh, Mohali, Punchkula, Derabassi, Baddi and other adjoining areas, Management professionals, Principals and Training & Placement Officers of ITIs, Polytechnics, and technical education institutes, and students participated in the interactive session.

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