Despite being blessed with one of the largest youth populations in the world, our country is struggling to channelize this strength in the right direction to ensure economic growth and an overall development of the nation. We have set up a large number of higher education institutions and are constantly trying to increase the number and quality of these. But as we grow swiftly to become the world's youngest nation by 2022, how do we use this huge reservoir of employable youth to our country's advantage? The answer lies in developing their competencies and skills so that they are fit for the diverse market needs.
The Need for Skills
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has been created to put special emphasis on skill development of the country's present and aspiring workforce. Critics of skill development policy claim that it is a slow and uncertain process for achieving the target Human Development Index; but they must understand that there is a visible gap in our very basic jobs infrastructure in terms of jobs that are vacant and the workforce that is available to fill in these vacancies.
There are numerous positions that are left unoccupied in our private-owned industries due to an absence of rightly skilled candidates.
There are numerous positions that are left unoccupied in our private-owned industries due to an absence of rightly skilled candidates. Youth, under the absence of awareness, would pop-up at interviews with just their regular degrees; get rejected and blame inability for their rejection. This gap is especially critical in rural and semi-urban areas, which are the last to absorb latest trends in the market. These clusters hold the majority of our youth, who need to be communicated about the exact demands of industry, and be prepared accordingly.
The Role of Right Kind of Education
Many would agree that a sophisticated education system with world-class facilities at our campuses is a practical option to provide our students with employable exposure. But in my opinion, an enhanced &industry-relevant course curriculum in higher education, supplemented by a proper induction of vocational education & employability-linked training is what we need desperately. But as we progress deeper into the 21st century, it is not merely the intent and direction of initiatives that matter; the velocity with which these initiatives are spread uniformly will determine the overall success. Thus, it is imperative for UGC to pay heed to skills and mandate compulsory vocational education programs, along with regular education curriculum, across all higher education institutions pan India.
The Role of Private Training Institutions
On the part of skilling our work-ready manpower, we have attained significant velocity in terms of training initiatives. Various private and public organizations have been assigned the role of implementation agencies for the Central Government's 'Skill India' ambitions, and the work progress so far in three years can be termed satisfactory. An extensive index of region-relevant skill development courses has been laid down. Students are free to choose from this vast variety of options to suit their career choices. The inability of rural people to pay fees for formal skilling courses has been solved to some extent as most of these programs are entirely sponsored by government enterprises. Flexible timings are being adopted for training so that people can work and learn simultaneously. Moreover, people who are already employed in informal sectors can demand higher wages post-training on account of their enhanced skills competence.
As a result, expanding industries like rural marketing, telecom, BFSI and hospitality, which require the skilled workforce to fill their vacancies, are now recruiting from this freshly skilled youth, providing them with livelihood options in their vicinity. People working for traditional industries like bangle-crafts, handicrafts, textile and many more can especially benefit from skill development initiatives, as this way they get to learn the best practices from around the world in their field of work. Even when migrating to cities, the workforce that once got nothing more than meager wages is now able to earn worthy incomes because of their formal skills qualifications. These initiatives, if carried forward correctly, are leading us to a herald of a whole new system of economy that will be robust, more decentralized and based on a knowledgeable workforce.
The public-private partnership in establishing training centers has turned out to be a successful model, as one party provides the required investment and the other compliments it with expertise and execution. As a testimony to its success, more and more people are attaining jobs, and promotions in their jobs, post acquiring skill certificates. It is safe to conclude that Skill Development Initiatives are a far-sighted formula to resolve our country's employment troubles. With constant efforts and careful steps, the day is not very far when India would be respected as the Human Resource Capital of the world and Indian workforce will be a force to be reckoned with, both domestically and internationally.
Siddharth handles the functioning of the 12,000 centre network, strategy for expansion and business diversification. He also handles financial strategy for the AISECT Group and is a part of the Governing Body and Board of Management of Dr. C. V. Raman University and AISECT University. He holds a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from NIT Bhopal and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the prestigious S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.