Creating a skilled young workforce - Hindustan Times
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Creating a skilled young workforce

ByHT Editorial
Mar 19, 2024 09:25 PM IST

India’s youth bulge translates into a mammoth employment demand.

The Union government has reportedly written to 1.8 lakh firms to meet their obligations under the Apprentices Act. The law requires them to engage apprentices numbering at least 2.5% of their total manpower every financial year, with the cap on this varying across states. Non-compliance is penalised with fines, but that doesn’t seem to have had a deterrent effect.

The Union government has reportedly written to 1.8 lakh firms to meet their obligations under the Apprentices Act PREMIUM
The Union government has reportedly written to 1.8 lakh firms to meet their obligations under the Apprentices Act

The urgency shown by the Centre is welcome. India’s youth bulge translates into a mammoth employment demand. Against this, a high unemployment rate of ~8% along with inadequate skills training, and thereby, poor employability portends a demographic disaster in the making.

The need is for State intervention at multiple levels. To start with, school education must include skilling and vocational education, which, in turn, needs the National Education Policy 2020 provision for skills and vocational training from Class 9 onwards to be implemented urgently. Out-of-school children also need to be imparted training for employment — the National Curriculum Framework 2005 had proposed “workbenches” with vocational training, which must be pursued.

The successive iterations of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana have met with limited success. Just 22% of the 1.10 crore candidates certified under the scheme so far have managed to find placement. While the training modules are industry-designed, there seem to be last-mile hurdles affecting the uptake of the trainees by companies. These need to be identified and resolved. Industry must also collaborate with educational institutions across levels so that the training and content is matched to its needs to give employability a boost.

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