Context: In India, the shortage of formal skill training has been a glaring issue, with just 4.7% of the workforce having received such training, compared to much higher rates in developed nations like the US, Japan, and South Korea.
Skill development programs are instrumental in enhancing human resources, equipping individuals with the knowledge and expertise required for productive employment and economic participation.
Skill Development Programs and Human Resource Supply:
- Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship reports that over 100 million people have received training through programs like the National Skill India Mission and PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana since 2015.
- Sectors benefiting from these skilled workers include construction, health, manufacturing, and infrastructure, as highlighted by the National Skill Development Council.
- Institutes like National Council for Vocational Education and Training, National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes, and Sector Skill Councils have played a pivotal role in increasing the supply of human resources.
- The National Skill Development Fund, which raises funds from the government and non-government sectors, has significantly contributed to skill development in the country.
- Programs like the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) have provided short-term training and Recognition of Prior
- Learning (RPL) opportunities to over 1.3 crore people.
- Initiatives like the Covid Crash Course program and the Skill Hub Initiative have trained thousands of individuals.
- Events like the India Skills Competition have been organized to transform the perception of vocational training.
Linkages between Education, Skill, and Employment:
- Basic Education: Primary and secondary schooling provides fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, forming the foundation for further skill development.
- Higher Education: Enrollment in higher education has increased by 21% since 2014-15, and the National Education Policy 2020 promotes deeper integration between higher education and vocational training.
- Technical and Vocational Training: Skill development programs, including technical and vocational training, offer practical skills directly applicable to various industries.
- Soft Skills: The India Skill Report 2023 indicates an overall improvement in employability among young people, highlighting the importance of soft skills in addition to technical competencies.
- Alignment with Industry Needs: Skill development programs should align with job market demands, ensuring individuals are job-ready. This approach also fosters entrepreneurship skills, creating employment opportunities for others.
A skill gap study by the National Skill Development Corporation for the 2010-2014 period projected a substantial demand for skilled manpower in multiple sectors by 2022. Urgent measures are necessary to address this gap.
Encouraging apprenticeship programs, as observed in countries like the USA, UK, and Germany, could be a step forward for India, potentially by forging partnerships with Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This would bridge the skill gap and boost the country’s economic growth.