Skill development especially in a country like India with its large young population, which is estimated to be 34.33 per cent of the total population in 2020, assumes greater importance to effectively reap the demographic dividend.
Skilling the growing workforce would improve their productivity and employability which, in turn, will improve incomes and the quality of life.
With the majority of the population living in rural areas, the need for sustained skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling is very much the need of the hour and assumes great importance for rural India.
Reskilling and Upskilling
Along with fresh skilling, India requires a sustainable re-skilling and up-skilling ecosystem, which besides making the workforce present and future-ready, would also address the concerns of women who for several reasons, take a break from work.
Online skilling to be encouraged:
Complementing the existing skilling ecosystem with the increased use of Online Skilling which, in a technologically-driven environment, appears to be a viable, cost-effective solution that would enable a person to select a trade of his/her choice.
Online skilling would increase the span of both horizontal as well as the vertical reach of youth to skill courses. This also implies that online skilling would improve the reach of rural youth to a formal training system as they would be able to access these training courses online.
A possible way forward is to set up a hybrid model of online skilling having online theory sessions along with practical training videos and also practical hands-on training model, especially for manufacturing sector skills.
Private sector participation
Private sector and industry participants should be leveraged in strengthening the skilling ecosystem. Enhanced industry linkages could lead to more employment opportunities for skilled candidates as they would be industry-ready.
Linking skill to entrepreneurship
To ensure employability, employment, entrepreneurship and self-employment amongst skilled youth the skilling curriculum should have a fair dose of entrepreneurship and know-how to start one’s own enterprise.
Skilling should create not only job seekers but also job creators and job givers.
Necessary credit support along with market linkages also needs to be provided. Setting up of incubation centres and cluster-based approach would give great impetus to this.
Soft-skills training is also an indispensable part of skilling for both employment as well as entrepreneurship.
Role of Apprenticeship in skilling
The need to strengthen and popularize apprenticeships in India is immense and immediate as it is one of the best ways of on-the-job skilling and increasing the employability of person manifold.
Apprenticeships need to be popularised and incentivised with measures like preference in recruitment, higher stipends for female apprentices and assistance to MSMEs engaging apprentices.
Integrated portal of job seekers and job givers
There is also a need to have a single integrated portal wherein all data of job seekers as well as job givers is available and regularly updated which will go a long way in augmenting matchmaking and placement of trained youth.
Facts and figures:
According to the National Policy for Skill Development, more than 54 per cent of India’s population is below 25 years of age and 64 per cent is aged between 15 and 59 years.
India has a total workforce of about 52 crores out of which 49 percent are employed in agriculture, however, their contribution is only 15 per cent of the GVA.
The Labour force Participation Rate for persons 15 years or above is nearly 49.8 per cent.
The unemployment rate, defined as the percentage of unemployed person in the labour force, was 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 and if, one considers unemployment as a percentage of the population, around 2.2 per cent of the total population was unemployed as per latest NSSO survey in 2017-18.
The unemployment rate among youth has increased over the years. During 2004-05 to 2011-12, the unemployment rate among rural youth was much higher as compared to that in the overall population.
On the skill development front, the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labour is one of the causes of increasing unemployment rates among youth.
83 per cent of the workforce is engaged in the unorganised sector.