The Indian school system produces a higher percentage of unemployed individuals, indicating a lack of capabilities. According to a recent Ernst & Young survey, 93 per cent of India’s workforce is unskilled. India is one of the world’s youngest countries, with over 54 per cent of the population under the age of 25 and more than 62 per cent of the population in the working-age group (15-59 years). Given that India’s economy is predicted to develop at a sustained higher rate for the next few decades, it is on track to become the world’s second-largest economy by 2050.

As India strives to be one of the world’s most successful economic growth stories in the twenty-first century, it must ensure that its rapidly expanding workforce is capable of dealing with oncoming shocks and finding suitable employment. And we need to fix its skilling initiatives to solve this challenge.

Accelerating entrepreneurship, particularly that based on innovation, is critical for India’s large-scale job creation. The creation of jobs in the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors, which will be a crucial outcome of general economic growth, including entrepreneurship across all sectors, should be supplemented by the skills strategy. An all-encompassing strategy to entrepreneurship development in a country that is competent, quality-conscious, market-savvy, innovative, and has globally competitive entrepreneurs must be carefully mentored and encouraged.

A competent workforce is required to make India internationally competitive and to accelerate its economic progress. As India moves closer to becoming a knowledge economy, it is becoming increasingly necessary for it to focus on skill advancement, which must be relevant to the growing economic environment. An effective skill development system is essential for converting the country’s demographic dividend. As a result, to meet its ambitious skilling goal, it is critical to have holistic answers to the difficulties rather than
piecemeal initiatives.

There is a significant gap between the education and skills that young people obtain and the demands of the labour market. To create a people-centric approach to skill development, skill development initiatives must be coordinated with demand and supply scenarios across geographies, industries, and labour markets, so that new skills required by industry or changes in laboursupply can be quickly adjusted with appropriate and efficient training programmes.

To deliver a quality educational curriculum at all levels with targeted skill development programmes, industry and educational planners must collaborate to create instructional material or syllabuses. It should be updated regularly and should emphasise practical learning over theoretical learning. As a result, students should learn the relevant work abilities as demanded by the industry.

All educational and vocational systems must be linked to the labour market in such a way that they are capable of providing relevant information about growing employment opportunities, types of skills required by various jobs, and where and how those skills can be acquired through the signing of MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding). And, as a result, the socio-economic relevance of education and vocational training will be enhanced, as will the performance of market institutions in the economy. Guidelines for the National
Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) implementation: Apprenticeship training is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate a qualified workforce for the industry by utilising existing training facilities rather than incurring additional costs to set up training infrastructure.

Identifying future employment prospects and segmenting them according to the demand and feasibility of training applicants is the first step in skill development. SSCs that operate under the PPP model have a great potential of incorporating industry best practices in learning and development into their training courses. Private players can leverage technology to automate, refine, and grow the skill-based training and certification approach. Making better connections between the many players in the process, as well as setting essential deliverables and a clear chain of accountability will aid in the effectiveness of such training programmes. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to improve the accessibility of such training programmes. Making such training more district-centric, as advocated lately, is a step in that direction.

As India strives to be one of the world’s most successful economic growth stories in the twenty-first century, it must ensure that its rapidly expanding workforce is capable of dealing with oncoming shocks and finding suitable employment. And, rather than waiting until tomorrow, today is the time to address India’s problem of untrained workers and correct its skilling projects.

-Contribution for RAAY Foundation by Gaurav Bhokare