We need to talk more about Apprenticeship than Automation!

On 20th July 2018 Prime Minister Modi was responding on No-Confidence motion debate in parliament and last 10 minutes of his speech focused exclusively on Employment and Employability in India. We all rejoiced when couple of months back India became the 6th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, but ironically India’s Human Development Index(HDI) is 0.624 and ranks dismal 131 in the world. Enhancing employment, employability and education landscape in India is imperative to improve HDI in the long run.

When we look at statistics there are a lot of bridges to be built in order to shrink the employability and skill deficit in India. According to the India Skills report, of the 7 million students graduating every year only 45% are employable. More than 12 million youth between 15 and 29 years of age are expected to enter India’s workforce every year for the next two decades. The government’s recent skill gap analysis concludes, that by 2022, approximately 109 million more skilled workers would be needed in 24 key sectors of the economy. This skill assessment clearly indicates the scarcity of skilled workforce in India who can take the jobs.

Google Trend result for Apprenticeship and Automation for last 12 months

It is ironical that we are dealing with fundamental issues of employability and skill deficit and we are making the buzz about Automation killing our jobs and Automation has trended more than Apprenticeship in India in past 12 months as per Google Trends. It is estimated that 90% of the 450 million jobs in India require vocation skills however only 7% of youth receive any kind of vocational training and neither kid, not employer is willing to pay for the entry-level training. Earn while Learn model is a comprehensible solution to this problem and Apprenticeship comes in the picture here.

For apprentices, an apprenticeship provides a chance to earn an income while learning and to combine theoretical and practical training. Satisfying the aspirations of apprentices must be a central part of any reforms. For employers, apprenticeship provides a structured form of training that should provide confidence in the quality of people who have completed apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships have been recognized as an effective way for young people to make the transition from school to work whilst at the same time improving links between industry and training institutions. The Indian apprenticeship system is well established and supported by legislative and administrative arrangements that span several decades. However, by international standards, it is considered to be under-utilized, with inadequate incentives for employers, and insufficient structure and resources to support quality vocational outcomes.

Currently, India has only about 300,000 apprentices in 24,000 establishments. By comparison, the number of employers that employ apprentices in just one state in Australia, Queensland is 22,500, and in the UK there are 120,000 establishments employing apprentices. The government of India is actively putting in schemes and legislation to boost and glorify Apprenticeship in India. In 2014 National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) was launched, under this scheme various private skill development companies have started deploying apprentices on sites and in order to increase the signaling value of apprenticeship they facilitate diplomas/certificates to kids.

Our Minister of Skills Dharmedra Pradhan recently said, “ Apprenticeship is one the most sustainable model for addressing the issue of unemployment and employability”. We need to have widespread social acceptance to Apprenticeship which will provide much needed demographic dividend to our society and we certainly need to change that Google Trend.

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