Bengaluru: The unemployment rate among Indian youth in the age group of 15-29 at 13.3 per cent in 2012-2013, says a recent report from the labour ministry.
The current workforce across the country is 50 crore. Of this, more than half (52 per cent) are self-employed, while 18 per cent work as regular wage empl-oyees and 30 per cent as casual labourers.
“One way to make sure that unemployment rates go down, is to revive the age-old tradition of apprenticeship in the country” says Rituparna Chakra-borty, vice-president of Indian Staffing Federa-tion.
Stating that the current state of unemployment is one of the by-products of ignoring formal on-the-job training, she said “India was a land that had practiced apprenticeship or learning by doing. In fact, it was one of the priorities of Indira Gandhi’s 20-point programme, which over time has been neglected, creating an unemployability crisis today.”
At present, India has only three lakh formal apprentices, thanks to the outdated provisions of the Apprenticeship Act 1961. Compare this with smaller countries like Germany and Japan that have 60 lakh and one crore apprentices respectively.
Staffing firms like TeamLease Services, which has hired 13 lakh employees till now, paying them an average monthly salary of `14,000 is in the process of setting up India’s first Vocational Skills University in Gujarat, which is scheduled to start operations in June 2014.
“We will offer skill-based academic programmes to students with higher secondary or equivalent qualifications who will then be enrolled into apprenticeships by the manufacturing and service sectors in Gujarat, after which they will be absorbed as employees” said Ms Rituparna, who is also the co-founder and senior V-P, TeamLease Services.
Staffing firm Randstad facilitates apprenticeships globally by tying up with vocational training institutes. According to Randstad India president (staffing) Aditya Narayan Mishra, “In Germany, we assist vocational training institutes in placing their students in organisations that have apprenticeship programmes.
While we have no initiatives in India, our client Toyota Motors runs a three-year vocational training programme close to their manufacturing facility in Bidadi on the outskirts of Bengaluru, to train people in production processes. These people are then inducted into their shopfloor.
Similarly L&T runs a one year construction education programme in Hydera-bad, on completion of which, those found suitable are inducted into the company.”
Industry has taken the initiative to skill people, as they find the quality of vocational education in India unsatisfactory, he added.
Apprenticeships are traditionally popular with the manufacturing sector and has not yet percolated down to the services sectors, says Thammaiah B N, director of staffing firm Kelly Services.
“It would certainly ease the unemployment scenario if the services sector adopted the apprenticeship model,” Thammaiah said....