Monday, 1 July 2013

Discussing the landscape of vocational skilling

by Janie Lee 

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) held its 5th Partner’s Meet on 26th-27th June in New Delhi for its stakeholders. Government officials, vocational training organizations such as Pratham Institute, employers, and sector skill councils met to focus on the sustainability of skill development programs. Along with prioritizing sustainability, participants engaged in thoughtful dialogue about the success of having vocational skilling programs as well as the challenges that still remain.

A panel of top employers engaged with the skills training organizations to highlight the changes they saw in their organizations as a result of hiring employees who have undergone vocational skilling. In addition to saving costs by having external organizations such as Pratham train employees, the employers saw a much more confident, prepared, and skilled labor force. One of the largest coffee conglomerates stated that the employees who received three months of training through an external vocational program were as skilled as locally hired employees who had been working for twelve months.

In conjunction with celebrating successes, participants also recognized the progress that still must be made. Pratham’s CEO, Dr. Madhav Chavan, joined a panel of several training partners to discuss the challenges still faced by skills training organizations. Dr. Chavan mentioned that there is still much work to be done in regards to skilling the female population. He pointed out that while males are traveling long distances for training or relocating for new job opportunities, females are oftentimes more reluctant to leave home. Because females consist of half of our potential workforce, Dr. Chavan emphasized how crucial it was to invest more time and effort into understanding how to attract more females into the vocational skilling landscape.

While there are still plenty of milestones to reach, all stakeholders are confident that they can train an employable and skilled workforce, as proven by the 400,000 Indian youth that have already been trained. The conversation with the NSDC board members toward the end of the conference held a hopeful and determined tone. This biannual conference reaffirmed the necessity of constant reflection and rigorous review of the quality of our programs and evolving needs of our students.

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