India Auto Sector’s Initiatives to Overcome the Skill Gap in the Industry
The India Auto Inc. has been a promising avenue that has proven to be highly advantageous for the economy. Recently, from contributing a solid 7.1 percent to the country’s GDP, to working on making India emerge as the third largest passenger vehicle market by 2021, to employing a notable 19 million people across all verticals, it has offered a lot, and has a lot more in stock for the future. However, despite having such majestic presence on the face of the country’s economy, the sector is not immune to certain challenges. The biggest among them is the notorious skill gap, and it is entailed by related challenges like training of trainers, mobilization of candidates for skills training, and industry’s reluctance to revise wage for freshly up-skilled manpower.
Even though there is a continuous growth in the number of fresh graduates every year, there are just not enough employable youth in India, with any specific capabilities. If no proper measures are taken for the workforce to pick up their pace in skilling and reskilling, and upgrade their existing skill set to align it with new disruptive forces, a major chunk of today’s manpower will fall prey to job polarization. More and more companies will opt for the most efficient option available, which is automation. And don’t we all know what that would mean?
Hence, it is about time we look for solutions to overcome each and every challenge on the road of bridging the skill gap, that has the potential to put millions of jobs at stake.
Trainer’s training: Being a trainer is not a regular choice of career. The reason is, while there are high expectations from trainers to come fully equipped with all sorts of skills that are commonly found in the ones with industry experiences, the pay for this job is pretty low. The solution is to begin training of trainers. We have to start by building aspiration among the youth to become a vocational trainer, followed by building competencies in them. Additionally, we have to address issues like the process of vocational training, the need for certification of a vocational trainer, and how it can become a norm for all the trainers across country.
Mobilization of candidates for skills training, making it aspirational: It is a major challenge for the industry, as over the last decades, we have degraded the definition of physical work, so much that now skilling is perceived as something just required for manual jobs. It is difficult to mobilize people in the rural areas for vocational training as they do not have aspirations to migrate to the cities and work hard. The solution is awareness. The youth needs to be made aware of the job opportunities that they might land into after training. It will also take proper counselling to change people’s perception, and show them the path from skill to entrepreneurship.
An Appropriately Revised Wage Structure for Freshly Up-skilled Manpower: Digging deep into the problem of skill gap, we can see how contrary to popular notions, another challenge in bridging the skill gap in India is an unchanging pay structure for an up-skilled resource. Along with the workers who train hard to upgrade their skills, companies can also respond positively to the changes in the supply of skills, and pay the market price for the skills they require. Workers will find skilling attractive only if they feel they can reap benefits out of it, not the other way round.
While the government is proactively indulging in this matter, and coming up with several initiatives like Skill India program and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana for efficient skilling of manpower, active participation of the industry associations, and companies are considered highly instrumental in materializing these schemes. The good news is, the process is already on the move, as several major manufacturing companies like Tata Motors, are coming up with promising skill development initiatives in associations with ASDC.
Another leading passenger vehicle manufacturer of India, Maruti Suzuki is one of the early birds to implement the idea of skilling its people. They started in 2005, and ever since, they have been successfully offering trade-wise support, adopting ITIs, and have set up the Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing (JIM) in Gujarat and Haryana. The manufacturing giant also boasts of 100 percent placement of the initial batches of JIM.
Likewise, Toyota is also putting as much effort to sustainably produce a generation of skilled personnel on a yearly basis. They have set up a Toyota Technical Training Institute in 2007, which is accredited by JIM, and are providing relevant skills to 8000 students under Toyota Technical Education Program (TTEP). They have also set up Toyota’s Gurukul, a skill development center within its premises for its new employee induction program.
Following suit, other passenger vehicle manufacturing giants of India like Hyundai Motors, Nissan, Honda, Yamaha, Kia Motors, etc. are making dynamic moves to contribute towards building a skilled and competent generation of personnel, trained on advanced technologies to meet the global industry demands. The diverse initiatives taken by these players include setting up of multiple skilling centers across the country, signing different MoUs with skilling associations like NSDC and several training institutions to make their workforce ready for future technologies. In addition to these wide range of manufacturing companies, apex bodies like SIAM and ACMA, along with a number of dynamic OEMS and suppliers are also contributing towards skilling the youth of India, and bringing a difference in the world.