Unemployment in India has been a huge issue for quite some time, and the growth rate is alarming, to say the least. Issues like the back to back crisis in certain sectors, in the recent years, is playing its part in making a huge chunk of people lose their sources of livelihood. However, the current exponential growth in unemployment is also reportedly largely impacted by the lack of skills in our workers. For instance, in industries that function purely on technicalities, like the automotive industry, the requirement of a highly skilled workforce is non-negotiable. Speaking of which, the automotive industry of India is one of the major job generators of the country, which currently employs a massive 19 million people in direct and indirect jobs, across all its verticals. While the sector is doing its bit towards solving the nationwide problem of unemployment, it is still burdened with the looming issue of skill gap. The most daunting challenge is, out of over 6 lakh certified people graduating every year in our country, only 9 percent is currently employable, which puts both the industry and the government in a bind. In fact, many companies are opting to let go of the workers with outdated skill-sets, to keep up with the huge technological advancements in the industry. While this practice won’t solve the issue, the continuation of the current status will only result in further increase in the skill-job gap, which is turning into a bad news for the economy of the country.
As India is moving towards a knowledge based economy, the government is also proactively coming up with various skilling initiatives, as well as, allocating big budgets to cater to the growing demand of up-skilling, and form a brand new ecosystem, comprising of educated and skilled people. While the government, in associations with several designated skill development training organizations have set roles to play in minimizing the gap, the Industry Associations with the Financial support (CSR) from their member organizations can play a crucial, yet meaningful role. Let us examine some of the ways in which the skilling ecosystem can be positively impacted through the active involvement of industry associations.
Proper Estimation of Demand: If the job creators of the country from every field can forecast an estimation of job roles to be filled, it will allow the trained workforce to stay in line with the demand, and their lives will become a lot easier. In fact, for the automotive skilling, centers of learnings should be run by automotive companies and organization. This will help in reduction of wastage of talent and skill-job mismatch, as it will enable the training providers to plan more effective programs to fit in to the latest trends in the job market, as well as meet the industry expectations.
Strategic Alignment with Training Providers:
A number of private companies conduct training programs for their workforce, to suit their skilling requirements. To achieve our goal of creating a talent pipeline, it is important to engage pro-actively with training providers, and have a strategic alignment at different stages of training.
On-the job Work Experience: Learning by doing is a proven technique of training, and it seems to have re-gained popularity in the recent times. As the need for firsthand work experience in the industry to achieve higher levels of expertise is constantly being emphasized, it is only right for the companies to hire trainees in bulk, and provide opportunities to train on the job. Everyone in the automotive framework, need to go through a basic foundational worker level training within the organization to get the initial hang of it.
Invest in Training Infrastructure: Industry Associations, along with their member organizations can volunteer their assistance in the training programs by solving associated problems, like providing latest training infrastructure. According to industry experts, the fast changing industry will soon have a huge requirement of new skill-sets pertaining to sensor making, social intelligence, computational thinking, and the likes. The timing could not be better for investors to provide fund, subsidize specific labs, as well as purchase equipment, as means of investment.
Invest in Trainer Training Program: Quality of training depends hugely on the efficiency of the trainers, and they play a crucial role in imparting the same. However, technical skills tend to get outdated within 2-3 years due to rapid advancements in technology, hence needs to be kept updated in regular intervals. For training faculty, it is important to keep their skills updated more than anyone else, because the rampant demand of the latest technologies will eventually be reflected in the curriculums. When that happens, the non-availability of skilled faculty with apt knowledge of these technologies can turn into a major cause of concern. Now, this gap can only be filled by prioritizing the development of trainer training programs, in which financial aid from the industry associations can become a deciding factor.
Although, the automotive industry can sure shot take heed of all of these measures to form an efficient skilling ecosystem, all these tips can be pretty effective for any other industry, as well. In addition to these, there are several other ways in which the Industry Associations and their member organizations can contribute towards the skilling ecosystem of India, including channelizing CSR funds constructively, extending industry expertise, striving for accountability and results, etc.