Skill development is critical for economic growth and social development. The demographic transition of India makes it imperative to ensure employment opportunities for more than 12 million youths entering working age annually. It is estimated that during the seven-year period of 2005-2012, only 2.7 million net additional jobs were created in the country.
“Education, vocational training and lifelong learning are central pillars of employability, employment of workers and sustainable enterprise development”
– International Labour Organisation
To enable employment ready workforce in the future, the youth need to be equipped with necessary skills and education.
Our country presently faces a dual challenge of severe paucity of highly-trained, quality labour, as well as non-employability of large sections of the educated workforce that possess little or no job skills. The skill development issue in India is thus pertinent both at the demand and supply level. To meet the demand side challenge, consistent efforts are being made towards expansion of economic activities and creation of large employment opportunities.
On the supply side, a simple look at the projected youth population provides a fair reason to believe that India has the strength to cater to this demand. However, the employability quotient is questionable and remains a major area of concern. Already huge gaps exist between the industry requirements and the level of skills of workers due to varied reasons including inadequate training infrastructures, inappropriate mix of skills and education, outdated curricula, limited industry interfaces, limited standards, etc.
The skill development ecosystem in India is skewed towards a formal education system with limited vocational training. While the vocational training is in a dismal state both qualitatively and quantitatively, the higher education system itself is grappling with issues related to scale and quality.
Moreover, there is a disconnect between the formal education system and work requirements, compounding the challenges related to the skill gap. A concerted action is thus required on the supply side to ensure sustained employability of the Indian youth. Extensive efforts to skill the workforce are required, both in quantity and quality. Transforming the skill development ecosystem and making it responsive to needs of both industry and citizens requires a scalable, efficient and comprehensive vocational training ecosystem to meet future requirements.
There is a need to assess the traditional approach of skill development delivery in India in light of the successful models and best practices in other economies. The learning can be imbibed and custom adopted to address the skill development challenges of India. This is one of the key objectives of the study presented.