How to Start an Apprenticeship Program in MSME Sector

MSME Sector

With the recent developments by the government a lot of industries especially the ones in the MSME sector have opted to facilitate apprentices. But most of them don’t even know how to smoothly conduct these programs. 

If organisations that are clueless yet really want to know more about the  process of setting up an apprenticeship program then this blog is the perfect guide. Here we will decode step by step the process to kickstart an apprenticeship program in the MSME sector. 

But first let us understand the importance of apprenticeship especially in the MSME sector. 

Importance of Apprenticeship Program 

There are a lot of benefits of apprenticeship programs when it comes to the organisations in the MSME sector. Like;

  1. Recruit and train a skilled workforce which helps in growing their business.
  2. It helps in developing an environment of youthful talent in the organisation
  3. Apprenticeship in MSME is a cost effective way of increasing the workforce.
  4. It improves productivity and profitability for the organisation. 
  5. Helps you create a pool of talent resource for future use

How can big organisations influence medium to small sized organisations to start an apprenticeship program

To start something new for the MSME sector is quite challenging due to the lack of proper mentoring, guidance and expertise. They don’t have the same budget as big organisations for training, resources and salaries. 

The only way in which big companies can influence small and medium companies is by guiding them in implementation of government schemes such as NAPS. NAPS was launched in 2016 with the aim of providing funds, support and guidance to the interested employers. The smaller industries and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) are mostly under the jurisdiction of states. To help these businesses grow, some great reforms have been put in place. In the past, district units monitored apprenticeship programs which were run by private institutions, but with the latest skill development reforms, they can work with the government and create their own programs at district level.

Also Read: Top 10 Things You Should Ask While Hiring an Apprentice

Steps to create an apprenticeship program

Here are a few steps for easy implementation of apprenticeship program on your factory floor. 

Step 1 – Determine the goals of the program

While there are a lot of benefits of an apprenticeship program in the MSME sector, it requires significant efforts in setting up the program for the first time. In the starting, the first step one should take is to finalise vision with the apprenticeship program and how it needs to impact the company in a positive way. 

Some of the questions which you should ask yourself which will help you in easing down this process are:

  1. How long will the program run? 
  2. Do you have sufficient funds to support the apprentices?
  3. Do we have skilled trainers to conduct the training?
  4. How many apprentices are you looking to onboard? 
  5. Who will oversee and run the program?

An important point to note here is that this program is of as much importance to the apprentice as it is for the company. So, one should lay down their goals keeping in mind that the value should be provided to the apprentice as well as the company.

Step 2 – Decide on how the classroom learning will be conducted

Unlike internships, apprenticeship programs involve classroom training along with field training. So the company has to decide on how to conduct these classroom learning sessions. 

Some of the options which can explore to set this up are:

  1. Provide classroom training yourself.
  2. Hire an educator who can come to your place and teach the courses
  3. Use online learning methods
  4. Partner and get along with the community college

Step 3 – Build a hands-on training plan

An apprenticeship program involves hands-on training. This helps the apprentices in gaining practical and field knowledge which they will not get in normal theory sessions at the school or college. Also, it provides the company with additional labourers which they use for their own benefit. 

Some of the questions which you should ask yourself before building a hands-on training plan are:

  1. Who will take the field sessions?
  2. What will be the frequency of the training session?
  3. What will be the parameters which decide the progress and completion of the training? 

Step 4 – Develop a Mentorship Program

Any apprenticeship is incomplete without a mentorship program. Apprenticeships are only there in your organisation because they want to learn and grow. And studies have shown that mentorships are beneficial for both the organisation and the apprentices as they create a healthy talent pipeline wherein people who are good and well engaged are retained by the organisations. 

Some of the key considerations while setting up mentorship program are:

  1. Who will look after and run the mentorship program
  2. What will be the selection process for choosing the right mentor?
  3. What additional resources and training will the company provide the mentor? 

Step 5 – Create a smooth recruiting and hiring process

All the efforts will go into vain if this step is not followed correctly. A proper system and process needs to be in place in order to recruit and train the top talent. Another important point should be considered while looking for apprentices is building relationships with potential sources of talent (schools, colleges, etc.) which in turn will give a fresh pool of talented people. 

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Overcoming the challenges

There are a ton of challenges which stand in the way of MSME’s when we look at promoting apprenticeship programs. There is a huge untapped market of apprentices in India for the MSME sector. The trend is slowly picking up and a lot of small and medium scale industries are looking at leveraging the benefits of apprenticeship programs. 

The main challenge which lies in the way is that the main value proposition is yet to be understood by most of the industries. The other major challenge is the penetration to the states. Although the government has come up with fresh laws and schemes like NAPS, the state governments are yet to sensitise the laws in full and how it will boost the economy and the unemployed youth. In addition to this, there is also a need to create awareness about the seamless operations possible to run apprenticeship programs for various companies and its stakeholders. 

Role of the Government

When it comes to apprentices and skilling the youth, the government has brought about a lot of amendments. Schemes and initiatives have been introduced to create awareness and prompt apprenticeship training in the country. Although the central government has played its part, yet the penetration to the states is quite low. The major role now has to be played by the state governments and help the youth get skilled through these programs. 


So, we hope you have got your questions answered related to starting an apprenticeship program in the MSME sector. You should keep in mind that starting a program is one thing and successfully completing it with full honesty is another.

Organisations should not look at apprenticeship as an extra effort, but as an opportunity to create a skilled workforce and a pipeline for the future.