Apprenticeships getting fit for the Beauty & Wellness sector

Welcome back to our blog series

According to a CII report “India Services Sector: A Multi-Trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth” (2017), the Indian service sector is the fastest growing service sector in the world contributing more than 60% to the economy and accounts for 28% of employment. A shift in workforce dynamics from agriculture, hitherto the dominant employer, is already underway. What are the in-demand skills needed by the next generation of workers in the service sector and is there an opportunity for VET and apprenticeships to fill the skill gap?

We are looking at opportunities in the Service sector in a 4-part blog series, with an introduction on how vocational training opportunities are opening up in the service sector. In Part I, we looked at vocational skills-based employment opportunities in Retail & E-commerce.  In Part II we turn our attention to Beauty & Wellness. Our next sector analysis in Part III will be Tourism & Hospitality.

Beauty & Wellness

With a turnover of $13 billion in 2015, the beauty and wellness market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 12% to reach $23 billion by 2020.[i]

The Annual Skills Report 2016-2017 of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship identified training and human requirement need of 8.2 million between 2017-2022 in the beauty and wellness sector, making it one of the highest growth sectors.

The Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC) has been imparting training in this sector under @PMKVY_. According to the First Annual Report (2016) of the B&WSSC there are 242 training partners pan India across India which has trained 98,744 candidates under various courses.[ii] By 2023 under @MSDESkillIndia the B&WSSC is aiming to accredit 390 training organisations, train 2,200 trainers, establish Centres of Excellence, and skill 1.67 million workers to be job ready for the market. The B&WSSC also has plans to put together national occupational standards & qualification packs for all high demand job roles in beauty and wellness.ii

The sector is divided into various segments as seen below.

Source: Annual Report 2016 Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council

126 in-demand and emerging roles have been identified, such as assistant hair stylists, assistant beauty wellness consultants, assistant nail technicians, and assistant spa therapists.ii

98,744 candidates were certified by PMKVY as of 2016 of which 66% became skilled assistant beauticians.

Source: Annual Report 2016 Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council

In addition, 42,773 individuals were trained in various beauty & wellness skills under non- PMKVY schemes and 1,348 received certifications under Recognition of Prior Learning, taking the total for 2016 to 1,42,865 skilled individuals.ii If we consider the human resource requirement of 82 lakhs between 2017-2022 in the beauty & wellness sector it does seem like an uphill battle to get anywhere close to those numbers. On the flip side the opportunities are enormous and the intent is there.

Higher Education Substitute

This sector is especially well placed to train and upskill school leavers and those with high school degrees who may not necessarily be academically inclined but may possess aptitudes to excel in trades which require specialist vocational skills. This sentiment is supported by the educational attainment levels of candidates enrolled in various courses by the B&WSSC.

Source: Annual Report 2016 Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council

It thus becomes a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to provide alternative career options and life opportunities across educational levels especially in a country with enormous demand for vocational skills. A unified effort will also raise the perceived attractiveness and value of trade skills as noted in our blog With Growing Linkage to Higher Education Can an Apprenticeship Become a Preferred Career Option? Or Even a Substitute for Higher Education?”

Worth a mention is also the Special Projects initiative by the B&WSSC for its potential to economically uplift untapped and often marginalised sections of society. These include the transgender & LGBT community, acid attack survivors, backward classes & nomadic tribes, manual scavengers & karamcharis.ii

India does not have an impressive history of an inclusive jobs market. It is therefore heartening to see good intent especially from the angle of how a vocational education could possibly provide a dignified living to those who are often ignored. There is nothing to say given the same opportunities these individuals cannot excel and become an economic force in their own right.

Improving the value of the beauty & wellness sector is yet another development where the B&WSSC in an international tie-up is mapping Indian qualification packs with the UK’s national vocational qualification (NVQ) offerings in beauty courses. So far seven high demand roles have been identified and it is perceived suitably certified Indian workers will have access to international work opportunities in these roles in the UK, Europe and UAE.ii

The Natural Way

India is the second largest exporter of ayurvedic and alternative medicine in the world.i The government expects a threefold increase in the Ayurveda market to $8 billion by 2022 from $2.5 billion in 2017.[i] Burgeoning consumer sentiment in natural health and wellness products have not been missed by new and old companies alike in the Ayurveda-based FMCG sector.  Keen to have a slice of the pie, Patanjali for instance, says it could expand current head-count five times by 2022 and double their production capabilities.[ii]

In 2016 the Ministry of AYUSH in conjunction with major Indian health insurance companies set standard tariffs for ayurvedic treatments of common health problems, thereby increasing the coverage of such treatments by insurance policies.[iii]This step, along with the introduction of NABH accreditation standards for wellness centres could further fuel demand for skilled workers such as natural medicine healers, massage therapists, Ayurveda, Unani and naturopathy counsellors. It is estimated that the AYUSH industry could provide direct employment to 1 million people and indirect jobs to 25 million persons by 2020.[iv]Policy enablers supporting skilling and employment opportunities in this sub-sector are:i

  • 100% FDI permitted in the AYUSH sector
  • Strong government support for “Wellness” under Make in India
  • Separate AYUSH ministry


The Beauty & Wellness sector in India is forging ahead with enabling policy changes and a changing mindset among a fast growing affluent and middle-class population. Increased awareness around holistic and natural wellness and rising disposable income, especially in non-metro cities will continue to strengthen the demand for beauty & wellness services. The traditional viewpoint of such services as a ‘luxury’ is turning into a necessity as looking good and feeling good is the preferred lifestyle choice. To cater to increasing demand, and to stay ahead of the curve, segments such as salons, health retreats, and fitness centres will do good to recognise and recruit skilled staff. Clearly, this is one sector that can reap enormous benefits from vocational education and apprenticeships.


i. India Services Sector A Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth, Apr, 2017, Deloitte, CII

ii. First Annual Report, 2016, Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council

iii. Government expects Ayurvedic products market to rise to $8 billion by 2022 , Oct 16 2017, Livemint

iv. Why companies like HUL, Patanjali, Dabur are taking a crack at the market for ayurvedic and herbal products, Oct 15 2017, Economic Times

v. 15 insurers offer products covering AYUSH treatment, Jul 28 2017, Economic Times

vi. AYUSH industry may create 26mn jobs by 2020, Economic Times

In our next blog in the series Why the Service Sector Matters for Vocational Training and Apprenticeships in India’ we will address the opportunities for skill training in Tourism & Hospitality. We will also be bringing you industry insights into Logistics the week after. (Please also see our blog post on Apprenticeship opportunities in the Retail & E-commerce sector)

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