As Head – HR for Kewal Kiran Clothing Ltd, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Chauhan looks after a gamut of HR functions including manufacturing plants for more than 2000 employees. He is instrumental in implementing Corporate HR strategies, OD interventions and Change Management. He has formulated HR manuals and has rolled out the best HR architecture and practices to build a good work culture within the company. He has been awarded as one of the “Most talented 100 Global CHROs” by World HRD Congress and is an active member of the HR committee of Retail Association of India.
Post-2012, the G20 Labour and Employment ministers’ meet in Mexico and ILO’s emphasis on the significance of generation of quality and skilled manpower for a more stable growth of the industry, has resulted in changing the dimensions of Apprenticeship programmes in the Indian Industry space.
The present Central Government has effectively used the Apprenticeship platform to bridge the gap between the unemployed and the skilled employable youths. After the Apprenticeship (Amendment) Act , 2014 , the principle of “Learning by Earning“ and “Learning by Doing “ was smartly contemplated by distinguishing the ‘Designated trades and Optional Trades’ to promote more confidence among employers in accepting Apprenticeship as an alternative engine to generate more skilled manpower with lesser interference from labour law enforcement agencies. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the umbrella of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Rojgar Yogna (PMKRY) scheme, the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) guidelines were devised in a tailor-made manner to promote apprenticeship “As gaining a licence to become more employable in the industry“. The National Skill Development Council (NSDC) also did remarkable contributions by setting up industry wise Sector Skill Councils (SSC) to develop competency framework, conduct Train-the-Trainer Programs, conduct skill gap studies and assess and certify trainees on the curriculum aligned to National Occupation Standards. Also, NSDC through SSC is now giving monetary incentives to the employer through the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) in various certified optional trades. For instance, the Retailer Association Skill Council of India (RASCI) is doing a commendable job in the organised retail sector by conducting mass job fairs and promoting the retailers to undertake more apprenticeship schemes like NAPS so that employment opportunities for apprentices can be scaled up.
A timely transformation in apprenticeship programmes in tune with the industry requirements has resulted in winning the confidence of employers who gradually have come out of the shackles of misunderstanding about the traditional Apprenticeship which was once upon a time more cumbersome and limited to designated trades in the manufacturing industries. Then, the Government master stroke initiative to route the optional trades of Apprenticeship through NEEM agents and review the NEEM guidelines in accordance with the various Industry requirement and employer participative approach made these flexible apprenticeship schemes in optional trades more effective and successful across the industry.
Nowadays, Apprenticeship Schemes are no doubt more employer-friendly after engaging the NEEM agent and Skill Development Councils as an intermediary who are more empowered and given enough autonomy to function independently. Simultaneously, the Government should also be more vigilant and conscious while creating more comfortable and hassle-free atmosphere among the employers after diluting the employees friendly social security legislation like PF, ESI , Bonus and ensure that complicating labour rights should not be pushed to the corner with certain limits on behest of apprenticeship which may make these Apprenticeship programmes more vulnerable to be easily manipulated and used by the employers in the industrial sector for their own benefit and advantage because at the end of the day they are all profit making body and most of them will do everything to churn out profit out these apprenticeship schemes.
The Industry employer needs to understand that “Apprentices are trainees and not workers “ and these apprentices cannot be a substitute for their contractual or temporary staffing requirements of the organisation.
The India Apprenticeship Forum is extremely pleased to lend wholehearted support to these views of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. We have explored similar sentiments in our blogs Apprenticeship as a career – linked to or delinked from higher education? and Making apprenticeships more inclusive through TVET where we have looked at how an apprenticeship can be a substitute for higher education for youth to become a skilled tradesperson. We have further explored how government and industry can add more sheen to apprenticeships as a valuable career path.