India is known for its robust workforce in IT and supports services across the world. Ours is a country of young population, where 50 percent of the population is below 25 years of age. No doubt that human resource is our biggest resource, and most of it belongs to the urban sectors of IT, banking and services.
But while we appreciate the opportunities that global support services outsourcing has brought to the urban centres of the country, we also must address the shortage of well-skilled workforce in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. In our country, agriculture is the backbone of our economy, which is then succeeded by the manufacturing sector and at last topped with the service industry. It is a progressive succession from agriculture to services, but in our economic progress, we somewhere skipped our manufacturing development before it matured.
Though in the wake of the past half-decade, we have seen numerous initiatives and development programs by the government, especially in the look of ‘Make In India’ initiative. When the prime minister announced this scheme, he asked the manufacturers of the world and the country to begin their making and building process here in India. The scheme not only targeted manufacturing companies but investors as well, with tax benefits, capital allotment, subsidized loans and ease of business. The government went on with big plans of making India, one of the hubs of manufacturing and creating massive growth in terms of GDP and job creation throughout multiple sectors and has witnessed considerable success until now. The Gross Value Added came to a staggering $198.05 billions between April – September 2018. And to disrupt the old notion of a service-based economy, Make in India aims to take the manufacturing sector to 25 percent of the GDP by 2022 which is just 16 percent right now. With the aim of becoming a $1 trillion industry by 2025, the manufacturing sector aims to create 100 million jobs by 2022 and this is where things get interestingly positive.
Skill Development Initiative
While the influx of manufacturing companies have increased, the need for a skilled workforce has increased with it. To cater to this consistently increasing need of efficient and skilled workforce, the state has implemented several skill development programs, to train the youth of the country in a variety of in-demand and valuable skills, in order to make them industry-relevant. One may call it parallel initiatives by the government, where both the industries benefit from each other and create consistent growth. The skill development programs are focused on inducting the youth from rural India into the economy. The problem until now was the lack of enough jobs and cut-throat competition among the present ones, a large part of the rural youth was either unemployed or working in jobs with no security and potential future. Imparting relevant skills through vocational training and making them ready for a variety of vocations will generate opportunities for them and the manufacturing sector as well. There is no doubt in the fact that through this approach, the manufacturing sector in India will realize its true potential.
Manufacturing and Apprenticeship
We mostly get to hear about the state schemes and initiatives regarding skill development and training like the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana’, but on the ground level even the big manufacturing companies are tying up with the government or even independently starting skills and vocational training institutes that focus on the skills relevant to the company. This helps these companies directly hire talent from the programs and then induct them into the workforce. Maruti Suzuki and Bosch are the primary examples of such establishments, which are training young talent in their facilities that are set up in India for generating skilled workforce and boosting apprenticeship. Along with these, there is the drive by the government which encourages the young female workforce of the country to become industry-relevant and skill equipped. Now, this is nearly 50 percent of the focused group, which eventually becomes the turnaround point for the industries.
The reason why apprenticeship and vocational training in the manufacturing sector is a smart approach, be it mobile, automobile, textile, fashion, or any other industry, is because it is sustainable in nature. Especially when medium and small enterprises hire skilled workforce, they look at a long term and efficient growth trajectory. A similar kind of economic and manufacturing structure is long-standing in Germany and is a reason for its economic might. Where the majority of the youth directly enters the workforce after relevant vocational training to generate gross value. What is even more interesting is that these people spend a lifetime working with one organization, such as the work ethic and excellent culture is there.
When India and its manufacturing sector, from large to small companies will adopt the practice of apprenticeship, it will not only bridge the gap between urban and rural employability but will benefit industries across the whole economy.