The newly released “Young India and Work” study by the Observer Research Foundation and World Economic Forum has found that an alarming percentage of youth are unaware of the government’s skill-building programmes. This is despite the fact that over seventy percent of youth cite they are very interested in pursuing skills training. Almost 6,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 30 were surveyed to get insight into their employment aspirations.

The findings point to a serious disconnect between youth aspirations towards skills training and the plethora of government skill-building programmes on offer. Close to three-fourths of youth reported never having received any skills training and cited financial barriers and time constraints as the main barriers.

51 percent of youth reported a lack of guidance and counseling in identifying jobs matching their skills, while lack of work experience was the main barrier reported by 41 percent.  Throwing light on an increased need for industry participation 49 percent of youth reported that they consider interaction with industry professionals the most valuable form of career guidance.

This study comes at a time when the country is grappling with a severe skills shortage with less than 4 percent of the population having ever received any formal vocational training. Understanding youth aspirations is a vital exercise for policy makers given that India is one of the youngest nations in the world with over 62 percent of its population in the working age group of 15-59 years. Additionally, between 12-15 million youth are expected to enter the labour force annually over the next two decades.

We have examined other findings of this report in our post ‘What Youth Really Want’

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