Saturday, June 25, 2022
Home Articles Apprentice Articles Why apprenticeship makes long term sense

Why apprenticeship makes long term sense

Yogesh is a practicing HR Professional with over 24 years of experience in Hospitality, Retail and Real Estate Industry. His experience spans multiple roles and assignments across operations and HR domain.

Yogesh is currently engaged as Customer Care Associate and Vice President – HR with Shoppers Stop Ltd. His previous assignment includes Vice President – HR with Hypercity, Group HR Head – AutoHangar, Vice President – HR & Retail Operations Staples Future Ltd, General Manager – HR with Raheja Universal, Reliance Retail Ltd., Mars Hospitality Group…

Yogesh holds Post Graduate diplomas in both Human Resources and Marketing. He holds certificates in various disciplines of Human Resources including Training and Psychometric evaluations.

He lives in Mumbai with his family – wife Sarika, children Akshat and Inika.

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” said Mahatma Gandhi. While we continue to do so…

We all agree that talent war has been long drawn; in most of the industry, increasing workforce cost is of concern. Most of us would agree that HR & Admin cost (namely travel, workforce count & cost, benefits etc) remains as controllable expenses. Most of COGS or utility or rental costs remain more or less stagnant or of little control unless there is large paradigm shift due to technological advancement (spelled CAPEX investment!) or tax breaks or windfall acquisition. While the dichotomy of the situation is that we continue to acquire talent laterally from the competition. Doesn’t that seem a little short-sighted?

The same talent continues to rotate amongst the few industry players, inflating the already burgeoning workforce cost.

What would be an alternative? Why Apprentices is the perfect solution. Farming, of course, has been accepted and evolved solution to hunting, a more primitive endeavor. Why not then farm (skill and develop) your own workforce.

Picture this. India has approximately 71 million enterprises (large, medium and small) and even if 50% of them engage just 1 apprentice each, we would have 35 million apprentices, which would be highest in the world. That is the potential, we hold as a country!

Unemployment data for India this year shows 31 million unemployed people. The unemployment rate has touched 7%, the highest in years.

Reports suggest 12 million enter the job market every year. While the number of jobs roughly about 500 million in the last year has remained constant signaling a tough market.

In 2017, India created 5.5 million jobs. A similar number of jobs were lost.

The trend may continue this year too with millions of job losses. The main reason for job losses is that the skills of the past are no longer relevant. Even the education in our schools and colleges including technical institutes remains irrelevant to the industry requirements. There is little or no focus on life skills or vocational knowledge. The simple 35 million apprentices’ mathematics would be an amazing positive boost to the equation above!

The future is imminent and written on the walls; we are going to lose the labor cost advantage at the rate the cost is inflating. The youngest population in the world, if unskilled and thus unemployed would become a liability than an asset.

Companies have to meet the middle ground of investing in upskilling. Many companies do not apportion the funds to upskill but it is inevitable that the price has to be paid either way as the high acquisition cost or cost of skilling.

Employees also will have to take a keen interest in developing skills for the future. Most employees do not invest in upskilling until they have a job, they simply do not see the need. Once they lose the job, they do not have the money to upskill anymore.

The solution coming out of the tailspin seems – invest in upskilling our own.

I am not even propelling the reference to Apprentice act mandating that at least 2.5% of the workforce be apprentices. Not even underlining the fact that this is a punishable offence.

I cannot even begin to compare the benefits of skilling your own. The government has introduced many incentives to engage the apprentices.

  1. You could draw your own industry-training curriculum.
  2. You pay a stipend during the training program. It saves on the statutory cost. I am not being stingy but consider this; most of the attrition is faced during 0-3-6 months period. Employees that have gone through attrition can’t avail of the benefit due to the short-term thus the investment on either side is wasted.
  3. It gives many opportunities for an employer and employee to evaluate each other, ensuring that commitment on both sides is long term. Sounds like live-in J
  4. The training period is flexible from 1 year to 3 years, depending on your requirement.
  5. Most importantly, you get a workforce trained and skilled as per your need.

My only submission as an HR practitioner and having run the apprentice program for a couple of years that this would help add skilled (relevant) workforce, manage the cost and give back to the country and industry!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be in the know of all that's happening in the apprenticeship ecosystem, with a weekly digest.