India Apprenticeship Forum and NETAP Take Centre Stage

The National Employability through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP) and the India Apprenticeship Forum (IAF) partnered to organise a felicitous interactive discussion on “Leveraging the Power of Apprenticeships for Creating Human Capital” in New Delhi on 15th Feb 2019. NETAP is a multi-modal apprenticeship training program offered by TeamLease Skills University, India’s first private Skills University. The IAF is the first and only online, independent, non-profit platform with a mission to advocate apprenticeships and vocational skills training as crucial pathways to address India’s skills challenges.

It is estimated that 90% of 450 million jobs in India require some form of vocational skills. And only around 4% of the workforce have formal vocational skills. The topic of discussion at the event was hence most befitting to current times, and drew an eminent panel from government and industry including the Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajesh Aggarwal, who in his keynote address said, “As government we stand here and very clearly say that if there are things to improve we are ready to walk the talk, we are ready to take it forward. The intent is that industry must come forward and evangelise apprenticeships so the youth of today get the right path.”

The event was organised around case studies and panel discussions which delivered a strong message that apprenticeships have all the key ingredients to power up the country’s youth with industry relevant skills and build a continuous supply of talent pool. In the face of severe skills shortages and high unemployability, the panel discussions, moderated by Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-founder, and EVP, TeamLease Services, examined pertinent aspects of India’s skill challenges:

  • New age hiring outlook for apprenticeship programs
  • Opportunities and challenges faced by youth
  • Hiring, attracting & retaining the right talent
  • Multi-modal versus modular training programs

Emphasising the importance of the on-the-job learning element of apprenticeships participants stressed on the ‘earning while learning’ apprenticeship model as a comprehensive solution to India’s skilling crisis and called for a unified effort to find ways to have 2 million apprentices by 2022. At this point at best there are 3 lakh apprentices in the country.

Vice President of NETAP Sumit Kumar, said, “Apprenticeships are a powerful tool to create talent. India has a well-established and regulated apprenticeship system, however, it is highly under-utilised. We need active participation from employers, youth, regulators, and academia to scale up the apprenticeship ecosystem in India. We hope this initiative of ours will translate in building human capital for the country, bridging skill deficit in the industry and enhancing youth employability.”

Other prominent dignitaries on the panel discussion were Mr. Surajit Roy, Senior Head, National Skill Development Corporation; Mr. Dharm Rakshit, Senior General Manager – HR (Hero Moto Corp Ltd); Mr. Gautam Saraf, Head HR (Colorbar Cosmetics, 24Seven Retail and Modicare Foundation); and Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Head Strategic HR Projects, Hindustan Zinc Ltd (Vedanta).