Job creation has been one of the key agendas on the BJP-led government’s to-do list. It must be acknowledged that the government has launched many programmes to fulfil this goal. One such unique program was the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme kick-started in 2016. It is true that Apprenticeship Training is one of the most effective ways to foster skilled manpower in the country. The formal industry-led and practice-oriented program was planned to carve out efficient job-ready professionals out of millions of youth.
However, two years down the line, the response by employers has been somewhat tepid. Therefore, the government has now planned to introduce undergraduate apprenticeship degree courses in India alongside the traditional bachelor degrees in commerce, science and humanities. Initially, the undergraduate programme was out of the purview of the apprentice program and was the prerogative of the HRD ministry. But, in order to fill manpower gap in the industry and boost the “Make in India” campaign, the government has initiated this move, with the HRD falling in line.
The ministry is working out the modalities of the courses to be offered and how it could offer incentives to the institutes to undertake these courses. This would also include creating the desired infrastructure. In the past, the government had also planned to incentivize employers for onboarding apprentices under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. Under the scheme, the government offered to contribute 25% of the total stipend payable to an apprentice directly to the employers.
Launched in 2016, the government had aimed at increasing engagements of apprentices through National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme from current 2.3 lakh to 50 lakh cumulatively by 2020. The scheme will ramp up the entire apprenticeship ecosystem in the country and if implemented correctly, it could be a very powerful tool for skilling youth in the country.
Currently, the apprenticeship programme is skewed towards technical and manufacturing sectors. Hence, to bring about a holistic growth, the government aims to there is a mix of apprentices for all sectors and their skill sets are up to the industry levels.
Apprenticeship: An important feature across the globe
Countries across the globe have seen notable benefits out of the dual education system wherein apprenticeship programme exists alongside education. In 2013, Austria passed a law which conferred right to an apprenticeship to the youth, while in Switzerland underachieving students get enrolled for short, first-stage vocational schemes which are like prep courses to traditional apprenticeships.
The German model: A classic example
However, out of all these, it is the German model which stands out. Most of the countries try to emulate this model. The country follows a hybrid model which includes a company-based or in-school training. In the former, the company pays the apprenticeship stipend, whereas, in the latter, the state government pays the stipend. As a result of this combined effort, at December 2016, the unemployment rate for 15-24-year-olds stood at 6.7% as opposed to 17.3% across the EU.
Not just this, Germany truly holds skilled professionals in high regards irrespective of their academic grade or strata in society.
What does India need to learn?
The step towards adoption of the Dual education system or the Work-study model is a welcome move. However, the success of this model depends on the way it is implemented or perceived in the first place. Many times, the Government targets the apprenticeship programme towards those who are academically less promising or the ones from weaker sections of the society. But in both cases, the model won’t realise its true potential. The program needs to be executed with an intention to train the youth while at study across academic grades or societal background. Moreover, the Government, corporate sector and social organisations need to come together to make things happen. We are optimistic that the Dual Education system in India will be a success and the country will fight joblessness in the most effective way.