India, with over 808 million youth below 35, faces a critical reflection on potential versus realisation, ambition versus support, and the correlation between employment and employability. The skill deficit, with only 5% formally skilled, and a focus on formal learning, leaves graduates unprepared for the competitive job market. The shift towards holistic skill-based education, as outlined in NEP 2020, becomes imperative for success.

The changing dynamics: Elevating employabilty via skill development

The goal of skill development is to enhance employability, transitioning unskilled workers into formal employment, improving job quality and livelihoods. The evolving job market demands skills aligned with business productivity. Formal education’s impact on job efficacy, except in roles like R&D, is minimal. On-the-Job Training (OJT) has become critical for success.

Industries are adapting to this reality. Models like Managed Training Services ensure formal training before deployment, ranging from 15 days to several months for specialized roles in engineering. Another innovative approach involves hiring individuals slightly below the required skillset, providing tailored training, and deploying them – a ‘try and buy’ model – that streamlines recruitment processes.

Government-mandated apprenticeships, traditionally for blue-collar jobs, now extend to white-collar domains, offering premium stipends exceeding Rs.50,000 per month. One of the significant benefits of skill development is its compounding effect on productivity and growth. Our studies have shown that higher education embedded apprenticeships result in a substantial 20%-25% increase in productivity. This heightened productivity, in turn, is poised to drive business growth, translating into job creation.

Challenges and opportunities in job creation The impending job landscape in India necessitates a blend of advanced technical skills and softer, transferable skills. The urgency of providing early exposure to these skills during high school is underscored to ensure that young individuals are adequately prepared for the workforce. According to a World Economic Forum report, by 2027, 69 million new jobs will be created, while 83 million will be eliminated. The era of generalists is giving way to an era of specialists. Significant demand will be witnessed for AI and ML professionals, sustainability specialists, business intelligence analysts, and information security specialists in the next few years.As technology continues to reshape industries, job creation is expected in sectors such as Electronics and Electricals, Automotive (especially in the EV sector), fintech, and healthtech. Digitization, robotics, and the implementation of AI/ML and Deep Data Analytics across functions are driving these changes.

The influx of new technologies has compelled businesses to expand their workforce, with over 54% of India’s workforce requiring reskilling.

In conclusion, as India stands at the precipice of a transformative era, reimagining education, emphasizing on-the-job training, and embracing apprenticeships will be pivotal in shaping a workforce that is not just equipped with theoretical knowledge but possesses the skills that gives businesses competitive advantage. India’s future success lies in nurturing a workforce that is agile, adaptable, and ready to thrive in the dynamic landscape of the global economy.

The author is CEO of TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship


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