Mumbai: A new report commissioned by the City & Guilds Group, a global leader in skills development, indicates that India could benefit substantially from additional investment in vocational education and training (VET). However, a bias against vocational education, a lack of coherent delivery mechanisms at state level and a complex skills system is preventing it from reaching its full potential.
The report looks at the impact of investing in VET in four countries – India, the UK, the USA and South Africa – and highlights how VET can have a significant impact on economies across the world. In the UK, a 10% increase in professional and technical skills over the next ten years could increase UK GDP by £163 billion by 2025. In the UK and US, a 10 percentage point increase in the number of 16-18 year olds enrolled in vocational education could lead to a 1.5 percentage point reduction in youth unemployment.
Currently only 2.3% of the current Indian workforce has undergone skills training, compared to 68% in the UK, so increasing investment in VET could see significant returns for India’s economy.
Additionally, India is in strong position to provide skilled labour where the rest of the world is forecast to experience a skills shortage, thanks to its booming youth population. The report suggests that the US will experience a shortfall of 17 million skilled workers while India will have a surplus of 47 million by 2022. VET is therefore crucial to the growth and development of India but also in helping to close the skills gap in other countries worldwide. Developing international partnerships is key to India’s skills policy to ensure that skills comply with international demand and quality standards.
The report also explores how VET is often perceived across the world as secondary to academia, inaccessible and overly complex. The City & Guilds Group emphasises that changing this perception will benefit societies, employers and individuals on a global scale.
As per estimates made by the National Skill Development Ministry, India requires resources to the tune of about INR 4 lakh crore to achieve the target of training nearly 500 million people while only Rs 15,000 crore has been allocated for 2015-16.
Rajesh Kaimal, Head of Manipal City & Guilds said: ‘India is one of the youngest nations in the world, but the future workforce needs to be equipped with the right skills so that it can contribute to India’s ongoing growth. As the report shows, there are a number of issues that still need to be tackled, so we are glad that the government has identified the impending skills gaps in the country and the impact they could have on the economy.
‘The target set by the National Skills Development Policy of skilling or upskilling 500 million workers by 2022 is ambitious, but if it’s achieved, India will be in a competitive position compared to other developing countries in the future. We’ve already seen a number of positive steps forward towards achieving a stronger skills system, such as the introduction of sector skills councils to boost employer engagement with skills. But more must be done to incentivise vocational training by recognising and rewarding workers who have undertaken skills development programmes.’
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