In pursuit of skilling excellence

Growth and development are knocking on the doors of a digitally enabled India. Every year over 10 million people come of age to work, but rarely do they find a job that excites and challenges them. Managing the aspirations of this young and restless brigade has become the foremost challenge. Building skills is necessary for India to sidestep the risk of stagnation. By ploughing into our homegrown resources, India will be able to create boundless opportunities for its people. With a net enrollment rate of 5.5 million students every year for its vocational courses, India has the arduous task of converting its demographic dividend into an opportunity. Its ability to do this will showcase the country as an exemplar among emerging and developed economies.

"Over a period of five years, the National Skill Development Center (NSDC) conducted a study which suggests that by 2022 India's net requirement of manpower would be around 109.73 million. In view of this, the expectations from 'Skill India' (central government's national initiative) has been rising with every passing quarter as the need for qualitative jobs emerges pan-India."

That said, we need to take a step back and put this entire scenario into perspective. While a pertinent issue is the creation of qualitative jobs, that seems like a very first world problem. We need to be realistic to first address issues at hand that are hindering our nation's growth, such as the creation of an ample pool of skilled workers who can keep pace with the changing demands of the industry. As we take strides towards becoming the fastest growing economy in the world, among developed nations, this progress can only be sustained if we were to offer organizations access to a large pool of skilled workforce.

Skilling to create shared value

Concerns related to skilling are deep rooted. Presently, the issue may seem limited to job generation and creation of skilled labor pool, however we must aim to address grass root problems such as ensuring the availability of trainers. These trainers need to inspire and motivate the youth; they also bear the responsibility of imparting right values and lessons. At first, skilling may seem like a costly proposition that isn't directly yielding much returns. For organizations operating in a society, such as Bosch which is built on the underpinning of great social equity, we have the moral responsibility of creating shared value.

Vocational training can realize the dreams of having an equitable society

We need to create value for our economy and that is only possible through mutual growth. For that, the private and the public sector need to join hands to firstly, address key societal issues and lastly, help with the implementation of new development approaches. Jobs associated with vocational training are usually associated with social stigma. The lesser emphasis given to vocational training results in a large number of people being engaged in low paying jobs, combination of factors such as these pose a danger to India's national GDP. So it is imperative for stakeholders across both the private and public sector to jointly scale up existing skilling programs. National bodies need to ensure standardization of courses to give high practical content rather than outdated curriculum which is common on many occasions. Concerted efforts such as these should help convert our young talent into assets.

Furthermore, corporates need to actively participate in industry and government-led skill development programs. Instead of starting from ground zero, we could work towards developing and evolving the existing skilling infrastructure to meet the dynamic demands of a volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) led world. A case in point is the adoption of the renowned German dual education system, which is widely viewed as the benchmark in vocational training. Bosch India has tailored this training to meet its local requirements.

Unlocking India's latent potential through BRIDGE

Over five decades Bosch Limited has gained tremendous expertise in vocational training; after all we are home to India's premier national skilling institute- Bosch Vocational Center (BVC). For long, the management has had the desire of extending the scope of its training expertise to benefit more people. Acting on this, in 2013, Bosch's Response to India's Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement (BRIDGE) was kick started.

BRIDGE focuses on school dropout youths to ensure their job readiness for India's growing services sector. The program provides on-the-job training and 100 percent placement assistance. So far, over 7,500 youth have been trained and placed across India in more than 125 BRIDGE centers operating in either Government I.T.I.s or Private Higher Secondary Schools / Pre-University Colleges.

The intent of this program is to reshape the lives of this section of society, which is often overlooked, through education. BRIDGE aims to unlock latent talent to provide India with a pool of high-skilled manpower.

Mr. Lakshmanan R

Facing a severe shortage of well-trained, skilled workers, it is estimated that less than 5.0 percent of India's workforce has undergone formal skill training. "We had a choice to look at it as a problem or convert it into an opportunity that would prove to be beneficial for the larger good," says Mr.Lakshmanan R, deputy general manager, Bosch Vocational Center. The Center combines scale and quality of skilling efforts with speed and accuracy. This reimagined approach to learning has proven to be highly effective in filling the void as far as skilled or trained professionals is concerned.

Re-visioning India's resource mapping

Since the initiation of 'Skill India,' there has been considerable movement regarding skilling and vocational training. While much of this activity was centered around fund allocation, as industry leaders we possess knowledge across several domains that must be put to use. As the world comes to grip with the ever changing dynamics of power, technological advancement and sustainability challenges, we at Bosch Limited strongly vouch for regional successes to be built on the back of local resources. With a population of over a billion people, India is the only country accounting for such a huge section of youth. We are a nation that is powered by their intellect, enthusiasm and imagination, so the onus of channelizing their energy and making a success out of them is in our hands.