As we get ready to observe another World Youth Skills Day on July 15, it is imperative that India takes stock of how far it has progressed in realising the United Nations’ SDG Goal 4 target of substantially increasing “the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship”.
Are we as a country focusing too much on quantity at the expense of quality in our urge to push up the numbers of so-called “skilled youth”? Are we training our youth to obtain skills in areas which are likely to be hot in demand in the years to come and creating a seamless pathway for them to upgrade their existing skills and acquire new ones?
Are we doing enough to instill in our youth the desire to become job-givers and not job-seekers by voluntarily taking up entrepreneurship or self-employment? Are we providing women who make up almost half the population access to skills-related education as a tool of empowerment?
More importantly, are skills being given the respect they deserve both by employers and society at large? With skilled staff commanding a significant salary premium in the job market over their semi-skilled and unskilled peers?
Ever since the present Government led by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi assumed power at the Centre and established the country’s first dedicated Ministry for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, skill development has received a huge focus. The launch of the Skill India Mission, and the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the world’s biggest youth skill development initiative, have been signature measures in this regard.
Even states have now got actively engaged in promoting skills in their own regions through their respective Skill Development Missions. All these steps augur well for making the skills cause take deep roots in India.
However, for all the progress that has been made in the last few years, there is still no getting away from the fact that we need to travel much farther on the skills road if India is to realize the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s ambition of making India the Skills Capital of the World by 2022. All stakeholders would need to work unitedly to make India the benchmark for quality skills training globally.
Role of Business
Industry, specifically, must step up its involvement with the skills movement.
As principal beneficiaries of the efficiency and productivity enhancements brought in by skilled labour, they should try to create attractive career pathways for skilled and certified professionals. Hiring of skilled apprentices also needs to be stepped up significantly. Large companies, moreover, should devote a bigger portion of their CSR budgets to promote skill development.
These measures, if implemented earnestly, could result in manifold benefits.
First, it would encourage more young people to enroll at skills training institutions which would thereafter open possibilities for them to secure well-paying formal jobs.
Secondly, companies would always have a large pool of skilled prospective employees to choose from for meeting their manpower requirements.
Last, but not the least, a greater focus on skills would lead to a more inclusive growth with even the socially and economically marginalized being empowered with the wherewithal to better their stations in life through jobs or self-employment.
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama had said, “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s the difference you make in people’s lives.”
For us at Orane International, these words have always had a profound impact for it forms the core philosophy that has always driven every Oranian 24x7x365. I can assure you that going forward also, Orane would continue to be a shining example of how a business can contribute to a national good benefitting all sections of society.