'The Indian auto sector will require around 15 million skilled manpower in the next 10-odd years.'

Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO, National Skill Development Corporation, speaks to Brian de Souza on how to bridge the skills gap in the Indian automotive sector.

By Brian de Souza calendar 26 Dec 2014 Views icon7884 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'The Indian auto sector will require around 15 million skilled manpower in the next 10-odd years.'

Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO, National Skill Development Corporation, speaks to Brian de Souza on how to bridge the skills gap in the Indian automotive sector. 

With the buzzword being skills, what are the key areas in which we see a current and emerging skills gap?

India’s labour market is undergoing a dynamic change. It is expected that over the next 10-15 years, 365 million people will be eligible to join the workforce. Over the next decade and a half, 11–13 million people are expected to look for jobs each year.

Despite this huge labour pool, however, employability continues to be a major concern mainly due to the absence of a proper linkage between the formal education system and vocational training. The challenge with India’s skill space was two-fold:

Demand side: According to our skill gap analysis for 22 high growth sectors, industry will require 347 million trained workers by 2022, to sustain its growth. With another 150 million require up-skilling/re-skilling. Industry did not have a say in forming curriculum, and setting standards, for the skilling program across the country. As a result, the majority of the students coming out of the system were unemployable.

Supply side: We require an eight-fold increase in the existing capacity to train 500 million people by 2022. Ninety percent of the students drop out at different levels before they reach college. The majority of these students are unemployable due to lack of skills.

Identifying this challenge, the government formed the National Policy on Skill Development in 2009, with a target of training 500 million people by 2022. Of these, NSDC was mandated to skill 150 million people by catalysing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational training institutions across the country. The remaining are to be skilled through various initiatives by 19 ministries under the Central Government.

What are the skills gaps in the auto sector?
The automotive sector will require around 15 million skilled manpower in the next 10-odd years. The need of the hour is a workforce in this sector that has skills training and sufficient practical knowledge of vehicle operations and service.

Once candidates have both theoretical and technical knowledge, there will be more employment opportunities. With the government’s focus on ‘Make in India’ campaign, opportunities for manufacturing in the automotive sector will also see new prospects and more job opportunities across different trades.

The Automotive Skill Development Council established by the auto industry in partnership with NSDC and the heavy industries ministry has a crucial objective to achieve. It is important for the industry, the academia and the private players to come together, devise a module focus on improving competitiveness by integrating new requirements such as fuel cells, electric cars, new materials, telematics and mechatronics with automotive engineering.

The focus has to remain on enhancing and standardising delivery mechanism for the courses through existing institutes/ delivery partners and ensure quality assurance by streamlining certification framework

How can we be sure that skills gaps have been mapped accurately?
The NSDC had commissioned skill gap studies back in 2008-2009. These studies were done across regions (state and district-wise reports) as well as industries (sector-wise reports) and are available on our website (http://www.nsdcindia.org/nsdcreports).

Keeping in view the ongoing socio-economic progressions, NSDC has commissioned revised skill gap study across different sectors to see if there is any change in the skill gap requirement with regards to the earlier reports. These reports are expected to be available by end-December 2014.

What kind of alliances are you reaching with the private sector?
The NSDC aims to skill 150 million by 2022 and will do that through alliances and partnerships with the private sector in a massive way.

We work towards creating additional skilling capacity through approved and funded training partners. We have approved160 training partners, of which 114 are funded. These partners include corporate such as  Mahindra & Mahindra, Future Group, Asian Paints and IL&FS  to first-time entrepreneurs like Talent Sprint and Gram Tarang.

We also have been able to set up 31 Sector Skill Councils, which are industry bodies responsible for standardising content and curriculum through National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualification Packs (QP). Each SSC comprises of representatives from leading industry players. Around 2,366 NOSs have been developed for and 893 QPs/job roles till date.

We have also tied up with numerous international organisations such as TAFE University (Australia), Heraud Training and Education (Australia), Manipal — City & Guilds (UK), amongst others.

Specific to the auto sector, we recently signed an MoU with Tata Motors to collaborate on a variety of skill development programmes. Under the MoU, ‘Automobile’ skills will be introduced as one of the vocational subjects for 11th and 12th standard students at some government schools identified by Tata Motors in partnership with the government, and in line with the implementation of National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) at the school level. These courses will be developed in alignment with National Occupational Standards (NOSs) developed by Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC). Skills identification and nurturing them are in themselves specialised tasks.

How do we get the best experts to do this?
The NSQF has been devised to identify skills which will nationally integrate education and competency based frameworks, providing multiple pathways, horizontal as well as vertical, both within vocational education and vocational training and among general education and technical education.

This helps in linking one level of learning to another higher level. There are 10 levels with the entry level being 1, and the highest level being 10. This will enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and, at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade competencies.

Till date, the total number of National Occupational Standards approved till date are 2366 and Qualification Packs 893. The ASDC till date has developed 188 Qualification Packs. 519 unique National Occupation Standards in the Qualification Packs have been developed and 119 QPs have been declared as NOSs. A research study that our team conducted in 2013 indicated that the country would need close to one million technical instructors in the mid- to long-term and that in order for any kind of progress to become achievable, the quality of their skills and competences would have to be close to standards that countries such as Germany maintain.

This is the case especially in the most difficult area of all: practical skills training. Our Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) comprise of the experts from the respective sectors themselves. Each candidate who undergoes training by a training partner has to get certified by the corresponding SSC, for which he/she needs to be assessed. Assessors are deployed by SSCs and the highest standards are adhered to during assessments.


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