Enhancing the skills among the youth and then making them employable is nothing less than a challenge during pandemic, even after pandemic. The government is striving to give a boost to the apparel sector manufacturing in India and has developed a comprehensive plan to realise the vision of making the country self- reliant through ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. Apparel Made-Ups & Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council (AMH SSC) is a not‐for‐profit Organization, registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. AMH SSC envisions enabling world class apparel, made-ups and home furnishing manufacturing industry with an ecosystem for skill development and enhancing employability of the large number of Indian human resources.
With so many years of working closely with the government, industry, global standards organizations, multilateral bodies, policymakers, etc. What would you say has changed in regard to approaching skill development in the country?
While all successive governments had done well to promote Skilling in the country, this government took a lead in many ways to boost the skilling ecosystem in the country. First of all a major decision of creating a separate Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship clearly spelt out the intentions of this government towards skilling. Further creation of Pradhan Mantri Kausahl Kendra (PMKK) also was a big step towards providing skilled manpower in a unified and qualitative way. Opening of the Skill Universities is yet another step towards bringing the subject of skilling to a respectable level. The best part is that the Skill India Mission is amongst the closest dream projects of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and as such, the entire nation is behind him in this quest.
As for your current role as the CEO of the Skills Council, what are some of the programs you are spearheading to drive the skilling narrative of the nation?
Being an industry body, our quest is to ensure that skilled manpower is available in our Apparel industry and on the other hand unemployed youth gets employed or self-employed. As CEO of the Sector Skill Council our major function is to participate in the flagship scheme of the MSDE, namely Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and other government schemes, like DDU GKY, Samarth, Learn and Earn etc. Till now we have participated in PMKVY-1 and PMKVY-2 schemes quite successfully, wherein, we have provided trainings to approx. 12 lakh persons across the country and have got more than 6 lakh persons employed or self-employed. We are now looking forward to participate in the PMKVY-3 scheme which is likely to be soon implemented.
Other major schemes in which we provide skilling is thru participating in training and assessments under CSR schemes of the Corporates and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). In addition to this, we also provide skilling in Schools, Colleges and even in AICTE Engineering colleges. A 14-year education doesn’t guarantee employment, whereas, a 14 week skilling course in the Apparel sector guarantees a job. This is the major success of this initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered the skilling landscape in many ways, in terms of demands of skills, approach to skilling & changes to the curriculum. What do you believe is the biggest change that COVID has brought about to the skill ecosystem in India?
The entire world is facing the Covid Pandemic challenge and each and every person in the world has got affected with this Pandemic. The skilling industry also got affected by is, as all off line skilling trainings had got halted dues to the Social distancing norms and Lockdowns. However, the trainings have slowly restarted and are being held across the country.
However, the major change which has emerged is the switching over to on line mode in skilling. Efforts are now on to convert off line skilling content into on line mode so that due to Social distancing restrictions, more people are covered in the skilling process. This mode, however, has its limitations, as while the theory classes can be arranged online and online demonstration of practical’s can also be organized but to test a trainee on practical aspects only offline mode would have to be resorted to. As such, switching over from off line to blended mode involving mixture of off-line and on line modes is the major development in the skilling ecosystem.
How do you see India playing a crucial role in the global skills and workforce ecosystem in the 2021s and beyond?
As envisaged by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India as the skill capital of the world, works has already started and is going stronger. A major shift has got developed in the world scenario. While earlier only shop floor workers used to be demanded by the entire world, mainly in Gulf and African countries, now even white collared manpower is in demand and that too is not limited to the above countries but even European and other developed countries have started demanding skilled manpower from India. Japan is the live example, where one lakh skilled persons were required and the demand has majorly been met, as well by India.
Another point is that while the whole world is aging, India is getting younger. Accordingly, by 2025 more developed countries would be demanding skilled manpower, in addition to conventional countries. Post Covid Pandemic, many countries would be averse to having manpower from China. So, India would have more opportunities to send skilled manpower in shop floor, as well as in senior positions.
How are you leveraging partnerships, be it for training, assessing, or knowledge sharing from government to private organizations and even national level councils?
At the moment approximately 5000 Training Partners and 46 Assessment Agencies are affiliated to AMH SSC, which is a huge number. This number includes both Private, as well as the Govt. Institutions. We give special dispensation to Govt. institutions and NGOs by not charging any affiliation fee from them.
We are also partnering with many leading Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) by arranging Training Programmes out of their CSR funds. This further strengthens the National Skill Initiative of the Govt. of India and provides employment and Self-Employment to many unemployed youth. Needless to mention that the apparel industry gets more skilled manpower in this quest.
How has council been working on providing access to employment to skilled candidates and what is your future plan?
The AMH SSC has its own Job portal which is connected to its website, where demand and supply of manpower is displayed. The NSDC has recently developed a Job portal, namely ‘Aseem Portal’ where the entire details of skilled manpower is displayed and the industry can access the same and hire them, as per its requirement. We are in the process of connecting our Job portal to the Aseem portal of the NSDC.