Sreelatha Menon: Skilling the workforce

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 18:54 hrs

pFixing an air conditioner or a car does not require a degree Or for that matter catching snakes milking cows keeping bees laying bricks and taking care of patientsppSchool dropouts and those who have never attended school often excel in such jobs Vocational training centres VTP are coming up across the country under the Centrally-funded Modular Employable Skills MES programme to provide short-term courses in these and some 1400-odd skills related to 72 different sectors ranging from textiles and retail to animal husbandry and agriculture and construction The courses under the scheme are usually short in duration lasting between 120 to 300 hoursppNot that there is an actual course in snake catching Officials in the Confederation of Indian Industry which is one of the 40 assessment bodies in the scheme say many people do not get jobs despite having good skills So this is a way of providing them certificates and attesting their skills Besides if an institute offers to enroll itself in the scheme and is willing to provide some of the courses the government refunds the expense at the rate of Rs 15 an hour for each student The trade certificate is issued by the Directorate General of Employment and Training DGET Government of India The ever increasing list of courses include dialogue-writing subtitling of films spinning automotive repair and almost anything under the sunppThe best part is that the student pays nothing and the institute is refunded on his or her behalf But that also seems to have become a bottleneck for the scheme since delays in reimbursements are already being reportedppJohn Bosco principal of a government industrial training institute ITI in Trichi Tamil Nadu trained 2000 students last year He runs courses in welding fitting vehicle repair and gets most of his students from the ancillary units of various industries Bosco is still waiting for a payment of Rs 68 lakh for the students trained in 2011-12 Hence this year he took up only 700 students he says The national trade certificate of the Central government is coveted by the industry as well as school dropouts he says The students can get jobs abroad with the certificateppMES seeks to capture all those skills that can enable people working in the unorganised sector to get catapulted into the organised sector says DGET chief Sharda Prasad The target is to benefit all those who are out of school and looking for work he says There are over 7125 VTPs now including government and private ITIs While only Rs 220 crore was allocated for the programme last year it has received Rs 700 crore this year Prasad says the government&rsquos target is to skill one million people every year &mdash to meet the 500 million requirement by 2020 The next step would be to create a data base of all those who possess various skills and make this accessible to the industry and society he says Meanwhile the industry is the biggest supplier of workers for re-skilling to these courses Some of them are also skill providersppInfrastructure Leasing and Financial Services IL&FS and TeamLease have their own VTPs R C M Reddy managing director of IL&FS Skills says the scheme will be more viable if rates are based on the requirements of various trades &mdash which DGET has ruled outppRegrettably what is amiss is sufficient visibility for these courses to attract needy candidates Various states&rsquo skill missions have set targets and hence schemes will be publicised says PrasadppThe 12th Plan seeks to provide Rs 3500 crore for the MES scheme in the coming five years a drop considering the money set aside for a scheme like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme the scheme marooned in leakages and delaysp

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