10 million apprentices in 10 years: An achievable reality

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New Delhi: TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, a leading conglomerate revolutionizing employability in India, and the JustJobs Network, a leading labour market research organization, today launch a one of a kind detailed ‘India Employability Report’. The report ‘Reimagining Employability for the 21st-century – 10 Million Apprentices in 10 Years’, is a detailed deep dive into the overall employability ecosystem in India, analyzing the gaps in education and skilling and highlighting a 12-point agenda for India to scale its apprenticeships.

Setting up the premise, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship & JustJobs Network’s analysis reiterates that Indian youth do not have proper exposure to the world of work when they are learning. Their education and skills are not adequately aligned with what industry requires. Moreover, as the world of work is changing, more employers are keen to hire candidates with the some prior work experience. In this context, apprenticeships have played a crucial role in bridging this gap, transforming the country’s skills pedagogy, enhancing youth employability, and enabling candidates to find right opportunities and assisting organizations to access apprentices.

Sharing her views, Ms Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & Executive Director, TeamLease Services, said“India has the largest heterogeneous youth cohort of 371 million, with close to 3.5% youth joining the workforce every year. We are also a country with rising unemployment and underemployment concerns. Unemployment rate in India went from 2.3% in 2009 to 5.8% in 2018 and youth unemployment rate is at 12.9%. Incidentally, from those who are unemployed, 16% are graduate degree holders and over 14% are post graduate degree students. All of this indicates a significant mismatch between what the world of work needs and what our youth knows. Providing quality education, training and employment to our massive youth cohort is an adventurous task. Furthermore, with social economic challenges of the candidates coupled with an education system which is more focused on the supply front over learning outcomes, the journey becomes even more challenging. Apprenticeships have emerged as an enterprising and promising solution which is truly augmenting the employability landscape in India. However with our current base of mere 500,000 apprentices, we have barely reached our true potential”.

“There is a widening chasm between education, training, and employment in India. Despite the complex web of government schemes and non-profit, for-profit, and public institutions that provide training, the incidence of formal training remains low at less than 4%. The supply-side focus of training does not align with the demands of the job market. Our large and growing youth population needs good jobs to harness their productive potential, but businesses also need a workforce that is equipped to meet the growing and changing demands of markets. Apprenticeships can help bridge these gaps, resulting in better outcomes for youth, but also good return on investment for employers by significantly reducing the cost of hiring, imparting need-based skills, and expanding the pool of potential hires”, added Ms Sabina Dewan, President & Executive Director, JustJobs Network.

The report further states that to arrest the persisting challenges of youth unemployment and underemployment, scaling the apprentices pool is the need of the hour. To reimagine employability in the post 21st century era, and to scale apprenticeships, a 12-point reform agenda, based on five design principles that will enable – (1) Learning while earning, (2) Learning by doing, (3) Learning with flexibility, (4) Learning with modularity, and (5) Learning with signalling value, is required.

India currently has only 500,000 apprentices, which constitutes 0.11% of the pool of apprentices worldwide. With these reforms, we will not only ramp up our apprenticeship adoption, but we will also be get closer to what is already happening in Europe, China, Japan – countries that have pioneered apprenticeships over the decade.

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