THE importance of skills and capability development of a young Indian workforce cannot possibly be underestimated, especially with the incumbent government in New Delhi being expected to push for growth in the manufacturing sector as one of its key planks for reviving the economy. Efforts by the corporate sector in the area of vocational training are being welcomed, as in the case of the ICICI Academy for Skills.
With wp-related activities now legally needing to amount to at least two percent of the profits of companies eligible under Section 135 of the new Companies Act (2013), the ICICI Bank Foundation-run Academy for Skills has tapped on to vocational training as its field of work in a step aimed towards meeting this ever-rising demand for vocationally-trained employees, who have not had the advantage of a complete formal education.
“The courses are available for underprivileged students, beginning with a minimum educational qualification of having passed the eighth standard and with a family income lesser than 2 lakh rupees per annum. All the courses are free of cost and the students are provided with the training and all course material without any charge,” said Chinmay Sengupta, Chief Operating Officer of the ICICI Foundation at a wp Conclave recently hosted by the bank.
With centres located across nine cities and towns in the country, the Academy states that it currently has 1600 students on its rolls while 2400 students recently completed their twelve week courses and have reportedly all been placed.
The Academy has tied up with several firms to develop and teach course curriculum as well as creating placement opportunities for students. For example, while Schneider Electric’s resources are availed of for the course on subjects of electrical and home appliance repair, NIIT is a knowledge partner for the web-designing course and Cafe Coffee Day for retail cafe operations. In an announcement made by the Foundation earlier this month, the Academy signed MoUs with Spencers Retail and Bluechip Corporate Investment Centre regarding recruiting graduating students from the Selling Skills and Office Administration courses respectively. Paints and coatings company AkzoNobel has also come on board as a knowledge partner for a new course on paint application techniques.
The move is aimed at catering to a high demand for vocational training in non-technical skills, such as office administration or salesmanship. While government initiatives such as the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) do provide technical vocational training to youngsters across the country, the scope of such institutes does not cover the wide area of fields for which vocational training is needed for the presence of a desirable diverse workforce of skilled and semi-skilled people in our country.
An increase in the number of such institutes on vocational training will be a welcome boon for India’s corporate and industrial sectors. Yet, only time will tell whether these initiatives are implemented well and scaled up enough to make a significant impact in meeting India’s employment needs.