Skill development in India should be in sync with the industry needs. It is important that workforce in Kerala state and the country as a whole should be at par with the international standards, says Tom Jose, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Labour and Skills, Government of Kerala, in an exclusive conversation with Elets News Network (ENN)
Tell us about Government of Kerala’s skill development initiatives. In Kerala, we have taken several initiatives with respect to skill development because we find that the youngsters are really concerned about getting a job.
We have now created a State nodal agency Kerala Academy for Skill Excellence. Our mission is to create a globally acclaimed workforce. The workforce in Kerala and India as a whole should be at par with the international standards. This is our strategic vision and to accomplish this we are going to create a strong network of institutions and centres.
I believe the emphasis should be given on imparting sector specific skills to our youngsters so that they will be able to gain competitive advantage across the world. We are laying emphasis on imparting managerial skills as well.
Attracting private institutions to your state is a concern, how are you handling such an issue?
It is indeed a matter of concern. We are trying to understand the requirements for the private industry. Education has always been a concern for all governments but industries never played a role in the planning process. Due to this, there has always been a gap between job market and manpower supply. I believe the time has come to bridge this gap.
We have to understand what industry wants from us. Once we understand what they want from us, we will be able to meet up their expectations. They will also be able to get skilled labour as per their requirement.
Every region has its own uniqueness. Do you have any plans of promoting state specialised industry in terms of skill development and creating employment for the people?
Tourism is something that Kerala is famous for and we also have some traditional industries. We certainly want to promote them. But it is important to keep industry’s needs in mind. Everything comes from the market place. We are using this for delivering a product for the industry or the service to the customer. That is the objective and with this in mind we promote our traditional industries.
What is the migration ratio in Kerala? What is the government doing for curbing this ratio?
Migration is basically an economic phenomenon. People across the world are migrating so this is nothing new. People migrate in search of better prospects. I am not sure whether we would be able to curb it completely. However, self reliance is one way of keeping the population satisfied. Some amount of migration is done purely out of curiosity and better prospects. A migration that benefits both sides is important.
Can you share some of the initiatives of your department towards ensuring skill development?
We have planned a programme called Skill Fiesta. We wanted to promote intermediate level jobs for the youths. Keeping this in mind, we started the skill fiesta last year. The next competition is coming up in Abu Dhabi and we are preparing participants for that.
We wanted to make it a huge platform for youngsters where they can showcase their talent. This will promote intermediate level job and give an impression that blue collar jobs are actually good jobs. Right now everybody goes for white collar jobs but we want to tell people that blue is a cool colour.
We are now budgeting it in our state budget. This year onwards we are setting up a team to have a continuous look at the study of the job market across the world. Number crunching is something that has not happened. So that is something which is important.
What are the sectors where the Government of Kerala is imparting training to the youth?
Nursing, advanced technical training in oil sector, security management, teachers training, infrastructure, Ayurveda, hospitality management etc. are some of the areas that we are concentrating on. We are going to impart training in various sectors this December.