Interview

Need to Identify Opportunities Matching Aspirations of Youth

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Leadership Special- Ravi Ranjan

The major challenge we are facing right now is the lack of aspirational quality infrastructure to take care of existing skill gap and fulfil the mandate given to JSDMS. There is an urgent need to establish a large number of quality training centres covering a wide spectrum of job roles, says Ravi Ranjan, Mission Director, Jharkhand Skill Development Mission Society, Government of Jharkhand, in an interview with Gopi Krishna Arora of Elets News Network (ENN).

Ravi Ranjan

Ravi Ranjan, Mission Director, Jharkhand Skill Development Mission Society

How is Jharkhand Skill Development Mission Society (JSDMS) leveraging ICT to promote skill development and employment generation in the state? Please share with us some of the success stories.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is being treated as an enabler to ensure convergence of skilling efforts across the state. JSDMS has developed an in-house portal ‘HUNAR’ under which all the major state government departments implementing skill development programmes can manage their entire skill development value chain on the portal from registration of candidates, candidates’ attendance, assessments, placements and post placements tracking.

The portal has dedicated user accounts for candidates, Tribal Sub Plans (TSPs), JSDMS and other departments to manage their activities on a single portal. Even employers can post their requirements and search CVs of the trainees for their purpose. The departments have already started using the portal and the migration from the previous portal has also been completed. The biggest testimony of our ICT efforts was all departments uploading their placements for the recently concluded Global Skill Summit and more than one lakh offer letters being recorded.

Further, JSDMS has a dedicated call centre which is working across the skill value chain, and is a primary source for the youth to obtain information about skilling and/or employment opportunities, report grievances, share feedback and placement feedback. Targeted SMS campaigns have been taken up during our placement drives which have resulted in improved outcomes.

Further, JSDMS has a dedicated call centre which is working across the skill value chain, and is a primary source for the youth to obtain information about skilling and/or employment opportunities, report grievances, share feedback and placement feedback. Targeted SMS campaigns have been taken up during our placement drives which have resulted in improved outcomes.

What are the key challenges in terms of resources required to further boost skill development in the state?

Skill development requires interplay of multiple stakeholders and the outcomes are influenced by several factors. We need to identify opportunities matching the aspirations of our youth and create an enabling environment requiring capacity building across the skill value chain. The major challenge we are facing right now is the lack of aspirational quality infrastructure to take care of existing skill gap and fulfil the mandate given to JSDMS. There is an urgent need of establishing a large number of quality training centres covering a wide spectrum of job roles.

Though the national skill ecosystem along with National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and its range of Qualification Packs (QPs) provides plenty of options, development of curriculum for job roles assessed to be in high demand in Jharkhand and not yet included under the NSQF, pertaining to traditional arts and crafts in Jharkhand and offering more broad based and relatively longer duration skill development courses through suitable merging of QPs or stacks of National Occupational Standards (NoS) is an important issue.

Another pertinent issue is addressing the stigma from vocational education and blue collar jobs which has more to do with prestige than employment. The youth needs to be taught that almost all the jobs today require skills in one form or the other, which could be either technical domain skills or the soft skills. In order to make it aspirational, we need to associate a sense of pride with skills which could be done through rewards and recognition and upgrading the skill infrastructure to international standards.

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It is critical that skill development has vertical and logical horizontal pathways to ensure that skill development is not terminal in nature. Adequate placement commensurate with one’s abilities remains a major challenge which I am happy to state that we have been able to address to a major extent. We have initiated the process of setting up Migration Support Centres which would benefit our youth migrating for employment.

We have proactively taken numerous steps targeted towards addressing these issues, and still have a long way to go making Jharkhand the ‘Skill Hub of India’ and becoming a model for rest of the country to emulate.

Which policy initiatives are driving skill development in the state?

As far as the key training programmes being administered through JSDMS, three schemes are being run by the State.

First is Saksham Jharkhand Kaushal Vikas Yojna (SJKVY), under which training centres are located up to block levels throughout the State so that training can be imparted at the doorsteps of the trainees. We have already ensured coverage across all legislative assemblies. Second, Mega Skill Centres (also known as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Kaushal Kendras, or DDU-KK), which are aspirational centres of minimum 25,000 sq. ft. area setup with corporate support for knowledge transfer and placements. Third is Employability Excellence with College Education and Learning (EXCEL), under which training for soft/ communication skills, and domain skills is given to the college going students.

The first two programmes are both residential and non-residential, whereas EXCEL is a purely non-residential programme.

All the courses are free of cost with regard to training, course material and boarding/lodging. Payments are made to the TSP by JSDMS as per common cost norms. Additionally, we do ensure that the courses selected under each programme or scheme are market driven, and lead to employability. The scheme focuses on youths of the State in the age group of 18-35 years. Skill development courses are aligned to high impact sectors including tourism and hospitality, telecom, security, retail, plumbing, logistics, IT/ITES, electronics, domestic worker, construction, capital goods, BFSI, beauty & wellness, automotive, apparel, and agriculture, etc.

Furthermore, the flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is being implemented under their CSSM component. Jharkhand has received a skilling target of 57,668 to be completed in the next three years, and JSDMS has empanelled 20 training partners and have allocated the target to achieve its mandate.

With respect to key policy Initiatives, JSDMS has launched the Jharkhand Skill Policy in January 2018, which focuses on harnessing the ‘Demographic Dividend’ in a youthful state like Jharkhand. It focuses on few overarching objectives such as making skill training aspirational, skill development infrastructure creation, incentives for capacity creation, embedding skills in education and vocationalisation of secondary and higher education, preparing for Industry 4.0 through CoE, Big Data, Robotics, etc.

Please apprise us about the current focus areas of the society.

The current areas of focus for JSDMS are based upon the positive interventions and their outcomes that emerged over the last couple of years. Such interventions encompassed the entire sphere of our operations, be it placements, driving industry connect, improving curricula or ensuring employability through the courses selected. Following are few of the key interventions that delivered excellent results, as well as other aspects that are crucial towards improving the ecosystem of skilling.

  1. Mass recruitments through Campus Placement Drives (CPDs): One of the key pillars in reaching the huge milestone of 1,00,000 job offers during the recently held Global Skill Summit has undoubtedly been the campus placement drives and mega placement drives that have been vigorously taken up over the whole of last year.

These CPDs have been instrumental in acting as one of the strongest advertising and marketing of Jharkhand’s skilling ecosystem to employers, as the latter are exposed to the real skill and know-how.

  1. Mega Centres: Another key focal area is the opening up of more Mega Centres, as these centres are driven by the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of skill training based on scale, speed and standard. As many as 22 such aspirational and well equipped Deen Daya lUpadhyaya Kaushal Kendra centres are in operation today, and they collectively boast of an impressive placement record of over 80 percent. We at JSDMS are hopeful that more of these centres will gives us coverage across the state and provide state of the art training facilities to our youth.
  2. Industry Road shows: One intervention that we felt will go a long way in building quality network with industry is through conducting larger numbers of industry roadshows. The trend of hosting Industry linkages through road shows that started last year was a huge success for us. We hope and aim to carry forward the momentum generated as each of the three road shows resulted in quality industry connects. For instance, the Industry road show in Bangalore was conducted on 1 December, 2018, where we interacted with some of the prominent organisations such as Wipro, Cotton Blossom, Hero Cycle, Schneider Electric etc. Two MoUs were signed with Industree Crafts Foundation, Connect India Foundation. Similarly in Delhi, we forged strategic ties with Kemppi, Maruti Suzuki, Siesta Hospitality Services Limited, etc. Two MoUs were signed with Wadhwani Foundation, Footwear Development Institute. Finally, speaking of the UAE road show, which was the first by any state CM after more than a decade, a number of leading UAE based industry heads were reached out. Prominent amongst corporates were the Emirates Driving Institute, Conares Group, Al Safah Group, HR International and others. The discussions led to a lot of insight sharing between possible investments in the state as well as workforce exchange.

In addition, there are several interventions at various stages of development in the state, and JSDMS as the nodal skilling body is anchoring many of these interventions. Some of the noteworthy interventions being taken up are Industry Support for providing practical exposure (On-The-Job Training), Designing of Course Curriculum as per the needs of the industry especially for the MSME sector, Adoption of the skilling ecosystem by the industry through infra sharing, knowledge partnership (industry expert to be nominated as guest faculty, exposure to shop floors, monitoring of training parameters, etc.), Introduction of NAPS (National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme) scheme in the local industry, providing flexibility to industries for improving the training modules, engaging employers in skills development and utilisation at the local level, develop work-based learning system and enlisting help from district administration to identify suitable infrastructure for Mega skill centres, etc.

What are the future plans for JSDMS?

Some of the plans for JSDMS include setting up of Skill University, UK skills tie up, instituting RPL at a macro level and establishing Migration Support Centres in high volume migration corridors. The other plans include setting up Centres of Excellence as part of the ITE Singapore MoU and maximising the potential laid out by the various industrial policies in the state.

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