The rising relevance of Skill Development in 2022

Embassy Group

Article authored by: Ms. Shaina Ganapathy, Head of community outreach, Embassy Group

Education plays a crucial role in the upliftment of socio-economically underprivileged groups, and the creation of job and employment opportunities. The employment rate in India hit a record low of 36.40% in the second quarter of 2020 and is struggling to pick up. Unsurprisingly, the urban poor are finding it the hardest to bounce back from the pandemic shock.

To this end, skill development is a vital means of empowering the youth of today and ensuring them a secure future. India is one of the youngest nations of the world, with more than 62% of our population comprising of the working age group – more than 54% of the population is below 25 years of age. There is an opportunity for the Government and corporates to develop and help the next generation, contributing to the growth of the Indian economy through its upskilled workforce and closing any gaps in the educational journey of underprivileged students.

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As a first step, an area that demands attention is the education system in India. Struggling with often outdated infrastructure, a lack of teaching-learning materials and sufficient teachers, Government Schools and other schools targeted at children from lower-income backgrounds are unable to prepare graduates for a post-schooling world. This is where corporates through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) can join hands with the Government. Ensuring that students have an environment conducive to learning through the infusion of educational interventions, social and emotional learning support, scholarships, mentorship, vocational assistance, and more, will go a long way towards creating a stronger foundation for students to succeed in the world of employment.

Embassy began supporting Government Schools in 2012. Our education interventions include learning support in English and Mathematics through computers, life skills and sports integrated into the existing school schedule. These programs are boosted by various extracurricular activities that are targeted at development on a comprehensive level. The students receive scholarship opportunities, counselling, and work placements through our Government School Alumni program, Colours of Life Academy (COLA). This program is meant for students who have graduated, or left Embassy adopted Government Schools, but would like assistance in terms of fees for higher studies, extra tuition, mentorship, and career guidance. 

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Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more prone to restrictions when it comes to aspirations – either the youth are prevented from dreaming big because they don’t have the means to achieve their goals, or they have no idea of the variety of career paths that are available to them. Programs such as this enable children who do not have the capacity to fulfill their education because of economic or social issues to achieve their ambitions through constant and sustained support. They also offer hands-on experiences, like visits to Embassy and other partner offices in our business parks to give them an idea of the plethora of job roles that they can consider striving towards. 

Given the enormous task at hand of achieving our nation’s targets for skilling our youth through quality program, it would require both the private and public sector to collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise. Companies have the manpower and knowledge to understand what various sectors need. It’s not enough to simply skill our youth, we need to understand the kinds of jobs that can accommodate them. Further, publicly funded initiatives are currently not sufficient to create a substantial impact. The private sector can benefit from an availability of skilled manpower, becoming future-ready by increasing their efficiency and productivity. By deriving the benefits of skilling our youth, it’s in the best interest of corporates to prioritize building productivity across industries amongst the working age population.

Corporates have the expertise to deliver quality programs. They can work with vocational centres or create their own, under CSR, to build industrial capacity. Companies can then absorb these students into their own workforce once fully trained. For example, Embassy Group, Technique Control Facility Management (TCFM) and Mentric Solutions came together to curate a Facility Management skilling program for Government School students. The program is aimed at enhancing employment opportunities and arming the students with the skills and knowledge to join the workforce. Upon completion of a four-month training course out of a state-of-the-art practical training centre customized by TCFM, the upskilled students were awarded well-paying jobs in Embassy Group and its partner organizations. 

Thanks to the Skill India Mission 2015, there is a huge opportunity for companies to seriously think about how they can aid in bridging our country’s growing skill gap. Impact won’t take place without public-private partnerships – by engaging both with the Government and implementing agencies, corporates can contribute to much-needed training programs that will benefit the growth of nation.  

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