India has the world’s largest youth population with nearly a half under 25 years of age and a two-thirds under the age of 35 years. India is likely to have the world’s largest workforce by 2027, with a billion people aged between 15 years-64 years (Source: Bloomberg News analysis). By 2022, 63% of the population will be in the working age group. In spite of this being a huge challenge, it also offers a huge potential for economic and social reorganization, reorientation and growth.
Nearly 1.5M people join the job market every year while only 2% are adequately trained for available profiles. These lacunae are an inheritance of a laggard educational system with low student retention and- a sub-optimal quality of content delivery by untrained or inadequately trained teachers at the primary level upwards. Some facts to ponder;
To tie loose ends and to bridge the lacunae, there is an urgent need to appropriately skill present and potential job seekers in tune with the market requirements. This will enable them to acquire jobs and other income generating opportunities.
These manifestations seem to emanate from the course-aligned educational system, right from the primary level. The students, especially in rural settings, have an unsteady educational foundation due to lack of infrastructure and trained teaching professionals; this further adds to the already contorted equation and is detrimental for both people and the nation at large. Furthermore, these children lack awareness and exposure to different fields and opportunities in the job market, along with competent career guidance. Even if some students do have a view of opportunities, they lack the access to pursue their choice. All this causes a majority of children not developing appropriate employability skills, all of which ultimately leads to school drop outs and youth to take up vulnerable jobs, despite there being a large shortage of labor in formal jobs in different sectors.
Vulnerable jobs, as defined by UNDP Human Development Report 2009, states that it is a sum of employment status groups of self employed workers and contributing family workers. This points to that fact that these vulnerable employees don't have formal and accountable set ups to work in and are hence more likely to lack decent working conditions, adequate social security and effective representations of their needs. These jobs thus undermine workers' fundamental rights. This is mostly seen in rural India where the majority of the rural youth end up as casual laborers or end up working in their family farms-despite there being no need for extra hands in that sector.
We can see this phenomenon clearly by looking at the following statistics gathered from ASER 2017: A large number of rural youth in the 14-18-year age group, about 42%, were working irrespective of their school enrolment status and among these, 79% were employed in the agriculture sector- despite only 1.2% of them having aspirations of being a farmer.
There is an evident skills gap, which if bridged, can improve the socio-economic landscape and contribute to the nation’s GDP.
Looking at the challenges faced by the India in this massive skilling mission, we have set up a Skills Accelerator, which is an accelerated Future Skills training program based on a project-oriented methodology, and creation of real solutions for real problems, delivered in a physical center, to rural and semi-urban youth.
Skills Accelerator provides the missing link between Inspiring students and Empowering them with technical curriculum. Skills Accelerator enables students to develop the much needed foundational Future Skills, aligned with the 4th Industrial revolution ( IR) and creates a pathway for technical jobs. In this case IBM’s Cognitive curriculum will be deployed after develop the foundational future skills in the Skills Accelerator.