Though the Narendra Modi-led government is aiming to skill 40 crore people by 2022 through its ‘Skill India’ program, the lack of awareness among youth about the government-run skill development programs is one of the key obstacles with about 70% of Indian youth is not aware of these schemes, according to a recent study “Young India and Work” by the Observer Research Foundation and World Economic Forum (WEF).
Almost 6,000 youths between the age group of 15 and 30 were surveyed about education, employment and their aspirations. The study throws lights on the potential misalignment between youth and government, as well as between youth and industry. It showed that there is a disconnect between the government-run skill development programmes and youth sentiments.
About three-fourths of the youth in the country has never enrolled for a skill development program, the findings showed. The low training participation was mainly on account of financial and time issues. The findings showed that 76% of the respondents report being very interested in pursuing skills development training.
As identified by respondents in the survey, the characteristics of attractive skills programmes include moderate time commitment, monetary compensation, certification, and a mix of online and classroom content. Youth consider the public sector as ideal providers for skill development opportunities, followed by public-private partnerships.
With more females respondents expressed their interest in participating in skill development programs, 19% of the females have already enrolled in such a program as compared with 26% of males. While over three-fourths of all females respondents were not aware of any government-run skill development program, a half of females indicated time constraints that inhibited their program enrollment.
According to the survey, nearly 51% of the youth in the country perceive the lack of professional guidance in identifying jobs that match their skills to be the main obstacle in searching for a desirable job. On the other side, nearly 34% of youth reported being neither employed nor in education.
“In the context of technological adoption and digitisation, jobs and tasks, along with the competencies required to execute them, are changing. 86% of youth feel very or moderately up to date with changes in skills requirements. Yet, 39% of youth feel very prepared or prepared for their ideal job, while 16% of youth feel either not prepared or very unprepared for their ideal job,” it said.
While higher education degrees are highly valued, youth are also eager to learn new skills. According to the survey, 96% of the respondents hope to get a bachelor’s degree or higher 84% of the youth surveyed consider a university degree or post-graduate degree as a requirement for their ideal job.
India is one of the youngest nations in the world, with over 62% of the population in the working age group. Approximately 250 million young people will be joining the workforce over the next decade. The government had launched the Skill India initiative, which aims to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. Since then, various schemes have been launched like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to further the aim of skill development, in order to enable a large number of youths in the country to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.