Community Impact
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need an efficient skill-based mechanisms to mitigate unemployment among urban youth

Author_UrbanVoices_MeghnaJoshi
September 29, 2021

The UN projections for the next decade foresee that “At least 475 million new jobs need to be created to absorb the currently unemployed 73 million youth and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labour market.”

The picture becomes more complex when these projections are seen in the light of the surveys conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which states that employers consider that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work. This feeling is shared by the youth as well, who consider themselves to be under-prepared for the job market.

The NSSO report further states that there is higher unemployment in urban areas (7.8%) in comparison to rural parts (5.3%). Unemployment is more among urban females (27.2%) in comparison to urban males (18.7%).

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the earliest proponents of technical education in free India, who also advocated linking curriculum with industrial needs. Of course, the needs may be different today, but the essence of making education work-integrated is still relevant.

In Gandhiji’s words, “Taken as a whole, a vocation or vocations are the best mediums for the all-round development of a boy or a girl. Therefore, the syllabus should be woven around vocational training and the primary education thus conceived as a whole, is bound to be self-supporting (Wardha scheme of education)”.

Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 from Pexels

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has also emphasised the need to impart skills and ability to the youthful manpower in order to tackle global challenges. He has cautioned that unless we accomplish this task, the huge manpower availability would in itself become a challenge in the years to come.

In the above context, if India has to come up as the Human Resource Capital of the world, it needs to appropriately skill its youth bulge and convert this advantage to a dividend. It can only be achieved through the skill development of the youth with a simple definition of the skill being the ability to do something well.

Observations On Functioning Of Centres

The operation of the skill training institutes is a specialist job. Personal experience of the monitoring of the skill development centres has shown that the following aspects need critical consideration,

Mobilising the Target Youth

It is essential to carefully screen the candidates for enrolment in the training institutes by looking into their desire to learn, become financially stable and independent.

They should possess motivation, a positive attitude and the urge to rise despite hardships.

Another point that needs attention is that the ineffective pitching style of the field staff, wrong selection of community group/location or lack of adequate branding material in the form of a canopy, pamphlets and mobilisation kits often denies access to the right target audience.

Photo by Afta Putta Gunawan from Pexels

Counselling and Registration

Inadequate counselling of the candidate and their parents during mobilisation and at the time of registration has been noted to be a major cause of drop-outs out in between the training sessions. These drop-outs often turn up for placements after the training sessions are over without understanding the requirement of completing the module.

It is also seen that the zero-fee based model does not attract the right candidature. Courses without any monetary commitment are taken for granted with no regular attendance and seriousness during the sessions.

It has been observed that the students attend classes more regularly and the rate of drop-outs decreases if there is parent involvement. Many times the parents are not aware of the job opportunities which the students will get after completion of the course due to lack of awareness. Sometimes, stereotypical thinking and patriarchal mindset prevailing in the communities become the cause for lower enrolment of the female offspring. Such situations can be resolved with proper counselling.

Training and Content Delivery

Under-qualified and inefficient trainers who are incapable of conducting the sessions are a big negative point. Such trainers fail to motivate the candidates who are mostly from the underprivileged section of society and are not in a position to bring out any positive change in their mindset. The presence of such trainers is a big deterrent and one of the major causes of absenteeism and dropout cases.

Sometimes, in order to complete the target number of enrolments underage (youth below the age group of 18 years) and overage candidates are enrolled. Such cases may create a problem at the time of placement. Such candidates, even after completion of the training program feel that they are not adequately equipped as per the industry standards.

Industry Linkages for Job Placements

Establishing connections with the industry to achieve a regular inflow-outflow balance for placements need careful planning. This issue becomes significant on the count that India has more job-ready candidates than job opportunities. It has been observed that even after completion of the training programme, candidates are confused and unclear about the sector and the profile which would be best suitable for them.

There is also aspiration vs expectation clashes (relating to the job being offered). Adaptation to the new environment after getting employment has been seen as a major hurdle. Besides the behavioural issues, the pay package, distance between the residence and workplace are seen as other commonly reported reasons for candidates leaving the jobs.

Post Placement Concerns

Adjusting to a new environment from an informal to a formal setup, high workload, un-cordial relationship with their team members and supervisors, family migration are some of the critical reasons that often lead towards poor retention and a perpetual cause for concern for the employers.

Thus, post-placement tracking and counselling creates a good synergy between the centre-employer-candidate and inculcates a mutual bond of trust. There is a dire need for a proper mentor-mentee connection and some kind of alumni meets where the success stories of the earlier candidates are told to the new students for motivation and encouragement.

It is essential that the centres running the skill development courses should address these challenges for ensuring quality output.

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