Corporate plays quintessential role in building employable workforce in India
By Sandeep Datta
Two years ago, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) hinted at quite an alarming state of affairs by revealing that a staggering 18.3 million Indians stand unemployed and those numbers were projected to reach 18.9 million by 2019.
As Indian population continues to expand uncontrollably and 54% of this public being aged below 25, bridging the gulf between the unskilled youth and the new-age job market requirements is vital.
The data also points toward the critical need to increase various skills development and training programmes in the country at various levels, especially the ones which should be largely focused on women and youth. Such initiatives should improve employability potential of the working population by including school drop-outs, semi-skilled and un-skilled workers.
Be it inadequate earnings, low productivity or difficult work conditions that undermine workers’ fundamental rights – characterise vulnerable employment.
In India, vulnerable employment roughly affects three out of four workers-77% of total workers according to World Bank (derived from ILO data).
There is one school of thought that believes skill training programmes that are implemented can be integrated components of livelihood and community development projects, they can also be stand-alone projects. Besides providing skill training if efforts are made to facilitate skills training by linking beneficiaries to companies and the government, it looks it can create a larger impact.
While the Government is working upon bringing a major change in a holistic perspective in the long run, the corporate sector in the country is consistently working towards bringing a real change.
Some of the prominent names that have made a difference in boosting livelihood are worth deriving inspiration from. They are: Renew Power, Bosch India, Maruti Suzuki, and Mahindra and Mahindra Finance among others.
India’s largest renewable energy Independent Power Producer, ReNew Power, has been generating almost 40,000 jobs, directly and indirectly over 8 years of its operation.
The company’s vision is to transform India via the ReNew India Initiative (RII) which is the essence of ReNew’s CSR programme, as it believes without transforming Human, Social and Natural Capital no amount of growth holds any meaning in real sense.
Under its CSR activities one of its initiatives is ReNew Women India Initiative (ReWIN).
It’s a socio-economic empowerment programme to encourage rural women to become entrepreneurs through the Self Help Group model. It creates additional employment opportunities for them.
In past six decades, the German multinational engineering and technology company Bosch has created a special place for itself in Indian society not just as a technology and innovation pioneer, but also as a company that cares.
Its corporate social responsibility endeavour, known as ‘Bosch Social Engagement’, aims to make a difference in the communities in which Bosch operates.
Under the Bosch Social Engagement Programme, one of its segment works towards vocational training for school dropouts leading to employment while the Bosch India Foundation focuses on holistic village development and vocational training for artisans.
The automobile giant believes that with more than half of its total economic output coming from the service sector alone, maintaining and constantly expanding the size of its skilled labour force is imperative for India. With this consideration, Maruti Suzuki has joined hands with a number of state governments to adopt several Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). The company has plans to prepare a large section of the youth employable by the automobile industry.
Maruti Suzuki’s Skill Development programme comprises three key elements — Upgradation of ITI’s, Skill Enhancement in Automobile Trade, and Japan India Institute for Manufacturing.
Under upgradation of ITIs, in partnership with state governments, the company has adopted ITIs and through its various interventions upgrading physical infrastructure, workshops, training faculty, and providing exposure to students on Japanese shop floor practices.
The Skill Enhancement in Automobile Trade is meant to help workers adapt to the changing demands of the industry. Under it, the company has set up Automobile Skill Enhancement Centres (ASEC) at 60 ITIs. Each centre is equipped with a model workshop on which practical training is imparted by full time trainers provided by the Company.
Japan India Institute for Manufacturing, the Government of India and the Government of Japan joined hands through an agreement to create a pool of skilled manpower for manufacturing in India. To translate the vision of this partnership, the Company embarked on setting up the first Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing (JIIM) at Mehsana, Gujarat.
With a mission to transform rural lives and driving a positive change in the communities around them, Mahindra Finance started its journey in 1991to empower the rural communities and help them unleash their potential.
As part of its CSR initiatives, Mahindra Finance has adopted the Rise Pillar to drive positive change. Each of its initiative embodies the thought process behind it’s three pillars of accepting no limits, alternative thinking and driving positive change.
Under this, the company is promoting education, including special education and employment enhancing vocation skills especially among children, women, elderly and the differently-abled and livelihood enhancement projects.
Recent surveys and studies aimed at CSR in the country indicate that the overall corporate participation in skills and livelihood development is very high.
Looking at the way a big section of the corporate has been paying attention to and investing along with the revenue on skill training or upskilling exercises, it reflects the industry was right in its assessment of market related future challenges. As Government organizations are usually found faced with funds crunch or right manpower to execute programmes efficiently, it looks collaboration of private and government sectors to boost social sectors can be the key to bring a real change.