Vocational training is emerging as a viable business enterprise due to the rising demand for suitably skilled manpower, as well as the government’s focus on making it a sustainable economic activity. Here’s how entrepreneurs can become training partners in the furniture and fittings sector.
By Gurpal Singh
Skill development has the potential to make India a global factory and at the same time lift large parts of the population out of poverty. While skill development is a national priority, it also presents an opportunity for private participation by business houses and entrepreneurs.
How does one go about being a part of this win-win initiative, what are the requirements in terms of infrastructural facilities, investment, etc, are a few issues that need to be addressed. On our part, we, Furniture & Fittings Skill Council (FFSC), are looking forward to skilling and up-skilling the manpower with the creation of employment and entrepreneurial platforms in the furniture and fittings sector. FFSC has been set up by National Skill Development Council (NSDC), a public-private partnership and nodal agency of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, to create a framework for standards, curriculum, and quality assurance through industry involvement to upgrade skills.
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In our endeavour, we are also creating awareness among the youth about why the government is investing in them, and how they are the real beneficiaries of the various skilling schemes. There is a demand for plumbers, carpenters, masons, etc, but there is a lack of interest in those jobs as people find it ‘below their dignity’ to do such work. It is here that we invest a lot of time in counselling sessions, to make the potential trainees understand the significance of choosing the right vocation, training course, and work environment and other relevant factors that will impact their lives. I must say that we have been largely successful in this part of our work.
To fulfil the mission of building a skilled workforce, we encourage entrepreneurs to seek affiliation with us in imparting vocational training. Once a request for affiliation is received, we carry out an evaluation of competence and availability of the desired infrastructure; and the party’s capability of creating the desired infrastructure that matches the requirements of delivering NOS (national occupational standards) based training. The focus of the affiliation process is on the development of the learners so that they are easily employable in the industry.
Key Infrastructure Required for Skill Centre
- 200-300 sft classroom space
- 30 study chairs for students
- One skill lab per occupation, 800-1,000 sft
- 2 fire extinguishers per skill lab
- Water cooler with water purifier
- Separate toilets for males & females
- Minimum five technical books per job role
An entrepreneur seeking affiliation with FFSC has to fulfil certain conditions. The potential vocational training partner (VTP) has to specify the skill along with job roles for which they are applying. Following this, FFSC conducts an inspection – physical or video – of the skill centre, and if it is in compliance with the laid down parameters – faculty, infrastructure, equipment, etc – affiliation is granted. Otherwise, a window of one month is given so that the centre can match the required standards and seek re-inspection.
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The affiliated training institutes can enrol a batch-minimum of 20 learners/day and a maximum of 30 learners/day. The VTP will be paid by FFSC for every enrolment, in tranches – on commencement of the training batch, on successful certification of trainees, on placements. The students do not have to pay for their training.
The affiliation is granted for a period of one year and is subject to on-site surprise inspection, which may be conducted by FFSC anytime during the validity of affiliation. The renewal of affiliation also depends on the satisfactory performance of the skill centre. We currently have 50 VTPs.
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- FFSC Affiliation charges for VTP: Rs 10,000 affiliation charges; Rs 20,000 per centre for physical inspection/validation & monitoring
- VTP Revenue: VTPs are paid Rs 36/hour of training imparted to students; students do not have to pay
- Investment: Investment in equipment can range from Rs 5.00-10.00 lakh depending on courses taught
- ROI: Depends on job roles, teaching duration prescribed, number of students (max 30 per job role), number of courses run by the institute
- Teaching duration prescribed for most job roles is 350 hours; for few courses it is 600 hours
The skilling initiatives taken up by the sector skill councils are in tune with the employment opportunities available in the industry. We have been able to build industry linkages for job placements; our industry partners are more than happy to employ the trained workforce. At the same time, we are working on ways to make training institutes more responsible and accountable for job placements. Going forward, we would like to reward those training institutes that offer 100% placement.
The author is CEO at Furniture & Fittings Skill Council. Views are personal.