National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme shows the right way of skilling and provides a win-win for the industry.
India’s working-age population (above the age of 15) is expected to expand by approximately 1.3 million a month during 2015-2025, as per World Bank’s ‘South Asia Economic Focus Spring 2018’ Report. Hence, there is a need to create millions of jobs every year to reap the benefit of this demographic dividend.
Apprenticeship in the World
The renowned German apprenticeship model is revered the world over, as it has helped lower unemployment rates and contributed significantly to the economic success of the country. The number of apprentices engaged in Germany is approximately 2.5 million (5% of workforce); in UK approximately 0.5 million (1.5% of workforce), in China approximately 20 million (over 2.5% of workforce); whereas in India the figure is 0.3 million (less than 0.1% of workforce). These figures show the huge untapped potential that exists in India.
One of the most effective ways to develop skilled manpower, whilst utilising the available infrastructure and training facilities available with the establishments, is Apprenticeship. This method of training has been recognised as an effective way to empower young people and help them transition smoothly from school/college to work. Apprenticeship has also proven to improve linkages between industry and training institutions.
The guru shishya parampara, which has existed in India for centuries, is in many ways similar to this modern-day bridge called Apprenticeship. India saw the growth of formal apprenticeships when the first Apprenticeship Act was enacted in 1961. However, there were three significant labour force transitions that took place till the Act was finally amended in 2014. First, the shift of workforce from primary to secondary and tertiary sectors. Second, the rise of private sector post economic reforms of 1991. And third, the significant growth of MSMEs in India from the early 2000s till now. The complex administrative workflow of the Act of 1961 made it very difficult for new companies and MSMEs to adopt, hence the scheme of apprenticeship remained stagnant and rather ineffective.
Need for Apprenticeship Training
In its 2019 study titled ‘Survey on Jobs Creation and Outlook in MSME Sector’, CII reported that amongst all sectors, the MSME sector was the largest job creator in the last 4 years and would continue to be so. However, the study also suggested that there was a need for greater handholding of MSMEs if they were to take full advantage of the government’s initiatives.
The increased focus of the government on skilling and employment and the amendments of 2014 and 2019, coupled with the introduction of National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), has shown clear benefits of the concept of apprenticeship to the wider spectrum of the industry. With the law becoming flexible and industry-friendly, it is a win-win for companies, whilst upholding the highest values of corporate governance.
A summary of the Act, amendments, and how this will prove to be an excellent opportunity for corporates is given below:
- Apprenticeship Training is a course comprising of basic and practical training at the workplace in an industry or establishment.
Apprenticeship is a mandatory law, to be complied with by all establishments.
Legal status of every apprentice in establishments:
- Trainee and not a worker
- Laws of labour such as EPF/ESI will not apply
- Stipend to be paid and amounts are clearly defined by govt
Flexibility of apprenticeships scheme for establishments:
- Now open for manufacturing and services sectors
- Bandwidth of apprentices to be employed is 2.5% – 15% of employee strength
- Flexibility to design apprenticeship courses or choose from the list available on the apprenticeship portal (www. apprenticeshipindia.org)
- Duration of apprenticeship training can be 6-36 months
- Students from both technical and non-technical sectors can be engaged, including dropouts from formal education system
Financial incentive to establishments by govt (under NAPS):
- Sharing of basic training cost up to Rs 7,500 for 500 hours
- Sharing of 25% of prescribed stipend/cost, subject to maximum of Rs 1,500 per month per apprentice
The above-mentioned highlights show the amended apprenticeship scheme to be financially beneficial to establishments (via means of govt. incentive, reduced attrition rate, lower cost of recruitment etc.). They also indicate that the scheme is designed to create a workforce that is more industry ready.
The use of technology has rendered contractual paperwork and processes seamless and minimal. A unified portal www.apprenticeshipindia.org has been specifically developed for establishments to execute apprenticeship programs digitally. The portal facilitates several aspects related to registration of establishments and candidates, generation of contracts, reimbursements under NAPS etc.
Mass awareness of this scheme is essential via clusters and industry associations. This is indeed an opportune time for the MSMEs to come forward, understand the scheme and benefits, and utilise the same in their establishments.
Indian Plumbing Skills Council’s role
Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC) is the Joint Apprenticeship Advisor for the plumbing industry, to utilise the benefits of the new scheme. IPSC will handhold establishments in the entire process.
Some apprenticeship programmes, through IPSC, are available for the following job roles: assistant plumber, general plumber, maintenance and servicing technician, after-sales services technician, plumbing product sales officer.
Degree Apprenticeship Programmes are available for plumbing supervisor, plumbing site engineer, public health system design engineer, fire protection systems design engineer, wastewater systems design engineer, groundwater engineer.
About the author
Vinay Gupta is Vice-chairman, Indian Plumbing Skills Council (email@example.com). He is an IIT Delhi alumnus and has been involved in the manufacturing of premium tap ware for the 35 years. He pioneered the manufacture of single lever mixers with ceramic cartridge in India in 1986, and has the distinction of exporting them to Germany. He is also one of the largest exporters of bathtubs. He is a founding member of the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) and Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC). As Vice-chairman of IPSC, Vinay Gupta has been spearheading the development of a robust and sustainable eco-system for skill development in the Indian plumbing industry. Read more about Vina Gupta at Sourcing Hardware, which is the media partner of IPSC.