On October 22, 2021, Saksham – the skill-development initiative of Adani Foundation – touched a huge milestone. The trainee count hit 80,000! This has been an eventful journey, in being a part of so many lives, lives which illustrate real transformation. We are proud to be readying skilled human resources for a developing nation like ours. On one hand, India is focusing on enhancing the quality of education with the introduction of the National Education Policy 2021, and on the other, a top-down push is being applied for skill development courses to equip youth with employability and entrepreneurship skills. And in my experience, unemployment is more often the result of a lack of skills, and not a lack of jobs.
The success of any national or global efforts cannot be achieved without the youngsters being actively involved. To give a more relevant example, let me share some insights about the immediate need of healthcare workers which COVID19 gave rise to. When the entire world came to a standstill and every individual was anxious amidst the panic created by the pandemic, we at ASDC were frantically trying to identify as many people as possible, who can work as frontline healthcare workers. Over 3,000 people were approached and to our surprise, the age group which accepted the challenge was as young as 18 to 24 (out of the age group of 18-56).
Of course, livelihood generation matters, but this situation was unprecedented. The will and zeal among the youth to contribute to the nation even in such adversities – is what defines the New India for me. The young India. This young brigade not only served covid patients, but they also share innovative ideas for monitoring patient care and management of hospitals. So, our demographic dividend is ready to accept challenges, but the data tells a different tale. Statistical data shows that the youth unemployment rate in India is going higher year-by-year though there are some positive signs for the overall unemployment rate among all age groups.
I see largely two different aspects on the increased ratio of youth unemployment in India:
1. Increased population (it is an economic advantage also in some aspects)
2. Lack of technical training for increased automation in industries
Due to the increase in technological and telecommunication advancements, industries today need a skilled workforce that can constantly upgrade itself on improved technologies. They have moved from traditional operations to smart operations. This is true for both manufacturing units as well as the service industry. The world has moved from DOS to Windows 10, from Basic & Fortran to Python 3 & Google Go, from Symbian to Android & iOS, from VCR to Netflix and from social gatherings to social media. But of all these advancements, which one did the education system cover in the last 20 years?
Our formal education system does not include any of the advanced technologies with degree courses. So, often, the degrees that youth pursue to become employable are not sought by industries – creating a gap in the demand and supply for employment opportunities. To address this problem, I think we are moving in the right direction by offering short-term skill development training in India, where the youth can pick and play with the course to judge his/her own capabilities. These small courses prove to be huge steps in career progression as industries look for specific skill sets rather than only formal degrees. What needs to be done further is designing and developing multiple and affordable online course offerings so that the youth can be motivated to learn on his/her own time with required skill sets.
Because of the availability of small skill sets and an open market, a large pool of youth have brought innovative ideas to life and have become job-givers rather than job-seekers. Some such examples are Tilak Mehta (16) of Papers & Parcels, Ritesh Agarwal (27) of OYO Rooms, Sreelakshmi Suresh (23) of TinyLOGO, Divya Gandotra Tandon (18) of Scoop Beats Pvt. Ltd. and Suumit Shah of Dukan App.
With the World Bank Supported program, India is offering business development and mentoring underprivileged entrepreneurs. Since the program began in 2011, more than 1,200 youth entrepreneurs have emerged, generating more than 11,700 new jobs. However, this data is limited to the programs supported by the World Bank. There will be thousands of more such youth who have largely emerged as job-givers. Innovations from the youth are supporting ‘Growth with Goodness’ and contributing to nation-building in all aspects. It is our job to enable more of them to spread their wings and soar, limitless.
Jatin Trivedi, Chief Operating Officer, Adani Skill Development Centre (ASDC)