By Shruti Kedia
Through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana scheme, the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry claims to have certified over 18 lakh candidates and provided employment opportunities to 5.25 lakh youngsters.
Twenty-six-year-old Prahlad Saini runs a food stall successfully in Kanpur, where his momos and burgers attract a large number of customers every day.
However, he remembers a time when he didn’t have much of an income, and his passion to become a food entrepreneur remained a dream.
“I saw an advertisement which spoke about a training programme where I could learn to cook and get trained; learn new skills and gain knowledge about cleanliness and hygiene; and understanding customer relationship,” Prahlad says.
After the training he received at the Tourism and Hospitality Skill Centre, he gained the confidence to start his own food stall. He tells me, “If you are happy, then even your customers are happy.”
Pushpa Gupta, a mother from Vadodara was apprehensive about jobs and training because she had a baby at home. However, she was determined to work to secure her child’s future.
“I was scared of rejection. I just couldn’t leave my baby at home. I was overjoyed when they told me that I could bring my child along to the training programme,” she says.
This marked the beginning of Pushpa’s journey where she learned how to make jackets and bags. The certificate she received on completion was another clinching factor.
“At home nobody think I would be able to work. This is where the certificate will help,” she adds.
Pushpa and Prahlad are among the 5.25 lakh youngsters who have not only been trained but have also received employment opportunities after their association with the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
The employment opportunity
While India is reeling under a job crunch, the central government’s PMKVY scheme, launched in November 2016, aims to skill one crore youth by 2020.
Over the course of 18 months, the ministry claims to have certified over 18 lakh candidates under its various programs — Short Term Training, Recognition of Prior Learning and Special Projects — while providing employment opportunities to 5.25 lakh youngsters. Nearly 78 percent of the candidates have been placed in wage employment while 22 per cent in self-employment/entrepreneurship.
“PMKVY aims to provide quality training to build a skilled and job-ready workforce catering to the evolving demands of the industry. The placement trend shows high demand in service sector. In a vast country like India, where the unorganised sector is predominant, entrepreneurship can be a key enabler in employment generation,” says Rajesh Agrawal, Joint Secretary & CVO of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
A few factors that facilitated increase in placement last year included infrastructure development, expansion of the training partner network, and a stringent monitoring processes where the Skill India training programme focused on quality.
The top 10 performing sectors with respect to placements are Apparel, Electronics and Hardware, Retail, Beauty and Wellness, Telecom, Logistics, Agriculture, IT-ITeS, Tourism and Hospitality and Construction.
What the programme is all about
The PMKVY – a scheme based on public-private-partnership, offers the following training programme for youth and is spread across India with over 7,000 training centres in over 600 districts.
1. The Short-Term Training (STT) programme is aimed at benefitting youth who are either school/college dropouts or unemployed. Apart from skills training, the programme comprises orientation in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial, and digital literacy. The program that encompasses 200-1,000 hours of skill training, is designed according to varied job roles. Till date, more than 13 lakh candidates have been certified under the Short-Term Training programme.
2. The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a certification programme focuses on learning as an outcome rather than as a process. It provides recognition to informal learning or learning through work to receive equal acceptance as the formal levels of education.
Focusing on the workforce in the unorganised sectors, RPL is designed for those who already have a job or are self-employed and require up-skilling and certification for better prospects. The program encompassing 12 – 80 hours of training. Till date, over 5.31 lakh candidates have been certified under this program.
3. Special Projects facilitates training in special areas and/or premises of government bodies like Smart City, Swachch Bharat, Digital India, Make in India; and corporate or industry bodies, including infrastructure projects like Industrial Corridors, and Food parks. It also incorporates training in special job roles, not deﬁned under the available Qualiﬁcation Packs (QPs)/National Occupational Standards (NOS).
Few ‘Special Projects’ include developing ‘unique entrepreneurial skills’ for young people in traditional clusters, working in Naxal areas or even difficult terrain.
Focus on women
From stitching trousers, dresses, salwars, and palazzos to learning about the latest fashion trends Mona is a homemaker turned dressmaker/designer. She proudly tells me that she can even handle her own finances, including operating the ATM machine.
“I was not proficient in English, didn’t know how to type messages in English on WhatsApp and or even have an email id. Today I am happy I can stitch my own clothes and even sneak in a few words of English during conversations. My husband and my children are proud of me when they see me converse in English with customers,” explains Mona Som, a trainee at the Army Skill Training Centre.
One of the key highlights of the PMKVY scheme was to address the gender inequality in the workforce. It seems to have achieved success with women constituing 55 percent of the total placements where the majority to employment opportunities are concentrated in the service sector— apparel, tailoring, computing and peripherals, retail sales, customer care and beauty, and wellness job roles.
“We encourage quality training in industry-relevant job roles for better placement outcomes. We also enhance self-employment capabilities of skilled youths by integrating digital literacy, soft skills, and entrepreneurship modules,” says Manish Kumar, MD & CEO of National Skill Development Corporation.
Mona benefitted from the job fairs or the ‘Rozgar Melas’ organised by the NSDC to accelerate the pace of placements. Under this initiative, placement drives are conducted providing employers and candidates a common platform to interact. The scheme is associated with more than 7,000 employers — including Myntra, Pizza Hut, PVR Cinemas, Bata India, G4S Secure Solutions, Lemon Tree hotel, and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter Pet Ltd. In the last 18 months, 800 Rozgar Melas have been organised to generate employment opportunities.