It is widely expected that India will have a demographic dividend for the next 25 to 30 years, with the rare opportunity to reap the benefits of the largest young work-force in the world – about 80 crores of our population being below the working age of 35.
On the other side, more than one million people enter the workforce in India every month, of which less than 5% receive formal skills training. A disturbingly large portion of the younger population is either totally unemployed or only partially employed, mainly due to lack of skills or no access to opportunities. We, as a country, must devise various models to overcome this challenge. The skill development need in the country is vast and can be addressed only by working in partnerships. To effectively contribute to the Prime Minister’s vision of Skilling India, corporates and the Government have to work more closely to partner with each other and create more replicable success stories in skilling young India.
Contributing in a small but sustainable way Bosch has developed three models of skilling in India. The first is a long-term career-oriented model to train technical apprentices for 1-3 years in the Bosch Vocational Center (BVC) in Bengaluru. The second, a short-term job-oriented model, called Bridge, makes younsters who are unable to pursue higher education and drop out of the education system, employable. The third model trains and produces high quality artisans.
The BVC was set up in 1961 as a fully-fledged training center to develop a reservoir of skilled personnel required to produce quality products using sophisticated machines. Over more than 56 years, BVC has developed in-depth expertise in vocational training. It has trained over 3400 apprentices so far, with many of them working at responsible positions in India and abroad. The skilling program is designed and executed with such precision that many of our apprentices regularly top the Government’s all-India competition for apprentices: 240 of them have bagged gold medals so far! With the distinction of being the most-awarded technical training center in India, the BVC has been declared ‘Best Establishment’ by the President of India 53 times, 17 times in a row.
Bosch in India has successfully deployed the world famous German Dual VET model of vocational training to ensure consistency and quality, customizing it to the Indian context. Accordingly, 20% of the training comprises of theoretical knowledge in classrooms, 30% in practice at the BVC workshop and different labs, and 50% in the real-life production environment in the manufacturing plant. The training, meeting international standards, enables the youth to find employment in various industry sectors both in India and abroad. Believing that the success of any well-designed skill program depends on the quality of the trainers to a large extent, Bosch also runs a unique one-year Train the Trainer (TTT) program to create a talent pool of capacity-builders.
Other initiatives include a joint project with other German companies to establish modern skill development centers in Government ITIs in Karnataka. These ‘domain-specific’ centers are being set up to develop industry-ready skilled technicians. In the first phase, five such centers are planned to become operational by March 2018. In partnership with Ramaiah University, Bengaluru, Bosch has also launched a B. Voc program in mechatronics.
As India is reshaping its vocational training system and the Government is pursuing the goal of ‘vocationalization‘ even more rigorously, such training models assume high importance to industry and academia alike.