Budget sets apart Rs. 75 crore for providing training in soft and vocational skills

Acknowledging that technically qualified youth in the State often failed to land jobs in the private sector due to lack of soft and vocational skills, the State has decided to address issue by involving the private sector in the ongoing Tamil Nadu Skill Development Mission (TNSDM).

“(The mission) which is being currently implemented through a society, will be reorganised as a Special Purpose Vehicle with participation from the private sector as well. We have set apart Rs. 75 crore in the budget for providing such skill training through different departments,” Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam announced in his Budget speech on Monday. He said that an analysis of the skill-need gap of Tamil Nadu for the next 15 years showed that about two crore people needed to be skilled afresh or re-skilled.

Various government departments, under the umbrella of TNSDM, will identify skill gaps and impart training that would include certification courses and combining of education with work in co-ordination with industry. As many as 37 private sector placement assistance cells will also be set up across the state at a cost of Rs.193 lakh.

A recent CII report on Tamil Nadu had estimated that by 2015, the incremental skilled manpower requirement of the State will be 130-150 lakh, mainly in the manufacturing, textile, automotive, retail, IT, Electronics and banking and financial services sectors. There are over 38,500 industrial units in the State.

Over the years, increasing unemployment, especially among educated youth, in the State has indeed become a serious concern. Nearly eight lakh students are enrolled in various employment exchange rolls in Tamil Nadu. Of these, 21,27,389 are matriculates and 15,95,546 have completed higher secondary school. As many as 2,58,537 are arts graduates, 2,81,026 graduate teachers and the rest engineering graduates. Nearly 72 Industrial Training Institutes run by the government across the State provide various mechanical, electrical and computer-aided courses to individuals. Experts point out that though there is much demand for skilled labour in the State, there are not many who meet the requirements. This is mainly because most of the skill training institutes are poorly equipped.

“It is impossible for manufacturers to directly recruit students from ITI campuses because they lack technical skills. The skill gap is mainly because the curriculum is obsolete,” says Sabyasachi Patra, director, Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology. The new system must not only train potential employees on ‘assembly lines' and ‘smouldering' but also on quality inspection of the products and global standards of manufacturing, he added.

A trainer at one of the ITIs is of the opinion that despite the “moderate levels of training” at the institution, many of their seats remain vacant. “Most students in government ITIs come from very poor families and have absolutely no skills when they enrol here, so training them technically itself is a big challenge. There is not much focus on communication here.” Improving the ability of students to communicate is something high on the priority-list of the IT industry too.

The industry, one of the biggest employers in the State, might have already initiated training programmes in some colleges but “a lot more remains to be done, especially to improve the communication abilities of graduates from rural areas,” B. Anbuthambi, associate vice-president of ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu, which works on increasing the employability levels of the graduates. “The stress on English as the only mode of communication in the IT and ITES industries only increases the magnitude of this challenge.”


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