The Indian government’s Skill India campaign is getting a push from the Australian government and training institutions through multiple onshore and offshore vocational training programmes and knowledge partnerships. While, on one hand, Indian students are enrolling for vocational education and training courses in institutions Down Under, in a parallel step, Australia is seeking to roll out modules for ‘training the trainer’ programmes.
Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, who had visited India as part of the delegation led by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year, says, “Our ‘training the trainer’ courses are aligned with Prime Minister Modi’s vision to skill 400 million people across India as part of the Skill India mission.” According to him, around half-a-dozen programmes have already been launched under which Australian organisations are delivering courses to trainers.
Though the number of Indian students undertaking vocational education and training in Australia has fallen from 78,380 in 2009 to 27,606 last year, Mr Simon says, “We are certainly seeing increased movement in terms of vocational student numbers.” The annual number since 2013 has been around 28,000 students.
The ‘training the trainer’ programmes are focussed at enhancing the capabilities of trainers and through them improving the productivity of the workforce.
One big ticket initiative aimed at bridging the skill gap in India is in the automotive industry. The Bendigo Kangan Institute has collaborated with the Gujarat government and Maruti Suzuki to set up the country’s first international automobile centre of excellence at the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gandhinagar.
“We are the knowledge partners and Maruti Suzuki is the industrial partner in this initiative,” says Jana Perera, Manager, International Projects, Bendigo Kangan Institute. The collaboration will provide automotive industry training on current technology and facilitate internship programmes leading to employment.
Trevor Schwenke, CEO, Bendigo Kangan Institute, Melbourne, says, “55% of Indian students at this institute are in the automotive course, while the information and communication technology course accounts for 15% of the pupils.”
Australian industry and government have also developed international training and assessment courses in consultation with India’s National Skill Development Corporation, to meet the growing need for skilled workers here.
“Our focus is to make people job ready. We are focussing on the training and skilling needs of the future,” adds Mr Trevor.
Separately, the Queensland Skills & Education Consortium (QSEC), which is a group of registered training organisations delivering skilling programmes, is aspiring to launch a Queensland Training Institute in India.
The writer was in Australia under the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s International Media Visit programme.