Industries start skill training through Sector Skill Councils

In about a year or so, industries in Coimbatore, be it garment exporters or builders, hope to see improvement in availability of skilled workers and in productivity as many of them are registering with the respective Sector Skill Councils to train the workers.

The Union Government has formed Sector Skill Councils for different verticals – apparel, textiles, gem and jewellery, plumbing, retail, automobile, - under the National Skill Development Corporation.

In Coimbatore, some of the industrial associations have started facilitating individual industries to register with the councils and train their workers.

According to Texpreneurs Forum, 69 textile mills have started training the workers; Southern India Mills’ Association says that about 40 spinning and weaving units have registered under the Pradham Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana; the Apparel, Made-Ups and Home Furnishing Sector Skill Council has trained 10,000 workers so far and plans to train another 50,000 in a year.

Individual units have been spending huge amounts on training programmes.

Now, the Government provides financial support through the councils.

Though almost all units, in different sectors, have in-house training facilities and systems, the scheme offers standardised training kits for various skills, certificate for the trained, and encourages industries to take up the training at the respective units.

In a textile mill, 70 per cent of the workers need to be skilled. And, workers move even from one sector to another for work.

With this scheme, they will be certified and will be recognised in another unit in the same sector if they change jobs.

Even if 30 per cent to 40 per cent workers continue in the same mill for a longer period, it is a benefit as there is shortage of skilled workers, points out a source at SIMA.

However, there are more manufacturing verticals in the region that need to be included under the Sector Skill Council project.

For instance, foundries, plastic units, machine shop workers do not have separate Sector Skill Councils so far.

The average shortage of skilled workers in the engineering units is 40 per cent. There is a need to attract workers through such training and retain them in the industry, says E.K. Ponnuswamy, president of Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association.

Since Coimbatore is a hub of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises that are involved in different sectors, machine operators and fitters need to be included in the training initiatives. “Now, there is a roadmap to create skilled workers. We need to create awareness and address the worker shortage issue,” he says.

According to V. Lakshmi Narayanasamy, president of Southern India Mills’ Association, the number of skilled workers in pumpset units is on the decline.

More than two lakh workers are estimated to be employed in the 500 pumpset units here.

Many of these units recruit migrant workers, including those from the northern States and skill development has become essential.

“We need skilled workers for machining, grinding, assembling, painting and finishing,” he says.

The association plans to join hands with COINDIA and approach the Union Government to have training activities for pumpset units, he added.

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