Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Narendra Modi’s government is preparing to present the next Union budget in just over a week. India’s goal of becoming self-reliant and having a $ 5,000 billion economy will depend very much on the education and skill level of its citizens.
“Currently, there is a mismatch in some areas between the skills required by industry and those possessed by young people in our country. Therefore, India’s automotive sector could face a huge void if reforms and structured initiatives are not taken to address the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labor, ”said Nikunj Sanghi , President of the Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC).
In an exclusive interaction with ETHRWorld, Nikunj Sanghi also explained how ASDC conducts many training activities, with teams from different areas, including hosting webinars and launching various courses. Recently, ASDC partnered with Google India to train more than 20,000 car dealers to fill the digital skills gap in car dealerships across the country and build their capacity in this critical growth engine. Edited excerpts:
Why do you think India’s goal of becoming self-reliant and having a $ 5,000 billion economy will depend so much on skills? How do you see the current state of skills development in the country, especially in the professional learning and development (L&D) space?
As companies embark on their 2021 journey with high hopes of fully adapting to the new normal, improving skills and relearning are key words. While the digital disruption of the past decade has already made both terms buzzwords in the business world, the headwinds induced by the pandemic have seen them emerge as one of the differentiators between successful and successful entities. also.
Meanwhile, whether in service or manufacturing, every industry has come to realize the importance that advanced technologies play in organizations that maintain their relevance and competitive advantage. With global supply chains severely affected by restrictions linked to the pandemic, companies have turned to domestic suppliers and in some cases even started the process of local manufacturing. In all of these endeavors, technology has been the great driver, increasing productivity and maintaining profitability or even helping to start the steady march towards self-reliance or the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat. It goes without saying that the skills needed to pilot digital technologies are vital.
At this point, the next EU budget is just a few weeks away. As the Center aims to achieve its goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, while emerging as a $ 5,000 billion economy, upskilling and retraining of the workforce is essential, especially for young people. While the Center has launched numerous training initiatives, collaborations between public and private sector companies can play a major role in training / retraining programs. Apart from that, university curricula need to be reset to stay in tune with the current realities of the post-pandemic era. While India is renowned for its large talent pool, employers argue that most graduates are unemployable, given the mismatch of their skills with the demands of the industry.
The 2021 budget is the perfect opportunity for the ministries of Education as well as of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship to work in unison to revise university curricula and skills programs according to the needs of the industry. . If India seeks to join the committee of nations recognized as knowledge-based economies, its talent pool must be trained in the relevant skills of the digital age.
What are some of the challenges in developing and upgrading automotive skills? What skill sets are needed for 2021, beyond technological skill sets, that will play a key role in enabling job seekers to be a strategic fit for key roles?
The automotive industry in India is undergoing a transformation due to its sustained growth and profitability. India’s auto industry currently accounts for 7.1 percent of the country’s GDP and 49 percent of manufacturing output, generating 32 million direct or indirect jobs. Based on the 2019-2026 Automotive Mission Plan, which is a collective vision of the Indian government and the Indian automotive industry, the sector is expected to employ 36 million people by 2026. The automotive industry is known to be very dynamic with ceaseless innovations. pouring in from around the world, changing the face of the industry as we know it.
To cope with such a transformation, the constant qualification, re-qualification and development of the current and future workforce is extremely important. New jobs, however, are likely to move away from traditional manufacturing and be added instead in the fields of IoT, mechatronics, robotics, 3D printing, AI. , machine and deep learning, analytics, virtual collaboration, automotive design and computational thinking.
Currently, there is a gap in some areas between the skills required by industry and those possessed by young people in our country. Therefore, India’s automotive sector could face a huge void if reforms and structured initiatives are not taken to address the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labor.
At ASDC, we run a lot of training activities with our teams from different areas, including hosting webinars and launching various courses. Recently, we partnered with Google India to train over 20,000 car dealers to fill the digital skills gap in car dealerships across the country and build their capacity in this critical growth engine.
How do you see the impact of containment on the automotive industry in terms of job creation? How long will it take to get back to pre-Covid level?
As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Indian auto industry suffered a loss of Rs 2,300 crore per day and an estimated loss of jobs in the sector was around 3.45 lakh, according to a parliamentary panel report.
The committee was informed by automotive industry associations that all major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have cut production by 18-20% due to weak demand and declining vehicle sales. . As a result, the employment scenario in the automotive sector was affected and the estimated job loss in the automotive sector was 3.45 lakh. The hiring of labor has been stopped in the automotive sector. In addition, various car dealerships have been closed. In addition, production cuts in the automotive sector are having a persistent negative impact on the components industry, negatively affecting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in the manufacture of automotive spare parts, the report says.
Given the crisis, it is predicted that the auto industry will likely go through at least two consecutive years of severe contraction, resulting in low levels of capacity utilization, lack of future CAPEX investments, high risk of bankruptcy and job losses across the auto industry. value chain.
Please share your ideas regarding the possibility of huge voids in the auto industry if reforms and structured initiatives are not taken to address the mismatch between supply and demand for skilled labor? How can the mismatch between the skills required by industry and those possessed by young people be remedied?
India sent representatives to the World Skill Competition which is similar to the Olympic Games in sport. The last one took place in Kazan, Russia. I was there with the car team and the Competition opened my eyes. We realized that unless India aligns with global skills standards, not only will we miss the skills bus, but Atmanirbhar Bharat and global competitiveness will be difficult.
In Kazan, vocational training institutes had students as young as 12, and they know that they don’t need to be graduates to be hired. And to promote this culture, they allow masses of students to visit the Competition and offer them a guided tour where they can feel the ecosystem of skills that surrounds them.
And this is where the incubation of talent towards qualification begins. This is the path India must take. First, aligning our skill standards with global standards, second, start incubating children of their grade level in this skill ecosystem. And finally, give skills the same dignity that is accorded to university degrees.
A shift in perception is needed when obtaining a degree is seen as a must even if the student subsequently does not get a job. Rather, the thinking process should be that learning the skills to find a job and become financially independent by making a career out of what has been learned seems respectable. A complete cultural change is needed. Once this culture takes hold, there is no way to prevent India from becoming a hub of manufacturing and a supplier of skilled talent.
How many people do you plan to place in the industry? What are some of the initiatives in place for the same?
Various skill universities are now emerging which would certainly meet global standards. ASDC contacts various academic institutions and colleges and works with them on additional credits, which can be added to an existing course to train the student professionally in areas such as R&D, manufacturing, sales and after-care. sale, which will make the student more acceptable to the industry.
And since these courses will be designed by ASDC, they will meet industry requirements. In total, we have trained nearly 67,814 candidates, of which 60,689 have already passed out.
ASDC has started working on new positions in the fields of Industry 4.0 for the fields of manufacturing and maintenance and the whole field of electric vehicles. We are modifying some of the existing positions to update the new technological changes and disruptions that have taken place in this industry. We’re also starting the second phase of Grow with Google this month to train various car dealerships to fill the digital skills gap in the country.