National Apprenticeship Program: Long term benefits with one time investment on skills!

National Apprenticeship Program: Long term benefits with one time investment on skills!

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme ( NAPS ) acts as a route to recruit from the hard effects of COVID-19 lockdown on industries, will act as a medium to bounce back as a business and regain financial good health.

NAPS provides one the flexibility to recruit, train and evaluate the candidates’ suitability as a long-term employee. During apprenticeship one needs to pay a stipend and Government will subsidies this stipend. An apprentice is not a worker, so, no PF / ESIC contributions, terminate if the apprentice does not measure up to the expected standards, it is a scheme of Government of India to provide financial support to establishments undertaking the apprenticeship training. NAPS was launched on 19 August 2016.

Apprenticeship – Bridging Demand and Supply Gaps

With a rising population, India needs to utilise the potentials of its vast human resources by empowering with the right skills to fuel an already rapidly growing and dynamic economy. A growing employment crisis has re- focused attention on the importance of cultivating employability by bringing on- the-job training and learning. At the same time, the employability of India’s youth is 45% primarily due to the shortage of relevant skills. The above scenario clearly depicts that India is not having a job problem, there is a relevant skill problem. The classic remedy for addressing the issues of talent shortage and skills gap is apprentices. If each MSMEs and start-ups engage a small portion of apprentices, both small portion of apprentices, both sectors have the potential to generate a huge amount of apprentices. The MSME sector especially the establishments with more than 30 employees and engaging 2.5% of apprentices of their total manpower alone has the potential to generate over 2.5mn apprentices. If MSMEs and start- ups have 10% of their workforce as apprentices, there would be a trained workforce of about 9mn youth and hiring 15% would generate a 13.5mm industry-ready workforce. In a way workforce of about 9mn youth and hiring 15% would generate a 13.5mn industry-ready workforce. In a way apprenticeships offer a way to connect education, skills and employment, enable employees and employees to find the best match and employability signaling value for youth in the job market.

The Apprenticeship Act in implied by the government to skills the youth and benefit all the sectors and the nation. The objectives of NAPS is to promote apprenticeship training in the country and to provide financial support to establishments to undertake apprenticeship programs in the manner, the way in the scheme demands:

Reimbursement of 25% of prescribed stipend subject to a maximum of Rs.1500/- per month per apprentice by the Government of India to all employer who engage apprentices. And Reimbursement of cost of basic training (up to a limit of Rs. 7500/- for a maximum of 500 hours= Rs. 15/hour) by the Government of India to Basic Training Providers (BTPs) in respect of apprentices who come directly for apprenticeship training without any formal training.

Employer must note that the ITI Pass Outs, Graduates/ Diploma Holders, All Pass Outs from the NSQF aligned courses including PMKVY/DDUGKY etc., Dual-Learning Mode from ITI & those pursuing Graduation / Diplomas are exempt from basic training. And the basic training usually accounts for 20-25% of the duration of the overall Apprenticeship Program but can vary depending on the specific requirement of the curriculum. There are two categories of Trades defined under the Apprenticeship act 1961- • Designated Trades: Those notified by the Government are referred to as” Designated Trades” and Optional Trades: The other trades which are not included in the notified list of the Designated Trades but opted as a Trade/Course to be run under the Apprentices Act by an establishment. These are referred to as “Optional Trades”.

The Sector Skill Councils will play an integral role in expanding the apprenticeship ecosystem. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SSCs has been assigned the role of ‘Joint Apprenticeship Advisor’ (JAA) under the Apprentices Act, 1961. The major actions undertaken by SSCs are the identification of job roles (in close coordination with NSDC) in which apprenticeship can be made compulsory and optional respectively; preparation of new qualification packs based on the industry requirement, develop embedded and top up apprenticeship curricula; advocacy of apprenticeship in the industry; and empanelment of training providers.

Furthermore roles includes the registration of contracts between employer and candidates with mapping of preferred trades/subjects with basic education and experience background of candidate, undertake capacity building exercises for employers’ HR personnel who will drive apprenticeship engagement in their respective organizations and lastly they undertake assessment and Certifications in participation with employers; provide supervision for the implementation of the apprenticeship programs in their respective areas to protect the interest of the candidate.

Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. Target under the scheme shall be 5 lakh apprentices in 2016-17, 10 lakh apprentices in 2017-18, 15 lakh apprentices in 2018-2019 and 20 lakh apprentices in 2019-20. The engagement of fresher apprentices shall be 20% of total annual target.

The question arises what benefit does it serves to the employer, definitely a employer should not be just worried about workers but about long term profits in her business…this program is like a long term investment in business as it helps the employers to; Recruit and develop a highly-skilled workforce that helps grow their business and improve productivity, profitability, and an employer’s bottom line; will create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills, will minimize liability costs through appropriate training of workers, employer will receive tax credits and employee tuition benefits in participating states and will increase retention of workers, during and following the apprenticeship.

The Apprenticeship Program is something that enhances and enables the employers to expand their business dynamics in profits not just on monetary terms but even more which will benefit the industry, and nation. Basically it is a requirement of the century.

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