India's apprenticeship process can be optimized to equip the youth with the necessary competencies to gain decent, sustainable, and meaningful work.

Opening remarks by Ms Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia and Country Office for India at the Apprenticeship in India: Country Strategy Innovation Bootcamp

Statement | New Delhi, India | 27 April 2022
Mr Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Mr Atul Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, MSDE

Mr Lalit Narayan Sandu, Director, Employment and Training, Gujarat

Mr Buddha Chandrashekhar, Chief Coordinating Officer, AICTE, Dept. of Higher Education, Ministry of Education

Prof. Santosh Mehrotra, Research Fellow, IZA Institute of Labour Economics, Germany

Mr Amjad Hassan, Organising Secretary INTUC

Mr Sumit Kumar, Member FICCI Skill Development Committee, VP & Business Head – National Employability through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP)

Mr Jan Ebben, Apprenticeship head, National Skill Development Corporation

Mr K. Veera Raghava Rao, Director, DET, Government of Tamil Nadu

Officials from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, National Skill Development Corporation, National Council for Vocational Education and Training and Directorate General of Training

Officials from the Ministry of Education, the department of Higher Education, the University Grants Commission, All India Council of Technical Education, the representatives from the Skill Universities and officials from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Officials from the State Governments

Representatives from Workers’ and Employers’ Organizations

Members from the Sector Skill Councils and the Third Party Aggregators

Representatives from industry associations and the industry

Representatives from international institutions

Experts and researchers from the field

Friends and colleagues!!

Namastey and a very good morning to you all!

Technological advancements, demographic shifts, climate change, globalization and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic have a significant impact on the world of work and are transforming it. In this context, creating decent jobs for all, remains a top priority in countries across the globe. However, as these global trends are causing the loss of some jobs while creating new ones, seizing the opportunities they present will depend on building an agile workforce capable of transitioning smoothly to newly created jobs through appropriate and timely skilling, reskilling and upskilling.

Globally, apprenticeships play a significant role in equipping the youth with the necessary competencies to gain decent, sustainable, and meaningful work. The International Labour Organization has, over the years, supported the development of quality apprenticeship processes among its member States and adopted instruments prescribing standards for their regulation.

The ILO’s 187 member States have decided to discuss establishing a new Standard on quality apprenticeships during the International Labour Conference in June 2022, which will be a major leap in promoting quality apprenticeships.

Recognizing the importance of lifelong learning, the ILO has initiated a new global research project, “Apprenticeships Development for Universal Lifelong Learning and Training (ADULT)”, with the support of the government of Flanders. On the one hand, the project explores the most important challenges faced in apprenticeship across many countries through global policy research and arrives at recommendations based on innovative strategies and good practices. On the other hand, it deepens the understanding of the apprenticeship systems at the national level, gathers country insights and knowledge on modernizing apprenticeships, identifies major roadblocks and presents recommendations based on national and international good practices. The four countries covered under the project are India, the only one in Asia, and South Africa, Finland and the Dominican Republic.

For India, this initiative contributes to the India Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) 2018-22, Outcome 5, which is ‘Skills and lifelong learning to facilitate access to and transitions in the labour market’ and to the SDG goals 4 & 8.

The country research on apprenticeships in India has been possible because of the unwavering support and partnership with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and social partners. This research has aimed to generate new ideas and policy options to modernise the apprenticeship system and promote and enable lifelong learning and decent work for youth and adults.

The draft India Country Research Report captures the progress in the apprenticeship programme over the last few years, discusses some of the major challenges, and provides policy recommendations. These recommendations will be discussed in this innovation bootcamp through group work, and the recommendations of the groups will be included in the final research report.

While the country research report brings several success stories and good practices from other countries, I am happy to share that a number of good practices from India have been included in the global thematic research study– which goes to show that the apprenticeship system and practices in India can be good examples for many other countries to learn from.
This Innovation Bootcamp on ‘APPRENTICESHIP IN INDIA: COUNTRY STRATEGY’ is being organized jointly by the ILO and MSDE. It is titled ‘Innovative Bootcamp’ as this intensive, two-day, interactive learning experience is designed to provide a platform where stakeholders can innovate solutions for the major challenges faced by the Indian apprenticeship programme and design a way forward for the development of the apprenticeship system in India.

The Innovation Bootcamp will provide an opportunity to reflect on the key findings and recommendations that have emerged from the global research on apprenticeship, especially those which can lead to the optimization of the apprenticeship process in India.

We are also aware that India’s apprenticeship system is being significantly enhanced and developed through a range of reforms and initiatives supported by national, state, and sectoral strategies and programmes. This boot camp will also discuss these reforms and familiarize themselves with the same, as well as provide inputs for further modernization and improvement of the same.

The ILO in India has had long-standing cooperation with MSDE. Presently, we have projects within the areas of national quality assurance framework, Qualifications Alignment on National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF), developing a monitoring framework and outline for establishing a research unit and facilitating the conduct of skills needs assessment in identified industry sectors in selected states. We hope this ADULT research report will result in a new project on apprenticeship.

I wish you all a very productive and fruitful two days of deliberations on APPRENTICESHIP IN INDIA: COUNTRY STRATEGY, and thank you for your kind attention!