The concept of apprenticeship has evolved over the years and has started to impart different perspectives for different individuals. NETAP recently organised a webinar on "Emerging Trends in Apprenticeship Hiring in India" to get insights from industry practitioners on the emerging trends in apprenticeship and the way forward. . The webinar session comprised panellists Venkatesh M.S., Chief Human Resources Officer, DFM Foods Limited, Abhishek Jha, Vice President Human Resources, Writer Information, Preeti Phansalkar, Sr. HR Leader, Strategic HR Advisor and Leadership Coach with Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP, who moderated the webinar session . Together they took a microscope to the problems still remaining and possible solutions to be implemented to make apprenticeship more ubiquitous.
Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP, started off the session with a brief introduction about the dynamic nature of apprenticeship and its current status in light of the pandemic. He then went on to direct questions to the panellists, who shared insights drawn from their own vast experience.
The aftermath of the pandemic
Despite having to deal with the pandemic, the year 2021 still had a few positive outcomes as per Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP. To summarize, there is now an increased demand for skilled workforce due to loss of labourers during the pandemic, employers are beginning to recognize apprentices as highly productive, gender neutrality among apprentices is helping women succeed in male dominated job roles and new job roles in new sectors have started to emerge.
But it wasn’t all good, according to the TeamLease Apprenticeship Outlook Report 2021, which was briefed during the meeting. A glaring 54% of the employers, stopped or reduced apprentice hire and a high number of employers dismissed apprenticeship as a viable option, either due to lack of awareness or lack of appreciation of its potential benefits. Get the full copy of the Apprenticeship Outlook Report here
Revolutionizing Indian education system
The perception issues of India, about apprenticeship has to be one of the major players in its downfall according to Venkatesh M.S., Chief Human Resources Officer, DFM Foods Limited. India is still unable to understand and accept apprenticeship wholly for the opportunities it encompasses.
In order to solve the former, we need to link the concept with value education programmes, this would be one more step forward to bring in new talent. A joint involvement between basic education and industry training would be the path towards a more skilled workforce. Our basic education model stands inefficient to nurture the aptitude of students, as opposed to the system adopted by China, according to Abhishek Jha, Vice President Human Resources, Writer Information.
The ill-effects of a late ROI
SMEs in India are in general unreceptive to apprentices. Leading to the question of how to overcome this hurdle, Preeti Phansalkar stated from her experience, how the initial investment on apprentices was a difficult choice. Organizations usually tend to look for a quick ROI before deciding on the investment itself.
The in-acceptance within India
The new education policy guidelines would help promote apprenticeship with its value added degree programmes and credit system. This would only be effective in collaboration with active employer participation according to Sumit Kumar. As apprenticeships initially focused on job roles within a factory setting, the innovation into a wider scope of sectors has been difficult for the industry to understand.
While India has begun catching up with apprenticeship trends, we are still too far behind to reap the benefits at the same intensity as pro-apprenticeship countries. A faster, more accepting climate should begin to form among organizations of various sizes in order to make up for what we lack. It is long due, since most Indian organizations have become aware of the concept according to Preeti Phansalkar.
How to address the cumbersomeness in onboarding
The final session of the webinar consisted of a Q and A session from the audience. The first question was directed towards Abhishek Jha, in relation to his earlier statement that the Indian system of apprenticeship is cumbersome. He replied that we will, in fact, catch up soon. With 3 major amendments to the system, we can compete with countries like Germany and the UK in terms of apprenticeship. Higher accountability, to help combat the lack of formally skilled individuals, schemes running in tandem, to make the mechanism of implementation more uniform and lastly learning from apprenticeship-successful countries to help better our system.