NETAP conducted a webinar on 18th June 2021, discussing the Role of Apprenticeship in Future-Proofing Business to understand the recent trends, developments, and best practices in apprenticeship. On the panel were
Ajit Dias, Head - Human Resources, Ginger Hotels
Niraj Shukla, Head - Human Resources (India Business Unit), Rebel Foods
Sriram V, CHRO, BankBazaar.com and
Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP, also moderated the discussions.
The motive behind the discussion was to throw light on the impact of pandemics on business and the market. Different sectors suffered different kinds of losses. Corporate and retail were down by 19% and 20% respectively. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, one of the major issues the industry faced was employee migration. People moved back to their hometowns and never returned, which resulted in difficulty in hiring manpower. And many other challenges witnessed during this uncertain time were discussed. Let’s have a look at a few takeaways from the panel of experts.
The world witnessed a new phenomenon of reverse migration. After unlocking, it was difficult for companies to get the right talent on board. But organizations under the apprenticeship schemes were able to retain and engage with the apprentices through the learning modules. Training the talent within the organization helped them in terms of flexibility and growth. Organizing and planning talent opened up more opportunities to explore.
“Creating talent has proven to be more cost-effective than hiring from the market. Apprenticeship brought long-term benefits to the organization’’; said Niraj Shukla, HR Head, Rebel Foods.
Nowadays, employers look for identifying the right talent, bringing them into the company, then training and developing them. As the company grows, skill and knowledge also grow with experience. Apprentices are trained by the organization with other benefits provided like attractive stipends and medical cover. These kinds of efforts make the apprentices feel valued. With credit-based training, degree apprenticeships could play a pivotal role in making apprenticeships more aspirational in the future. Sriram V, CHRO, Bankbazaar said “I would like the institutions which are using talent and apprentices to give a certificate, and that certificate should now carry a weightage either in the next job or in higher education.” Commitments like these can open doors for graduates to enroll in apprenticeships in their last semester to get practical experience. Learning while earning can broaden their perspective and improve their understanding of the work they’re assigned to do.
Covid also accelerated the adoption of digitalization and technology. Most of the apprenticeship training done in the last year and a half has been online. This resulted in a great advantage for the organizations to scale up, as it was not location bound. The digital option left the industry with a new puzzle. When the pandemic settles down, when things become normal, it will be a new normal. Technology has taken over everybody’s life in such a way that even after we go back to the unlocked lifestyle, digitalization will be the future.
One of the hot topics addressed in the webinar was gender diversity in apprenticeship. For many years, industries like hotel & tourism and manufacturing units had a male dominance. Over the years, thanks to the shift in the mindset, the number of women apprentices is slowly going up. Tech organizations like Bankbazaar make conscious efforts to hire an equal number of female apprentices as compared to male. Furthermore, to be more inclusive people with physical difficulties, new mothers, part-time workers, etc were welcomed with broadened arms. As Mr, Sriram said; I think apprenticeship is a brilliant opportunity given to everyone in the industry, that we were lagging not for any other reasons because it was not feasible. Another constraint is that a pandemic has opened a new door.
Encouraging students with real-life work experience, credit, and lucrative stipends can be used to explore degree apprenticeship. The main motive of apprenticeship is to bridge the gap between education and professional life. Organizations should take charge and should add a little description of the work profile of the apprentice while working on the job. The certificate received by The National Skill Development Scheme will have the weightage from the description of the activities done during the apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships have been a part of the industry for a really long time but they got diluted over the years. The market really needs to showcase the successful products of apprenticeship to create more awareness about the program. There are no shortcuts if someone wants to sustain in the journey. Glorifying the talent that comes out of apprenticeship programs is expected to have a long-run impact on an organization.