NSDC invests in SkillSonics: takes equity and offers debt to scale up the Swiss Vocational Model in IndiaGanesh Nagarsekar
NSDC(National skill development Corporation) invested Rs 22.5 crores in SkillSonics yesterday. Skillsonics provides an industry-led public partnership vocational training model in India, adapted from the highly successful Swiss Vocational Education and Training system and intends to train upto a million engineering technicians by 2022. Built on a pilot project that commenced in 2009 they have trained over 600 apprentices till date and have plans to step up their presence to eight states, covering all the major engineering clusters across the country.SkillSonics aims at addressing the severe shortage of skilled workmen across Indian industry, by creating a sustainable ecosystem that brings young Indians seeking a manufacturing vocation, the manufacturing industry and the Government together. The NSDC funding is an endorsement of this endeavour, and a significant step towards building this ecosystem through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that will help in creating employment opportunities.
Despite an expected need for 40 million machinists (workers skilled in handling machines) and mechanics in 2020, India produces less than 2 million skilled, vocationally trained workers every year. This number constitutes only 2% of the total students in the age group 15-25, as compared to 80% in Europe and 60% in East Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The shortage of skilled labour both in terms of quantity and quality has reduced productivity and cut into the profitability of Indian enterprises.
SkillSonics courses, designed in collaboration with Swissmem (Swiss Mechanical and Electrical Manufacturing Industries) and SFIVET (Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training), adapt world-renowned Swiss content and pedagogy to the Indian context. The apprentices spend only about 65% of the time doing course-work (mostly practical work and projects), leaving the remaining time to be spent on productive work on the shop floor or company-specific training. This helps the companies to benefit from immediate increase in productivity of entry-level technicians.
Courses are also offered to existing technicians that lead to continuous improvement of existing workforce. Candidates benefit through skilling at global skill levels and on the job orientation. During training, SkillSonics conducts rigorous assessments at regular intervals. At the end of the course, the apprentices take exams for the Indian National Apprenticeship and Swissmem Certification. The dual certification and rigorous assessment of demonstrated skills, teamwork ability and on-floor behavior greatly enhance the employability of these apprentices.
The Swiss VET model is credited to be the backbone of Switzerland’s thriving economy. Skillsonic is trying to replicate the model in India with the support of NSDC and all the stakeholders including government, industry and academia to address India’s skills gap sustainably