In 1991, India embarked on a journey of economic liberalisation. From then on, the journey has been mostly upwards, with a few hurdles in between. Yet, even as India ranks among the world’s fastest growing economies today, becoming a key destination for global and local businesses, and attracting investments in billions, two key challenges continue to worry India’s policymakers and administrators – rising unemployment and underemployment.
In its attempt to address these, the government is creating meaningful and sustainable employment and skilling opportunities. At the heart of these initiatives is the unwavering focus on job creation, growth-oriented investment and skilling and upskilling of the work force. Looking specifically into skill development, the government instituted the National Skills Development Policy, established skill development centres and partnered with private players to engage in skill development initiatives. Private players, in addition to bringing in their expertise in mobilising trainees and developing standardised and scalable content, have the capacity to absorb the skilled talent into their workforce. Goa is among the many states that are helping write India’s new narrative, and the launch of the Cipla Training Academy is a key step in this direction.
When the Government of Goa’s Labour and Employment Department collected data to check the ratio of unemployment with regards to the contractual and permanent workers, it noticed that the numbers were startling, not just in terms of skill gaps but also the presence of opportunity gaps for people who needed to be skilled.
To bridge the skill gap and open up employment opportunities, the Government of Goa reached out to different industries, including pharmaceutical giant Cipla. Leading the initiative is Rohan Khaunte, Goa’s Minister for Revenue, Information Technology and Labour & Employment. Rohan has been championing technology to drive economic growth as well as bring in greater transparency in governance. He has been instrumental in organising key events such as International Blockchain Conference, Goa IT Day, among many others. An ardent believer in the power of startups and businesses as growth catalysts, Rohan says, “We have always seen businesses not just as revenue per square feet but employment per square feet. While Goa offers numerous incentives for businesses to thrive and flourish, businesses in turn generate viable employment opportunities and thereby play an important role in the growth of the local economy. And, now we are looking at businesses to add value beyond just generating employment. We believe they have the expertise and capability which when shared can further boost the job economy in the state.”
Driven by this thought and belief, he has been instrumental in bringing the pharma giant on-board for a skilling programme. Cipla has collaborated with the state government to launch the Cipla Technical Academy. The Academy has two key focus areas – a skill development programme and a pharma industry related training programme.
The skill development programme will enable people who have completed education till Class 10 or Class 12 become industry-ready by helping them learn basic soft skills and essential skills to work in the organised sector. The programme is a combination of classroom training and hands-on training.
The aseptic techniques programme is a training programme specifically related to the pharma industry and is designed for people with a background in science. Freshers who hold BSc, MSc and BPharm degrees or diplomas will undergo a six-month long training at the Cipla Academy, followed by an onsite training.
Following completion of the programme, Cipla will review the participants’ performance to check the possibility of absorbing the candidates into their workforce. The Labour & Employment Department will assist participants who are not absorbed by Cipla to get suitable placements in other organisations.
The Cipla Training Academy model is expected to pave the way for other leading companies to start similar skill development initiatives as the government continues to work closely with industry partners to share their expertise in skilling talent, sharing technical know-how, and creating employment opportunities for the skilled workforce.
This is among the many initiatives that the Goa government is leading to further strengthen the local economy by onboarding ecosystem players as key partners in this journey towards sustainable and holistic growth.