There is an overpowering need for skilled workers in India. Though there are around 20 million youth added to the workforce every year, only a small percentage out of them actually manage to secure a job. This is because even though they possess a graduation degree, they do not possess the necessary skills required in the 21st century job industry to get employed.India Today spoke to Shubika Bilkha, Business Head, Real Estate Management Institute about the factors what India needs to address right now in terms of creating the right workforce employable across various industries.
Q. Please elaborate on what factors universities should focus on in order to ensure that the gap between demand and supply in various industries can be closed
Shubika Bilkha: Educational institutes in India train millions of students each year; however, the majority of Indian graduates across disciplines remain unemployed. For example, as per the Aspiring Minds National Employability Report, of the 1.5 lakh engineering graduates in 2015 from over 650 colleges, 80 per cent of them are unemployable. There seems to be an inherent disconnect between the curriculum based learning at the school and university level, with the requisite 'job ready' skills needed by Indian corporates. Despite some initiatives taken by the government towards enhancing skill development, there still exists a large gap between supply and demand, with students expressing their frustration by way of limited job opportunities and corporates looking for quality talent.In the real estate sector alone, there is a current skill shortfall of 4 million core professionals with the total skill requirement of the sector expected to be 75 million by 2022 (KPMG Report 2016).
There are a number of key avenues that need to be highlighted to address the issue outlined above:
1.The university curriculum remains outdated and not relevant in a number of instances with the teaching methodology premised on instructor-led programmes with a focus on finishing the curriculum, rather than on a facilitative learning model. This limits engagement in the classroom which could curtail dialogue and discussion among the students.With increased access to the information as a result of the advent of the digital medium, the university framework needs to encourage facilitative learning as a framework to create a more engaging classroom experience
2.Additionally, more emphasis is placed on obtaining the required "marks" rather than on acquiring knowledge or gaining relevant skills. Hence, except in the case of highly motivated students who take initiative, the practical application of the classroom teaching is overlooked.This results driven approach, as opposed to a knowledge enhancing approach often results in rote learning of the key concepts rather than understanding the larger framework within which they operate.
3.The limited use of technology in the classroom is another deterrent to developing relevant job ready skills among the students. At most corporates/professions today, students from the first day in their jobs will be required to be technologically proficient.Students often enroll in additional classes to acquire the basic IT skills, however this needs to be further integrated within the educational framework for them to be ready for their first day on the job.
4. While a number of universities are seen to be increasing their focus on building a career cell, there needs to be an increased focus across universities/colleges to either build the expertise in-house or partner with vocational training institutes to develop more robust Career Development Cells to train/equip students with the requisite employment oriented skills.After surveying a number of universities across Mumbai, we have found that most students at the university level remain unclear as to their proposed career path. For example, in Civil Engineering colleges, we have found that the motivation for joining this program usually stems from familiar pressure as opposed to a larger understanding of the role of a civil engineer. Hence, there is limited understanding of the job/career prospects in the space.
5.An increased focus on "employment oriented" or "job ready" skills is required. In India today, vocational skilling exists outside of the realm of the university framework, with a number of corporates outlining graduate degrees as a key requirement. While there are university initiatives such as the BVoc scheme, most of these again exist within the degree framework as opposed to the vocational framework. Hence, most students need to do a 3-4 year degree programme, after which they apply for a vocational programme in order to get employment.To bridge the skill gap and create a value for vocational education, there needs to be a greater acceptance of vocational diplomas/certifications by employers.
Q. "Vocational training is a policy orphan because strategy is set by Delhi but delivery systems are in the hand of states." How can this problem be catered to?
Shubika Bilkha:There is an inherent gap between the number of graduates per year and the associated employment metrics. As discussed above, the majority of graduates are said to be unemployable. This is primarily because even though they have a graduation degree, a number of them do not have the required skills needed in today's ever-evolving job industry to get employed.As vocational training is still in its infancy in India, a number of private institutes, who have the essential resources and expertise in the respective industry, have started training and building skills in-house.
There a number ofgovernment initiatives that have been started to build vocational skills amongst the youth as well:
■ Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kaushalya Vikas Yojana have been important initiatives to persuade the youth to acquire key job ready skills
■ At the university level, there has been the introduction of the BVoc programme to encourage students to develop employable skills
Need for private and government skilling forces to align
While private institutes have reacted faster to this growing requirement, there needs to be a simpler process by which the government frameworks, the university framework and the private institute align themselves towards sector development. We have established REMI- The Real Estate Management Institute with the vision to 'Skill India to Build India' and contribute to industry development of the real estate sector by bridging the skill gap and supplying trained professionals to one of the largest employment sectors in the economy.