Note: This article is based on the inputs from Ajita Karve, Principal Lead – Design and Quality at Tata STRIVE
In the pursuit of consistent outcomes, what is needed is compliance with standards, parameters, and norms that ensure quality.
When is it that you call a skill training organization to be of quality? Is it when the organization meets its targets? Or when the percentage of youth certified is over 90%?
Is it in the high retention/low attrition numbers of youth trained? Or is it when a facility boasts of having state-of-the-art infrastructure?
Better still – could it be all of these?
The questions above are actually answers received in context to a rather succinct argument made by Ajita Karve, Tata STRIVE’ Principal Lead for Design and Quality.
Karve concludes, “Quality is a heterogeneous concept – especially in Skill Development.”
Referring to an Industry trend Report, she points out that not more than 35% – 39% of our youth are employable. But how does this connect with quality? Employability is a critical parameter to measure the outcome of any skill development programme.
And while it is true that many skill development institutes and organizations do follow prescribed quality processes, what often gets overlooked is adherence to and adoption of a quality framework. Or as Karve puts it, “The definition and meaning of Quality should be the same for all the stakeholders associated with an organization.”
Tata STRIVE has built (and demonstrated the success of) a having a quality framework. This has also ensured scale and sustainability along with quality – across all its skilling programmes. It is called the Tata STRIVE Quality Framework (TSQF). A closer look:
Tata STRIVE Quality Framework (TSQF)
Since its inception, Tata STRIVE has made quality a vital part of all its skilling programmes. Before developing a quality framework, Tata STRIVE extensively studied, learned, and researched quality frameworks of institutions abroad (in Europe and Scotland), along with referring to indigenous models such as the Tata Business Excellence Model and Tata Education Excellence.
Four parameters that are integral to TSQF:
- Processes – Right from mobilization to placements, all the processes must be well-defined. All the processes must be implemented well and continuously improved upon.
- Teaching-learning practices – Teaching-learning practices include all the steps and processes right from content creation to assessments. Ensuring quality and standardizing the teaching-learning practices, makes sure that a student is not only certified but has also gathered the necessary skills to be employable.
- Infrastructure – This includes both the physical as well as the intangible infrastructure. The intangible infrastructure ensures that all physical safety norms have been followed and takes into consideration the safety of the students.
- Results and outcomes – Results and outcomes in terms of how many students have been certified and how many of them got placed, also become an important parameter to ensure quality.
All the above four parameters are a critical part of Tata STRIVE’s Quality Framework. Tata STRIVE makes sure all their partners are aware of these quality parameters and follows them right from the onset of any programme. As mentioned earlier, right from pre-mobilization to workplace preparedness of the youth, quality must always be uncompromised.
But how practically can smaller organizations measure and manage quality across their skilling programmes?
“When we want to scale ‘quality’, it is about the replicability of that quality – as much as it is about assuring the delivery of that inherent quality itself,” says Karve, adding, “…and while quality isn’t ‘formulaic’, drawing parallels and taking notes from an industry best practice or two – always helps.”
Here are a few steps smaller training organizations can take towards ensuring quality in their skilling programmes:
- Begin by defining what is quality for the organization. Define all the processes right from mobilization to placements, along with a special focus on content, teaching methodology, infrastructure, and the like.
- Organizations must also have some mechanism to understand what the youth want.
- Having a template for the quality framework will be a concrete measurement of quality assurance.
Read more from Tata STRIVE – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/tata-strive/
Unemployed v/s unemployable
It may seem uphill to some, but ensuring quality is sure to bring in a good amount of assurance and predictability to skill development programmes as well as their outcomes. The huge gap between qualification, skill, what the industry is looking for, and what a student possesses – can all be addressed with quality. Scaling skill development programmes, mapping the same outcome, developing the youth who are not just skilled but also employable are just some of the added advantages of ensuring quality.
Karve adds, “Unemployability is when an employer company wouldn’t hire a learner since he/she/they lack skills that are worth paying for – skills that are irrelevant or substandard. However, sitting at the root of this is the gap in industry-relevant training the learner did not receive – and which is precisely what that market demands.”
Also read: Scalability in skill development – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/scalability-in-skill-development/
Thus, maintaining quality is of importance too. It must be done across all programmes and processes – for it guarantees greater efficiency, regulation of successful practices, a better understanding of students’ needs, improved satisfaction among the stakeholders, and a greater result and outcomes.
Karve sums it rather succinctly, “Towards achieving all of these, having an uncompromisable quality framework in place is prime.”