The debate about delivering quality skilling while meeting the challenges of quantity, targets or numbers has always been in the headlines. The SkillSonics Model shows a path to scaling and sustaining skilling initiatives without compromising on quality and efficiency. The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) from SkillSonics focuses on training the trainers on Swiss methods and standards in designing and delivering vocational skills. QAP has successfully catalyzed the need for quality as a key differentiator for achieving desired outcomes and competencies.
The QAP Program Closing Event held at the Swiss Embassy in Delhi on 7th December 2017, brought to the fore various aspects of VET in India that could benefit from a continuous collaboration between the Swiss and Indian vocational systems. The event was graced by the presence of Ms. Tamara Mona, Chargé d’Affaires, Swiss Embassy, Mr. Subramaniam Ramadorai, Former Chairman, NSDA and NSDC and Chair of Advisory Board Tata STRIVE, Mr Rajiv Mathur, Senior Head – Skill Advisory Services, NSDC and many guests from the industry.
Delivering the welcome address, Ms. Tamara Mona, Chargé d’ Affaires, Swiss Embassy, spoke about Indo-Swiss friendship and how Switzerland had the privilege of becoming the first country, right after India’s independence, to sign a friendship and establishment treaty in 1948. She also set the context for the event by presenting the scope for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in empowering Indian youth with skills and knowledge following globally recognized Swiss model of VET.
The keynote address delivered by Mr. Subramaniam Ramadorai, Former Chairman, NSDA and NSDC and Chair of Advisory Board Tata STRIVE, delineated the critical aspects of quality, efficiency and outcomes while positioning India in the global value chain through ‘Skill India’ and “Make in India’ missions. He appreciated the efforts made by SkillSonics in driving quality through trainers, and supporting the industry through relevant and responsible model of TOT. One of the highlights of his talk was the urgent need to embrace quality assurance parameters as an integral part of every skilling program, particularly through Train the Trainer (TOT) so that vocational training sheds its negative image as something meant for the dropouts or low-achievers. Mr. Ramadorai also shared examples from how VET could yield positive and desired results if it is implemented in close proximity and collaboration with the industry. Presenting the big picture of the evolving skills ecosystem in India, he stated that quality adherence models that cater to diverse needs in India would definitely make a difference in school level VET and apprenticeship programs.
This was followed by a video presentation from Mr. Josef Widmer, Deputy Director, Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation on how India and Switzerland, in spite of their diverse education systems, can strive for achieving common goals through Swiss India partnership in VET.
Mr Rajiv Mathur, Senior Head – Skill Advisory Services, NSDC delivered a talk on “Training of Trainers, Needs and Efforts in India”. He reiterated the fact the trainers play a critical role in the success of any skilling program and they need to be adequately equipped with knowledge and skills for ensuring quality and consistency of outcomes. He described the initiatives from NSDC in training the trainers in domain and pedagogic skills and the launch of Takshashila portal for trainers and assessors and the vision for platform as hub for enabling a trainer ecosystem with features like Trainer-on-Demand. He also welcomed collaboration on learning from the successful Swiss Model implemented by SkillSonics for addressing skills deficit in trainers.
The Panel Discussion on The Quality Assurance Project – Background, Delivery and Outcome engaged the audience with ground level information and was highly interactive. Moderating the discussion, Mr. Prasenjit Kundu, incoming CEO of SkillSonics India, built the larger context for QAP by describing its impact on the training value chain and invited the panelists to share their views and experiences from the industry and training organization perspective. The panel discussion focused on how QAP is an exemplary model of adapting the Swiss best practices, the need for a VET trainer ecosystem and adequate compensation for trainers.
Mr. G. P. Chandra Kumar – Founder and CEO, SkillSonics India Pvt Ltd narrated the story of QAP and the pilot project that began with the sole objective of improving the quality of VET instructors since they were not up to the industrial requirements. He also shared the significance of the project in the context of ‘Make in India’ which has quality as a key as a prerequisite for exporting anywhere in the world. Hence, QAP became a foundation to create good trainers, master trainers, assessors and managers of training centers thereby multiplying quality at various levels. By highlighting the fact that SkillSonics has adapted the Swiss Model of TOT to suit Indian requirements, he said that it is imperative to cater to all levels of the skill pyramid by offering courses that balance the theoretical and practical aspects of training through pedagogic and pragmatic elements.
Mr. Kamesh Sundaram – Principal, Training and Development, Texmo Industries, brought in the customer’s perspective by informing the audience about how the pilot project with 50 students (post 10th standard) conducted at Texmo showed incredible results from the start. Texmo expects to significantly enhance its productivity and competitiveness by engaging in high quality training. He discussed the benefits of the Swiss Model that demonstrates a holistic improvement in the production process and empowers the trainees who are mostly from underprivileged background.
Mr. Arthur Glattli – Head of Training Department, Swissmem Academy, discussed how the Swiss Model has been successful in training people at the shop floor in managing machinery and tools through industry-relevant curriculum. Since SkillSonics has been pioneering this model, Mr Glattli stated that the industry could assure quality and efficiency of their inhouse training systems and skill people as per their needs and that, like in Switzerland, this can positively impact the huge Indian market for VET. He stressed Swissmem’s ongoing support of SkillSonics as its key knowledge and cooperation partner.
Expressing his views on the quality aspects of skilling, Mr. Praveen Roy – Former CEO, Toursim and Hospitality Sector Skill Council and Advisor – Skills, CII, applauded the Swiss Model and its scope for further adoption in many industry sectors.
The views of the panelists instantly resonated with the audience and there were queries, suggestions and interesting exchange of ideas. Mr. Ravi Uppal, Advisory Board Member, SkillSonics, added to the discussion by stating that India needs to adapt to the fast changing economy and technology with new methods and tools to reskill so that the workforce does not become obsolete. Mr. Sougata Roy Choudhury, Director, CII, shared his points about the industry collaboration in TOT and Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, spoke about how industry-academic partnerships are gaining prominence through internships and faculty enrichment programs. Addressing a concern about the supporting women in industrial set-up Mr. Sunil Chaturvedi, CEO, ASDC described how automotive sector has been encouraging women and creating inclusive workspaces with gender sensitivity.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Franz Probst, Founder and Chairman, Skillsonics India Pvt Ltd, expressed his gratitude to all the guests, particularly Messrs Ramadorai and Dilip Chenoy, who were instrumental in bringing Swiss Model of VET in India. Sharing his long association with India, Mr Probst ascertained that issues like skill deficit and fight for talent alongside lack of social recognition for skills is a global issue and how India and Switzerland can partner to improve the vocational landscape with quality and international standards. He described how SkillSonics has been able to provide Swiss quality at affordable price and that it plans to expand and explore more industry sectors.
The program was anchored by Dr. Madhuri Dubey, Founder, National Skills Network – NSN.