Message from the President: Strengthening the Skill Ecosystem: What Training Providers can do?

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Rajiv Sharma Empower Pragati

Rajiv Sharma, President, ASTP

Enough has been said about salvaging the demographic dividend of the country. What needs to be acknowledged is that mere governmental interventions are not sufficient to make the industry sustainable. All stakeholders have to initiate and collaborate on all fronts, to reap the benefits of the manpower that India produces. Any industry worldwide is considered successful when it is “demand-driven”. Skill sector of India should be driven by the demands that the service and manufacturing industry raises while taking youth aspirations into account. No industry can grow and flourish solely by government’s efforts. The implementers play a crucial role as well. In this backdrop, ASTP provides a platform for stakeholder engagement and partnerships to collectively learn, support and grow the ecosystem. Several steps can be taken to do so, some are listed below.

  1. Leverage our strength of training delivery

An alliance such as ASTP, gives a forum to the universe of Training Providers, where, we not only scrutinize existing policies but make thoughtful use of each other’s learnings and experience. By virtue of having a thought leadership, we have created a knowledge pool where all members have debated about ways in which skill industry can maximise its business and make our individual ventures more successful. Such deliberations will, in turn, benefit the entire ecosystem. Our latest focus is to develop training products whose selling point would be guaranteed employment and students would not mind paying for the same. This is a sure-shot way to make the industry demand-driven from both the employers and the students. Each of our member adds value to this initiative by coming with course-expertise, region-specific experience, demographic understanding and financial acumen. Together, this combination is bound to give expected results. By running huge government funded projects, we all have learnt the nuances of this industry and now is the time to leverage our strength of implementing skilling courses.

  1. Aggregation of demands

ASTP has been envisaged as a research body and one-of-a- kind industry specific think tank which will not only aggregate demands arising from the employers, recruiters and the youth but also create modules and models of training delivery. By aggregating such multi-dimensional demands, newer skilling opportunities can be created which students will proactively look out for. By making the industry demand-driven, we will also be able to achieve higher dignity of labour since such courses will gain popularity and youth will themselves be encouraged to enrol and secure a job. The target audience for skilling opportunities is not just the underprivileged and dropout population of the country but all those people who wish to make a career out of non-academic or non-professional courses. Such a population in our country is huge. All those students who score less than 70% in their senior school examination are forced to enrol into courses which will not yield them a job. To those students, quality vocational programmes can provide a viable option to make a respectable career. Mindsets will change and education will be approached with a transformed understanding.

  1. Collaborate in a highly competitive market

Most of the popular management theories suggest that all industries, at their initial juncture, require collaboration of efforts to finally be successful in economic and business terms. While competition is part of the game, collaboration brings in healthy and progressive growth. Training Providers need to realise their industry’s strength in totality and engage in participative forums such as ASTP. Energies have to be aligned to make the skill ecospace sustainable and less and less dependent on government business. We all have created our organisations by implementing government projects and have come a long way in understanding its advantages and disadvantages. Government can only support; intention of healthy growth has to come from TPs and all other stakeholders.

ASTP’s Vision 2020 incorporates these values and captures our plans for the growth of the alliance and simultaneously for the skill ecosystem. Together, members can create visibility by publishing success stories and develop positive PR. This will help build credibility within the sector and in the media. The alliance is progressing towards building a powerful and coherent skill ecosystem by including all stakeholders such as Sector Skill Councils, Content Creators, Assessment Agencies, and placement organisations among others. For continual and healthy growth, we are driven by ethical advocacy, high quality professional practices in training delivery, assessments or payment modalities. Gradually, impact of this drive and our efforts are bound to be visible. With that envisaged in our minds, I would like to congratulate our members for walking hand in hand and sharing a mind space to focus on the larger common good for sustainability of the ecosystem.

Rajiv Sharma,

President, ASTP and MD & Founder, Empower Pragati

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