Key Stakeholders in India Discuss the Role of Private Sector in Skills Development for Fostering Inclusive Markets

Jul 29, 2015

Photo: UNDP India

UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) and UNDP India co-hosted the workshop entitled "Skills for Inclusive Markets in India: Leveraging the Role of the Private Sector" in partnership with FICCI and Government of India Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in New Delhi. The workshop highlighted the private sector's current and potential contributions to inclusive growth and human development through skilling, as well as the prominent business models and existing approaches in India.

In addition, professionals and experts from the Government of India, FICCI, NSDC and other esteemed organizations participated in discussions regarding strategy development in the skills business ecosystem towards enhanced results.

The participants addressed policy agendas set for overcoming challenges in skills development and employability, with a particular focus on how the private sector might support disadvantaged groups. They offered novel insights and perspectives on how the necessary framework of collaboration and cooperation among various public, private and civil society stakeholders could be established in skills development.

Speaking at the event, Pawan Agarwal, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India said, “Private sector engagement is in the DNA of the Skills Ministry of India.”

Commending India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Country Director said, “Inclusive growth will be possible when we ensure that the most disadvantaged communities are provided the skills necessary to expand the opportunities available to them. Involving the private sector in skill development will be crucial to its success.”

Dr. Didar Singh, Secretary-General of FICCI highlighted the need to integrate skill training at different levels in the skilling ecosystem: micro or cluster, nation and the global level.

First Panel: Leveraging Skills for Human Development and Green Growth

The discussions underlined the necessary skills development approaches to improve the results of trainings, especially in terms of employability for the disadvantaged.  Variant views were shared on how disadvantaged groups could be integrated into the market through skills development and the potential of skills towards building a greener economy. The role of partnerships for scale and impact in skilling was highlighted. Furthermore, gender mainstreaming in skills development was emphasized as a viable tool for facilitating the integration of women to the economy.

The discussion included Professor Santosh Mehrotra from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Aimthy Thoumoung, CEO of In Dev-Catalyzing Inclusive Development, and Professor R. Sudarshan, Dean of Jindal School of Government and Public Policy. The panel was moderated by Meera Shenoy, Founder of Youth4Jobs, who also presented her valuable knowledge and experience on tailoring skills development initiatives for the people with disabilities and for the base of the pyramid.

Professor Mehrotra underlined the importance of the industry participation, which can be achieved in four ways: “Trainer provision, curriculum design, internships and assessing competencies.”

Second Panel: Building an Inclusive Business Ecosystem on Skills Development in India

The panelists deliberated on the skills business ecosystem, and ways and strategies for increasing its inclusiveness and sustainability. Silky Raheja from NSDC, Sanjeev Duggal, CEO of Centum Learning, Arjun Uppal, Member of CII National Committee on Skill Development and A. Ramesh, CEO of Media & Entertainment Skill Council addressed the key challenges to private sector-led skilling; this includes sustainable sources of financing and quality assurance, and how these could be overcome through effective ecosystem level strategies.

Mr. Duggal stressed on the importance of understanding different segments of the market and developing the right business model. “We need to accord respectability to every vocationally skilled person we meet. Only then, skill can become respectable and aspirational.”

CSR funding was discussed as a potential way of making skills development more inclusive, elaborating on the desire of corporates to create measurable impact. The panelists noted that technology could help deliver employability skills to the low income, hard-to-reach segments of the society.

Mr Dilip Chenoy highlighted that “India has a national skills policy” and calls for international organizations to support other countries to develop their skills policies.

In addition, the need for all stakeholders, from trainees to the private sector, to acknowledge the “value” of skills was deemed instrumental for the viability of the skills business ecosystem. Gokhan Dikmener, Technical Specialist of UNDP IICPSD, moderated the panel, pointing out the role of NSDC as a keystone organization in creating the enabling environment for large-scale training providers and niche players to operate.

Case Sessions:

Two consecutive case sessions were held subsequently to present the preliminary findings from IICPSD’s research initiative in India on the linkages between private sector-led skilling and inclusive growth.  Private sector engagement in different stages of the skilling value-chain from sourcing and development of content to placement and post-placement is instrumental for success. Private sector’s capacity for innovation could particularly help in reaching out to the base of the pyramid for skilling.

Each academic presented the assessment of the model they are working on in terms of innovations, good practices and lessons learned, together with the respective case representative. In order to facilitate knowledge exchange and to further substantiate the discussions through bringing in an international perspective, Muammer Pasa, General Coordinator of Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Education Foundation, and Prof. Ibrahim Ak, Education Coordinator of Sutas, from Turkey explained their respective private sector-led skills development initiatives, highlighting the role of partnerships and private sector ownership. The full list of case initiatives that were presented are as follows:

  • BUTGEM, Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Education Foundation of Turkey (Muammer Pasa, General Coordinator)
  • National Skill Development Corporation (Silky Raheja, NSDC & Prof. Suku Bhaskaran)
  • IL&FS Skills Development Corporation (Pooja Gianchandani, Group Head, Policy & Communication, IL&FS & Gokhan Dikmener, UNDP-IICPSD)
  • Centum Work Skills India (Rajeev Tandon, Vice President, Centum & Prof. Sanjai Bhatt)
  • NIIT Yuva Jyoti (Rajneesh Kanotra, Head - Marketing & Products, NIIT & Dr. B. Chandrashekar)
  • India Can (Sachin Dubey, VP Government Business, IndiaCan & Deepti Wadhera)
  • Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (Pranav Kumar Choudhary, Director (Operations), DRF & Dr. Atul Pratap Singh)
  • Sutas Dairy Farming Education Centers of Turkey (Prof. Ibrahim Ak, Education Coordinator)
  • Youth for Jobs (Meera Shenoy, Founder  & Dr. Partha Saha)
  • Labour Net (Kirti Vardhana, Head,  Labour Net & Dr. Bindu Verghese)
  • GMRVF (Avanish Kumar, Sr. Programme Leader (GM) – Head for CSR, GMRVF  & Dr. J. Mary John)
  • B-ABLE (Sushil Ramola, MD & CEO, B-ABLE & Prof. Abha Singh)
  • AISECT (Abhishesk Pandit, Director, AISECT & Dr. Supreet Singh)
  • Empower Pragati (Ashutosh Singh, COO Empower Pragati, & Dr. Vidya Iyer)

The event concluded with a round table exercise to facilitate peer learning and advance the discussions to provide further inputs and ideas for IICPSD’s research initiative in India.

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