Apprenticeship training sees twenty-fold jump in five years

By admin Nov28,2023

India has witnessed a twentyfold jump in the past five years in the number of apprentices engaged in a year, catching up with top apprenticeship providing nations in the world, with the launch of DBT (direct benefit transfer) under apprenticeship scheme in 2022 and the multi-pronged approach by the government to make apprenticeship aspirational.

The number of apprentices in India surged to about 737,000 in 2022-23 from 35,516 in 2018-19 under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme of the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, showed government data.

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The number of apprentices engaged under the scheme stood at about 206,000 in 2019-20, 307,000 in 2020-21 and 567,000 in 2021-22, with the government aiming to train one million apprentices a year.

While Germany reported about 468,000 apprentices in 2022, Australia had about 241,000, the US had 600,000 apprentices, France had 837,000 and the UK had about 740,000 apprentices.

During the period, women apprentices in India registered a sevenfold increase to about 148,000 in 2022-23 from 22,427 in 2018-19, while the number of active establishments engaged in apprenticeship training went up to nearly 40,000 in 2022-23 from 6,755 in 2018-19.

It came on the back of big-ticket changes in the Apprenticeship Act, 1961, extensive on ground sensitisation drive undertaken by the government in collaboration with the industry to make apprenticeship aspirational and direct transfer of stipend benefits to the candidates, preventing leakages in the system.Under the Act, the government did away with criminal provisions, making it easier and attractive for employers or establishments to hire apprentices. Besides, it moved away from the system of reimbursing the establishments for apprenticeship training and started giving its share of stipends directly to the candidates.In April last year, it started direct benefit transfer of apprenticeship stipend to candidates as a pilot project and plans to scale it up to eventually cover all apprentices over the next few years.

“The massive changes in the Apprenticeship Act coupled with on-ground sensitisation drive has given a significant push to apprenticeship training in India,” Sougata Roy Choudhury of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said, adding smaller establishments have benefited from the scheme and candidates are earning while learning.

Despite the significant progress, India is way behind given its working population of more than 400 million, said Choudhary. “Even if we target 10% of our working population to be apprentices, it would be as high as four million apprentices a year,” he said.

Under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, the government reimburses 25% of the prescribed stipend, subject to a maximum of Rs 1,500 per month per apprentice, that all employers undertake by engaging apprentices.

As part of the sensitisation drive, the ministry periodically holds Pradhan Mantri National Apprenticeship Melas and Kaushal Mahotsav as well as industry cluster workshops to boost apprenticeship training.

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