Apprenticeship: Key To Unlocking Post Pandemic

Apprenticeship ensures that the unemployed youth gets the opportunity to be a part of an organisation, learn and showcase their skills to be able to gain a sustainable livelihood.

There was a time when apprenticeship as a domain was limited to certain craft skills, hard skills or other trades that required on-site training more than the theoretical knowledge on the subject. The modern job market, however, is structured in a way where skills are valued above all. With adequate skills and the experience to execute knowledge on the foreground, people can have a better chance of finding employment as well as being successful while they are employed.  

Skill training then forms the channel through which one can find ways to cope up with the challenges that the dynamic work environment presents before us today. Working as an apprentice provides the opportunity to experience the professional world before completely immersing into it. This can be traced as the reason why apprenticeship is spanning across all job roles, including Engineers, Designers, Stylists, Hair Dressers, BPO Operators, Managers, HR Executives and many more.  

India is on the route to becoming the youngest population in the world and that brings along the challenge of unemployment. Apprenticeship ensures that the unemployed youth gets the opportunity to be a part of an organisation, learn and showcase their skills to be able to gain a sustainable livelihood.  

Along with that, apprenticeship is as much of a boon for employers because it provides a window of training period before finalizing the employment, which ensures that the candidate is the perfect fit for that particular role. Moreover, there are many government schemes that are coming up in reference to an apprenticeship that can reap benefits for the organisation if it provides apprenticeship training. One such scheme is the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) by the Government of India that offers a reimbursement of 25% of prescribed stipend to a maximum of INR 1500/- per month per apprentice to all employers who engage apprentices*. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also extended its support to the scheme wherein it will continue to reimburse the stipend of 2,40,000 apprentices that are being benefitted by the scheme even during the lockdown period**.  

Since the COVID-19 crisis has already gotten organisations to rethink business development strategies, an apprenticeship can be seen as the key piece of the jigsaw puzzle of unlocking the business post the pandemic. There remains no doubt about the fact that the pandemic has caused a lot of disturbance in the regular functioning of many industries and post this phase, many organisations will be looking at cost-cutting measures to cope with the losses that have been incurred. One of the first cost-cutting measures is normally training. Apprenticeship can be an ideal replacement for training within the organization as the training cost for an apprenticeship can be claimed under NAPS where up to Rs 7500 per candidate will be reimbursed to the organization.  

There has also been a lot of displacement and the organisations will have to conduct fresh hiring. Since the scheme supports both having new people on board as well as reduced costs, apprenticeship should definitely be looked at as a model for hiring.  

The Government is also clearly banking on an apprenticeship as the policies have also been structured to systematically support the process. The law (apprenticeship rules) indicates that any company with over 30 employees needs to have apprentices on board. Even apart from compliance with the law, apprenticeship still remains beneficial for employers. It also helps in boosting productivity with the added workforce and the cost involved in the process, specifically in terms of the wages, remains comparatively lower than having the same number of permanent employees on board. Along with that, the Employee State Insurance (ESI) and the Provident Fund (PF) are also not mandatory for apprentices, which further benefits the organisations.  

The COVID-19 crisis has also made significant deductions in the jobs available in the market today and serving as an apprentice also makes up for a good way for aspirants to enter the industry and then climb up the ladder. The apprentices registered under NAPS also get a certificate from the Government that further strengthens their portfolio. 

With Graduate apprenticeship program getting popular, students who normally cannot get to study further after school due to financial constraints can easily earn and learn and get a diploma/ degree at the end of the program. 

Apprenticeship training then can be labelled as a supremely essential domain that can enable the advent of overall growth in the professional world. The great feature of apprenticeship is that it provides ground for the development of a skilled workforce without having to build separate infrastructure for the same along with supporting the process of production. It is clearly a win-win situation for students and the industry and is a path to be taken for sustainable growth in the formal employment sector. It can be used to regain what has been lost during the pandemic after the operations get back to normal and it definitely looks like the way ahead.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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