In the UK, a 10 per cent increase in professional and technical skills over the next 10 years can mean an increase in GDP by £163 billion by 2025.
Across the world, VET (vocational education and training) is considered to be second to academics. However, a report by the City & Guilds Group, a global skills development organisation, suggests that vocational training and skilled workforce can actually enhance the economy of a country.
For instance, in the UK, a 10 per cent increase in professional and technical skills over the next 10 years can mean an increase in GDP by £163 billion by 2025. Both in the US and the UK, a 10 percentage point increase in the number of 16–18 year olds enrolled in vocational education could lead to a 1.5 percentage point reduction in youth unemployment.
What is required is a change in perception and the realisation that it will benefit societies, employers and individuals on a global scale.
India, in fact, is still to catch up on this front. In the UK, 68 per cent of the workforce has undergone skills training and in comparison, only 2.3 per cent of the current Indian workforce has done so.
Any increasing investment in VET could see significant returns for India’s economy. India is in a strong position to provide skilled labour where the rest of the world is forecast to experience a skills shortage, thanks to its booming youth population.
As per reports, the US will experience a shortfall of 17 million skilled workers, while India will have a surplus of 47 million by 2022.
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, told the Upper House in a written reply that that there are over 70 skill development schemes across various sectors, implemented by over 20 Central Ministries/Departments to promote skilling across the country.
On Thursday, Dec 10, a UK delegation led by UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Jonson, met Shri Rudy to explore areas of collaboration between the two nations, to strengthen the skill ecosystem. Jonson expressed interest in supporting the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to create eight new Centres for Excellence over the next few years.
As per a Government release, the two ministers appreciated the collaboration between the two countries in the area of skill development and discussed the way forward to deepen the same under the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI III), which will begin in April 2016.
The UKIERI programme aims to deliver systemic changes in the educational and vocational training ecosystem, by focussing on capacity building and leadership development within these institutions.