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E-Portal Launched to Impart Skills and Generate Employment

Department of Science & Technology in coordination with UNDP has taken an initiative to impart skills in the new and innovative vocations leading to generate employment. GOI-UNDP project, called, ‘Skills and Knowledge for Improved Livelihoods and Living Standards’ (SKILLS) is being implemented for promoting new training curriculum and facilities in the emerging technology skills for the benefit of the unemployed youth. The SKILLS project was initiated in 2004-05. The implementing institutions are: Tiruchirappalli Regional Engineering College - Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (TREC-STEP), Trichy; Vivekananda Institute of Bio-technology, Nimpith; JSS Academy of Technical Education-Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (JSSATE-STEP), Noida; and Agnel Technical Education Complex, Goa

ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) are today recognized as very powerful enablers of knowledge dissemination. One of the important deliverables under the SKILLS project was to use the world wide web through a portal to provide a repository of information that can be accessed by all the stake holders of a vocational training eco-system. e-portal jointly launched by Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences and Kumari Selja, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation on the 18th of October 2007 has been developed under SKILLS project. JSSATE – Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park based at Noida has developed this portal as am implementing partner in this project.

Addressing the gathering, Shri Sibal called for development of partnerships between different Ministries, International Organisations and Private Industry to reach out to people. The Minister expressed hope that this initiative would empower and enhance employability and earning capacity of the people in rural areas. He also announced joint partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to take this initiative forward. Speaking on the occasion Kumari Selja expressed hope that the initiative would become a virtual employment exchange for the skilled workers.

At a time when there is a huge shortage of skilled manpower and industry sectors such as retail, construction, services etc., offering vast employment opportunities, it is increasingly becoming important to strengthen our training systems to enable young people to meet the challenges. While the formal sector initiatives such as the ITI’s and other vocational training systems offer long term certificate/degree based programmes, precious little is being done to equip those who are not able to access the limited formal initiatives. The huge demand-supply gap of specifically trained manpower can be addressed through short term training programmes that do not extend beyond 3-4 months. To ensure quality and relevance in such programmes, a proper curriculum, easy to read course material, relevant infrastructure and equipment, good trainers are four critical elements that need to be addressed by the training institutions.

The e-portal addresses the important aspect of being a repository of relevant information that can be accessible by both the trainer as well as the trainee. Today there are about 50 trades/vocations that are available on the portal and each trade carries with it lots of information like curriculum, course material, basic vocation related information and a step by step learning basket where the competency based curriculum can be browsed easily. These 50 trades would be increased to about 200 in the next few months. The portal also offers a first of its kind a virtual “Employment Exchange” that has been highly successful tool in the formal sector employment process.

In addition, several others value adds such as soft skills, entrepreneurship information, trade wise discussion forums and online evaluation are new features under development.

One of the key objective under the SKILLS project was also to try out a very bold initiative under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode for imparting skills. 10 PPP Centres (SKILL Academies) have been established under this project. Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park, National Institute of Technology, Trichy has established Skill Academies at Chennai (3 academies) and Bangalore (1 academy) in the area of Modern Appliances Maintenance. Agnel Technical Education Complex, Goa has established one each at Mapusa (North Goa) and Karwar (Karnataka) in the skill area of Food Production and Bakery. Vivekananda Institute of Biotechnology, Nimpith has established Vivekananda Center for SKILLS (VCS), in Public Private Partnership, at four locations in West Bengal (Patharpratima, Dt South 24 Parganas; Jiagunj – Murshidabad; Aamdanga, Dt. North 24 Parganas; and Raina II block, Dt. Burdwan.) for providing training to the farmers at the grass root level to upgrade and develop their skills and knowledge so that finally their productivity is increased.

These PPP Centres have state-of-the-art facilities for new employable skills training, initially in the area of Modern Appliances Maintenance, agricultural biotechnology and food and beverages sector. Constant mining of new skill areas for employment, innovative training pedagogy, state-of-the-art facilities, continuous improvement for excellence, micro-ventures incubation downstream, active involvement of industries etc., are the defining characteristics of these PPP Training centers. The training programmes are focused, effective and useful for the unemployed youth for getting gainful employment. Even an unemployed youth, who unfortunately could not complete his/her school education, can receive training in these areas and start his/her own micro enterprise and gain a successful career.

Source : Press Information Bureau
Date : October 18, 2007

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