The Central government is contemplating the introduction of undergraduate apprenticeship courses in the country to complement the traditional degrees in Commerce, Science and Humanities. The move is set to be a major shot in the arm for the country’s employment rate as well as for industries looking to hire trained apprentices.
“The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has agreed to introduce the undergraduate courses in apprenticeship after several rounds of high-level deliberations with the stakeholder ministries,” a senior government official was quoted as saying by a news agency.
“The HRD ministry will, as early as next month, invite institutes to start undergraduate degrees in apprenticeship,” the official said, adding, “Initially the programme will be voluntary before it is made mandatory in the later stages if needed.”
The official further said that the MHRD is working out on the details of the courses to be offered and how it could incentivise institutes to undertake these courses, including creating the desired infrastructure.
As per government data, about 82% of all apprentices are ITI pass-outs and 89% of them are in the manufacturing sector.
“The idea of introducing apprenticeship at the undergraduate level will ensure that there is a mix of apprentices for all sectors and their skill sets are up to the industry levels,” he added.
The Central government had on August 19, 2016, launched the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) with the objective of increasing the engagement of apprenticeship from 2.3 lakhs to 50 lakhs cumulatively by 2020.
An online portal (www.apprenticeship.gov.in) was also launched by the government to facilitate the processing of the apprenticeship cycle and for effective administration and monitoring of the scheme.
The portal provides end-to-end service for the employer from registration and mentioning vacancy to submitting claims, and for the apprentice from registration to receiving and accepting offer letters online.
According to government data, most countries around the world have implemented the apprenticeship model – Japan has over 10 million apprentices, Germany has 3 million apprentices and the US has 0.5 million apprentices, while India has only 0.3 million apprentices.
This number is relatively low in India considering the huge population and demography of the country with more than 300 million people in the age group of 18 -35 years.