Feeling the dearth of skilled manpower to handle modern technology, the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) is pitching for diamond polishing and jewellery fabrication courses in state-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and other institutes associated with the industry.
With the upcoming Gems Park in Surat and diamontaires diversifying into jewellry fabrication, industry experts feel that in coming years, demand for trained people will only rise. They estimate that nearly one million trained workers would be required in in the next couple of years.
"The tradition of the Indian diamond industry is based on skills and we need workers who are trained. Today, every manufacturer knows that unless and until he adds value in his products, his profit margins will remain squeezed," SDA president Dinesh Navadia said.
"About 20 per cent of the workforce migrated during the slowdown in 2008, of which only 10 per cent are back. So there is already a deficit. Plus there is only one institute the Indian Diamond Institute (IDI) which provides training of using modern technology in diamond polishing," he said.
"We have made representations to the Gujarat government to include courses of diamond polishing and jewellery fabrication in ITIs. This will help us get better trained worker. A graduate who has no formal training would get only Rs 4000-5000 per month, whereas a trained person would get anywhere between Rs 10 to 15 thousand per month," Navadia said.
Former president of SDA Rohit Mehta said that there was a big gap in supply and demand of workers trained in modern technology of diamond polishing and jewellry fabrication. "We need at least two lakh trained workers every year, against which we are presently getting over 500 from the IDI. There is always a dearth of skilled workers in the diamond industry," he said.
"It is estimated that we require 10 lakh workers in jewellery fabrication units in the next couple of years. The GJEPC and other jewellery associations believe that full-time courses in jewellery should be introduced by universities. We need many more institutes like IDI to impart education and degree courses in the gem and jewellery field," regional chairman of Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), and president of the Gujarat Hira Bourse, Chandrakant Sanghvi said.
The Gems Park is expected to be operational by end of this year. More than 350 units would be accommodated in a 10 lakh square metres space at project cost of Rs 400 crore.
The park is expected to generate business of over Rs 35,000 crore.
"Surat is a place where 9 out 10 diamonds produced in the world are processed, however the value addition in terms of fabricating jewellery is done in Hong Kong, Italy, Bangkok, Japan, US. I don’t see why we can’t move in that direction of jewellery facbrication. for this we will require more manpower and qualified workers and for that we need to provide comprehensive courses in designing, marketing, and merchandising," diamontaire owner Praveen Nanavati said concurring with the present scenario.