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10 mn apprenticeships in 10 yrs: What India needs to solve its unemployment

TeamLease and JustJobs Network report notes that instead of around 125,000 apprentices, CPSUs have only 41,250 on board

unemployment | Unemployment in India | unemployment rate

Shiva Rajora  |  New Delhi 

The enigma of low unemployment rates
The report notes that an apprentice’s entry into work is smoother than that of a non-apprentice. It calls for degree-linked apprenticeships, so that employees have required certification for their skills

Doubling the number of apprenticeships from around 500,000 at present to 1 million per year will help address unemployment in the country, according to a report released by Services in association with JustJobs Network.

The report, titled “Reimagining Employability for the 21st-century - 10 Million Apprentices in 10 Years”, provides a road map for increasing the number of apprenticeships.

Need for apprenticeship

Speaking to Business Standard, Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive director, Services, said: “Despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, India still lags at 142nd position in terms of per-capita income. This is because a large part of India’s working population doesn’t have the suitable skills because they cannot invest in their reskilling. This is where apprenticeships will play an important role in skilling them, so that the gap between employers and the employees is bridged.”


The report notes that an apprentice’s entry into work is smoother than that of a non-apprentice. It calls for degree-linked apprenticeships, so that employees have required certification for their skills. It will allow them to learn online, on campus, on site and on the job.

"There is a growing chasm between education, training and employment in India. The incidence of formal training remains low, despite a plethora of govt. schemes and institutions providing training. Apprenticeships can help bridge these gaps, resulting in better outcomes for youth, but also good return on investment for employers by significantly reducing the cost of hiring”, added Sabina Dewan, president & executive director, JustJobs Network.

The report says that an employer-led training manual, streamlined governance architecture, apprentices’ welfare programmes, and change in pedagogy in universities will enable India to generate 10 million apprenticeships in the next 10 years, thus, solving the problem of unemployment in the country. For instance, Germany creates about 500,000 new apprenticeships every year in about 500 different occupations at a cost of €6.84 billion.


The report notes that out of 339 central public sector undertakings (CPSUs), only 150 engage apprentices. These CPSUs have around five million employees. According to the provisions of the Apprenticeship Act, 1961, 2.5 per cent of employees at firms with staff strength more than 30 must be apprentices. Hence, these CPSUs should engage a minimum of 125,000 apprentices, but have only 41,250 on board.

The report notes that this low intake is due to a lack of information coupled with cumbersome compliance requirements for private and public sector firms, complicated governance architecture of programmes, and a bias towards academic education over vocational training.
Untapped potential

The Sixth Economic Census estimates that there are approximately 2.6 million in the country with five or more workers. The report notes that if each establishment engages even one apprentice, the can generate over 2.5 million apprenticeships.

Concerns remain

The report also highlights concerns related to adequate protection for apprentices, and says there is evidence that some employers exploit apprentices as cheap labour, and don’t provide them the mandated training.

Moreover, the “apprentices from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds have less education, pursue occupations that demand manual skill, and are employed in informal employment, as the barriers to entry are lower than in formal work, even though productivity, wages, and opportunities for upward mobility in informal work are limited. So, the need is that they don’t get trapped in low paying apprenticeship work and get to upskill themselves,” added Chakraborty.

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First Published: Tue, August 23 2022. 17:21 IST