The current economic scenario, propelled by COVID-19, has left the job sector vulnerable. In India, millions have of salaried employees have lost their jobs, and counting. As for the unorganised sector, one can only make estimates of the number of people rendered jobless. For young graduates who are just joining the workforce, the situation seems dire. Due to lack of skill training, the prospects of them getting jobs is even more remote. Thus, training for sustainable livelihood is needed now more than ever before.
What the data says
A report by Wheebox, titled the India Skills Report 2021, finds that Delhi-NCR, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh have the highest pool of employable talent in the country.
About 45.9% of the youth were considered highly employable as per the study. Mumbai emerged as the city with the most highly employable resources, followed by Hyderabad.
However, the changing nature of work requires a transformation of skill set as well. According to the study, youth employability stood at 45.9%, significantly lower than 46.2% of the previous year. The skill gap is the most likely reason for this lowering of employability.
Another survey analysis by Wheebox found that knowledge of software and hardware is a growing demand in various industries—from travel and tourism, to energy and manufacturing. Without the proper skills and training, young graduates are finding it harder to find jobs, thus making them less employable.
Sustainable livelihood training: Need of the hour
People now are realising that it is not just sufficient to create jobs—it is equally important to have a skilled workforce that can take up the jobs which are created.
Organisations like Smile Foundation, through their Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) are aiming to do just that. Keeping in mind the availability of jobs in various sectors, Smile Foundation has been training young graduates and drop-outs to prepare them for sustainable livelihoods. In the pre-COVID era, the focus industries included retail , hospitality, etc. Apart from basic English, personality development, basic computers, and financial literacy, the students enrolled in STeP were given training to become employable in such sectors.
Since COVID, the focus industries have shifted. Due to the changing economic scenario, sectors such as digital marketing, e-logistics and e-commerce, and health care are upcoming. As a result, STeP students now train for these sectors and many have become gainfully employed in these sectors.
Proper skill training can ensure sustainable livelihoods as well as improve employability of youth.
In order to train youth to achieve sustainable livelihood, governments too have started interventions.
For instance, the Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University (DSEU) will set up centres near slum clusters in Delhi. These centres will help youngsters develop skills for better employability.
The aim of the programme is for urban disadvantaged youths to be trained under a sustainable livelihood programme. It is expected that the intervention will enable youth in low income or slum communities to make informed life choices and acquire necessary skills for employability. A similar project in Pune has facilitated employment of almost 5,500 youth.