India Inc calls for simplification of the Apprenticeship Act, states TeamLease.

India Inc calls for simplification of the Apprenticeship Act, states TeamLease.

Ahead of the monsoon session of the Parliament where the Apprenticeship Act is expected to be tabled, NETAP {National Employability through Apprenticeship Program], a flagship program from TeamLease Services, conducted a survey with employers to understand the bottlenecks in the current law that is impacting the apprenticeship eco-system and needs immediate attention. The survey conducted with close to 200 employers, nearly 100% of them mentioned that they are expecting reforms which will simplify the ecosystem. While 30% and 24% of the survey respondents recommended simplifying regulations and simplifying execution guidelines respectively, 24% wants flexible implementation. Additionally 20% respondents want apprenticeships to be brought under one jurisdiction.

Sharing his views Mr Sumit Kumar, Vice President-NETAP, TeamLease Skill University, said, “In India generating formal employment is the biggest concern. Apprenticeships have been very resourceful in this regard, on one side it has created a skilled talent pool for employers to hire from on the other side it has enabled candidates to move towards formal employment and enhance their livelihood. However apprenticeships can play a far more crucial role in employment generation and for this we need a more enabling apprenticeship ecosystem. Today the ease of doing apprenticeships is not as seamless as other nations like United Kingdom, United States, France, China etc. For India to reach its vision of 10 million degree apprentices in 10 years, it has to bring about a change in the laws. In fact, the same sentiment was echoed in our survey.”

The five essential immediate reforms which should be addressed during the monsoon session of the Parliament if India wants to reach its vision of 10 million degree apprentices in 10 years are:

ü  Faster implementation of the New Education Policy, which has paved the way for apprenticeship embedded degree programs

o   Simplifying execution guidelines for universities to offer degree apprenticeship programs, which will enable more universities to come forward

o   Allowing more universities to offer online degree apprenticeship linked programs

ü  Creating a tripartite arrangement between apprentices, employers and the universities for better adoption and execution of degree apprenticeships. Under the tripartite arrangement, the university can act as a facilitator both on the demand and the supply side, by playing a much larger role as an academia partner, an apprenticeship advisor and a TPA

ü  To further scale up apprenticeships, the scope of TPA should further be expanded to take up additional administrative responsibilities, to add bandwidth and to enable more MSMEs and similar enterprises to take up apprenticeships

ü  Reduce the regulatory complex in the ecosystem by bringing various apprenticeships, traineeships and other practical training, under one jurisdiction instead of multiple governing bodies

ü  Simplifying execution guidelines so many more organizations can come forward and engage with apprentices. Currently only 20000 enterprises in India engage with apprentices. Data from the 6th Economic Census (2013-14) indicates that if India added 20 lakhs apprentices every year instead of 2.5 lakh, 2 lakh people would already be in formal employment (considering 10% minimum absorption rate). Higher absorption rate would yield even better outcomes.

Apprenticeship adoption has improved over the past few years. From 5,657 registered establishments for apprenticeships in 2015-2016, today (as of January 2021) there are 1,20,000 registered establishments. While there is a significant increase in overall registrations, execution has not been at par with this increment. We still have a lot of untapped potential when it comes to apprenticeships. Given that apprenticeships today are an important part of the hiring strategy and they help organizations to optimize costs & improve productivity, reforms in the Apprenticeship Act will enable faster and better adoption of apprenticeships in India. Additionally apart from the reforms, introducing more benefits and subsidies for apprenticeships, under NAPS 2.0 will also be beneficial. In the current scheme, 25% subsidy is applicable on stipends and 50% on basic training but this one size fits all does not yield great results. Instead in NAPS 2.0, the need is to create a subsidy structure suitable to the segment/size of the organizations. With these reforms and changes, apprenticeships will become a major mechanism of formal employment generator in the country in the long run”, added Mr Kumar.