Apprentices Act: Why it needs reforms

Since Covid-19 has set the precedence of remote working, apprentices should be allowed to undergo on-the-job training remotely for such roles.Since Covid-19 has set the priority of distant working, apprentices needs to be allowed to endure on-the-job coaching remotely for such roles.

By Sumit Kumar

India has a possible of 15 lakh apprentices primarily based on the participation charge of apprentices in developed economies, which is round 3-4%. But the Indian labour market has 0.1% apprenticeship engagement, with simply 25,000 employers out of 6.3 crore enterprises partaking with about 4 lakh apprentices—which suggests simply 16 apprentices being engaged with every employer. Although 70,000 employers are registered with the apprenticeship portal, solely 25,000 partaking speaks volumes in regards to the intent versus actuality.

A latest survey on apprenticeships revealed that about 48% of employers lack consciousness and understanding, and don’t see worth in apprenticeships. The advanced apprenticeship system, which has bifurcated jurisdiction, governance and execution tips, creates a mesh of confusion amongst employers, holding them away from adoption of apprenticeships. Other deterrents are lack of sources to rent apprentices, inaccessibility to the skilling pool underneath varied authorities initiatives and the scare of scrutiny from authorities.

Since 1961 when the Apprentices Act was written, it has gone by way of six amendments, the most recent in September 2019 when diploma apprenticeships have been launched. In the 2020 Budget speech the finance minister talked about that about 150 greater training establishments will execute diploma apprenticeships. But as per the UGC, diploma apprenticeships get executed within the type of BVoc, which has abysmal enrolment charge as per the upper training enrolment survey. In July 2020, the UGC got here up with much-needed related tips for diploma apprenticeships primarily based on credit score system and modularity underneath the New Education Policy 2020, which provides flexibility to the learner on account of modularity built-in and entails equal involvement of trade.

In 2021 Budget the minister introduced additional amendments to the Act. Employers search comfort in executing apprenticeship coaching each when it comes to administration and compliance. The want is extra obvious within the case of MSMEs. The function of the third-party aggregator (TPA) as launched within the 2014 modification needs to be prolonged underneath apprenticeship coaching underneath the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme for engineering and non-engineering college students together with designated and non-compulsory trades. A tripartite association needs to be allowed between the apprentice, the employer and the TPA to impart confidence and allay the anxieties of institutions in partaking extra apprentices and assembly their obligations underneath the Act.

Given the deal with apprenticeship-embedded diploma programmes underneath the NEP 2020, a college may be made the third celebration in such apprenticeship contracts, taking part in a job akin to the TPA to guard the curiosity of scholars engaged as apprentices. Such a tripartite association between the apprentice, the employer and the college will assist speed up adoption of degree-linked apprentices and cut back the hole between training and employability. Such an association is feasible underneath Section 8(2) of the Act learn with Rule 6(b). Apprentice guidelines already launched the definition of diploma apprenticeship in 2019 by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The guidelines additionally want to incorporate ‘university’ within the definition (Rule 2 of the Apprentices Act) because the entity that can execute this programme and spell out the function it will play in such execution. Covid-19 has set a brand new regular of working remotely.

During the lockdown, it was seen that organisations have been capable of preserve continuity in apprenticeship coaching remotely even for the on-the-job coaching portion by way of digital interventions for sure knowledge-based job roles particularly in IT/ITeS and BFSI sectors. Since Covid-19 has set the priority of distant working, apprentices needs to be allowed to endure on-the-job coaching remotely for such roles. Having a single jurisdiction for apprenticeships as an alternative of tussling between the Ministry of Education and the MSDE will assist.

Degree apprenticeships are the way forward for studying, be it at instructional establishments or on the office. The built-in strategy between academia, youth and employers solves the youth un-employability drawback by channelising youth in direction of formal employment by way of diploma apprenticeships; affordability drawback of high quality training by financing by way of incomes whereas studying; and the expertise disaster by empowering employers to create related expertise in-house by integrating company studying with greater training. Changes within the Act ought to take cognisance of those details to hasten up apprenticeship adoption.

The creator is vice-president, NETAP, TeamLease Skills University

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