Modi govt about to roll out a mega jobs programme for undergraduates

With unemployment emerging as a major concern ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, three ministries — human resource development, labour and skill development — are set to join hands to train undergraduates and generate jobs for them, starting in 2019.

The Modi government is preparing to roll out a mega ‘apprenticeship’ programme, specifically targeting students of humanities and other nontechnical courses across private and government-funded higher education institutes, to make them more employable and help them get jobs when they graduate.

A six- to 10-month apprenticeship and on-the-job training with prospective employers, backed with stipends, will be arranged for students in the final year of their degree programmes

While technical courses tend to have a better linkage with industry and offer faster employment avenues to graduates, this doesn’t always hold true for nontechnical degree holders. This segment constitutes a significantly high number of those without jobs because only a small percentage opts for post-graduation and further studies. Career counselling and relevant apprenticeship are envisaged as part of the plan to make them job-ready.

Central public sector units, sector skill  councils and big industry will be linked with the programme to ensure high-quality apprenticeship, basic training and on-the-job training to each student passing out of college.

Ministers and top officials of the three ministries held a meeting last week to decide on the contours of the programme, set to be jointly launched over the next few days.
Ministers and top officials of the three ministries held a meeting last week to decide on the contours of the programme, set to be jointly launched over the next few days.

The plan is to start implementation in 2019, targeting 1 million students in the 2019-20 academic session. The larger goal is to bring into effect a national ‘integrated apprenticeship programme’ to ‘improve the employability’ of over 8 million students passing out of degree programmes.

The Rs 10,000-crore corpus of the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, which has remained largely unused so far, will be unlocked to help fund the stipend-based apprenticeship. The government’s contribution to the stipend will be 25% of the stipend, up to Rs 1,500 per month, a person aware of the plan said.

There will be three key focus areas — adding apprenticeship-based, end-of-degree programmes and linking them with higher education institutes, restructuring the bachelor’s in vocational courses programme to add the apprenticeship module and integrating all higher education institutes with the National Career Service portal.

The portal will be linked with the website of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to create a seamless dashboard displaying student qualifications, eligibility, their apprenticeship and employment status and a waitlist that is updated when the graduates find employment.
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