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Skill development for construction workers

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Jitendra Thakker, ChairmanConstruction industry has been one of the largest contributors to India’s GDP. Despite this, this rapidly growing industry faces a grave challenge of unskilled workforce. Jitendra Thakker, Chairman of the Committee for Skill Development at CREDAI briefs on the organization’s Skills Training Program for construction workers across the country in line with the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

The challenges construction sector faces in terms of manpower

Globally, the construction industry faces manpower problems but, in the developing countries these difficulties get compounded by the socio-economic stress, chronic resource shortages, institutional weaknesses and a general inability to deal with the key issues like, delay in projects leading to elevation in cost to the consumers, wastage of materials and time and low productivity and quality.

In the past two decades, we have seen a sea change in the type of material used and techniques adopted. Type of construction has also changed with more high rise buildings, sophisticated interiors and green and lean buildings. Furthermore, machineries at sites require training to operate and maintain as untrained and un-certified manpower can cause grievous harm. Cost effective means of training and certification of machine operators is the need of the hour. There is thus a requirement for continuous skill upgradation and knowledge transfer to workers.

Creating awareness and bringing together the various stakeholders.

The Indian education system today lacks providing skill based education to the youth. As compared to 96% in South Korea, 80% in Japan, 74% in Germany, 68% in the UK and 45% in China, only 4% of India’s work force is skilled. The urgent need for skilling is exacerbated by a mismatch in demand and supply for the skilled workforce. The penetration of vocational education and training remains poor not only in rural areas, but also in urban regions where there is a higher installed capacity to impart the same.

On one hand, changing the mindset of developers, contractor and labour contractors is important for increasing productivity and creating better livelihood for their employees, on the other, educating construction workers about the need and importance for skill development training is required. This is only possible through a sustained dialogue with the workers and contractors/sub-contractors.

PMKVY is the flagship outcome-based skill training scheme of the new Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The objective of this skill certification and reward scheme is to enable and mobilize a large number of Indian youth to take up outcome based skill training and become employable and earn their livelihood. There are two other major central government schemes under which skill development for construction workers can be undertaken besides the ongoing scheme under the Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T).

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