There are 1.2 billion people in the world trapped in poverty1, and surviving on less than 1$ a day, and roughly a third of them live in India. For many of these individuals, access to skill development and hence subsequently gainful employment is one of the primary drivers that can change their lives. With the mission to ‘Create Sustainable Livelihoods at Scale’, the Development Alternatives Group believes that real change in communities can result from working with the unemployed youth and women. With this belief, it has developed and stabilised a unique operating structure of several levels of skill development centres which ensure that in Central India, access to affordable and relevant skilling is right at the community’s doorstep.
The skill development sector has been expanding rapidly in India due to lot of impetus by the government run programmes as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds deployed by the corporate sector. With its demographic dividend’s strategic advantage, India is home to the youngest population globally. There is a huge market demand from both the unemployed youth as well as employers and there are several new business models being explored in various parts of India.
While skill development centres are mushrooming everywhere, either stand alone or under the aegis of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), there are 2 major growth drivers for this sector that have the potential to become game changers. MCommerce and Training of Trainers are areas which can exponentially improve the impact of the skill development initiatives. While laptops and computers remain costly and require training to even operate one, mobiles are cheaper and are readily available with rural youth. Mobile penetration in India is at an all-time high. India’s fastest growing area of new internet users are coming out of rural areas or Tier 2 or 3 cities, and they are using their mobiles to access the internet.
At the same time, finding quality trainers who are aware of appropriate pedagogy, skill gaps, NSDC norms etc. has emerged as a challenge area. The quality of trainees and the absorption of skill sets by them is directly proportional to the quality of trainers in a skill development centre.
While mCommerce has the potential to take skill development to the masses in an affordable and fast manner, the existing skill development centres require highly trained and certified trainers, which are difficult to find. There is an immediate need and lot of potential in the new business models that can leverage on these two missing gaps.
The views expressed in the article are those of the author’s and not necessarily those of Development Alternatives.