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A young Indian man works in a shop.

Apprenticeships Are Key to Helping Young People in India Be Job-Ready

Prachi Windlass

Ashwani, a second-year student at a Haryana government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) worked for one year as a computer operator apprentice at Chanderpur Works — one of Yamuna Nagar’s largest engineering manufacturing establishments — before he was offered a permanent position there. He is one of the many apprentices in Haryana who have started their careers as apprentices after completing a vocational training course from one of the many ITIs in the state. While not every apprentice is as lucky as Ashwani to be hired after their apprenticeship, they all complete the program with more skills and are better equipped to work because of the hands-on experience they receive as part of the program.

The idea of an apprenticeship is not a new concept in India. The Apprentices Act in 1961 made it mandatory for every organization in India with 30 or more employees to hire 2.5-15% apprentices as part of its workforce. Further, the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) reimburses companies up to INR 1500 of their monthly stipends. And yet, India only produces 0.3 million apprentices a year, which is significantly less than other countries — such as Japan (10 million) or Germany (3 million) — that have been successful in implementing apprenticeship programs.  India’s numbers are particularly low, considering the huge population and demography of more than 300 million people in the age group of 18 to 35.

In 2016, Haryana took action to grow apprenticeships by launching Saksham Saathi: a state-wide industry partnership to drive apprentice recruitment in the state. We worked closely with the Haryana government and Samagra, a governance consulting firm, to create a detailed plan including awareness programs and an extensive industry outreach. As a result of these efforts, Haryana became the first Indian state to achieve an apprenticeship placement rate of 233 apprentices/lakh population by 2018, which is the highest in the country. Once they achieved this scale, it was imperative to document what worked so others in India could have the chance to replicate it. You can read the report about our study and findings here.

 In the study, 2,000 apprentices were assessed across over 58 organizations in Haryana. Overall, there was 25-35% improvement observed in English language, analytical ability, and computer programming among the candidates once they completed their apprenticeships. In addition, workplace behavior of candidates improved on average by 40%, which was measured by increased interactions and supervisory support that seemed to have a significant impact on the performance of apprentices.

Apprenticeship is a viable pathway to employment

All in all, the study validates that the work done in Haryana did indeed improve the pipeline of job-ready candidates, creating pathways out of poverty for more people. While the results aren’t surprising — it almost goes without saying that mentorship and training are useful tools — they are compelling. It is our hope that industry leaders within other states in India will read this report and be inspired to invest time and resources into apprenticeships.

Apprenticship Report

See the results from Haryana's state-wide industry partnership to drive apprentice recruitment.

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