Workers will now have a chance to explore employment opportunities in a number of countries, including in West Asia and Japan, as part of the government’s skill development programme.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is working on establishing India International Skill Centres (IISC) to help those looking for jobs overseas get skills training.

“We are experimenting with the concept and it is at an early stage,” said Jayant Krishna, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, NSDC. “We have started the IISCs, which will train the youth so that when they go abroad, they already have a skill.”

At present, most migrant workers who go abroad lead a difficult life initially, he pointed out. “For example, if an unskilled person goes to the Middle East and wants to become a driver, for the first few months or a couple of years, he works as a cleaner and learns in his free time,” he noted.

The scheme is being run along with the Ministry of External Affairs, which provides a pre-departure orientation training on language, culture and processes.

In an interview to BusinessLine , Krishna said that 82 transnational job roles between the UK and India have been launched. Of these, eight job roles in eight sectors are now functional: these include retail sales associate (retail) and general housekeeper and F&B service steward (tourism and hospitality), domestic workers, capital goods, general duty assistant (healthcare) , general mason (construction), commercial vehicle operator, welder and unarmed security guard (security).

“The reason we chose the UK is that it has a similar structure of sector skill councils and also a lot of British Occupational Standards are valid in the Middle East, where the bulk of the migration happens. Many school dropouts go to the Gulf countries,” Krishna said, adding that the training programme prepares workers to work in any country of their choice.

Pact with Japan

Meanwhile, the NSDC is also working on a programme to send youth to Japan, where they will be trained and will work for 3-5 years.

This is part of the Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan on the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP).

The NSDC has already done a reques for proposal (RFP) to identify organisations and may also provide initial training in Japanese language to candidates before they leave.

“The candidates will be trained in the newest technologies and live and earn in Japan for three to five years. The candidate will then have the choice to come back or to continue to work there,” Krishna said.

About 3 lakh candidates will be sent to Japan under the programme over a five-year period. “The focus of this programme is more on micro, small and medium enterprises, although youth will be sent for different job roles as well,” he said.

As part of the Skill India Mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for long spoken of sending India’s surplus workforce abroad where skilled labour is required.