Technology and telecommunication companies on Wednesday said they will initiate different programmes as part of the Skill India Mission announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents major telecom operators including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, has announced an outreach programme to connect with 440 million young people for promoting the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme for which aims to skill 24 lakh youth across the country within a year.

Biggest hurdle

One of the biggest hurdles facing skills training in India is reaching out to the youth in the remote areas of the country. COAI’s outreach programme, aims to address this challenge. Initially, a pilot project in Bihar covered a subscriber base of over 2.2 crore people and the same is now being rolled out nationwide by the COAI core members to cover nearly 440 million subscribers with the launch of the PMKVY scheme.

To begin with, the telecom operators would send out SMSes and voice-based awareness messages to the targeted subscriber base, sharing a specific toll-free number (1800 102 6000) on which interested recipients give a missed call. Once a missed call is received, an SMS would be sent out in regional languages, informing the candidates that he or she would be receiving a call shortly. An interactive Voice Response (IVR) message that would ask for their location, employment status, age, gender and job preference would be pushed to the candidate to enable their inputs on their profile.

The data would be captured and reports shared in a pre-defined format for further targeting by training partners of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), so that each interested candidate can be mapped to the closest training centre. Following this, an invitation message with date, time and address of the nearest centre would be shared with candidates, followed by a reminder call and text message directing them to the nearest centre to enrol with the programme.

Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “The demographic make-up of the country indicates that almost 54 per cent of India’s population is below 25 years; and as much as 75 per cent of this population remained unemployable due to lack of requisite skills. The National Policy on Skill Development has set a target of skilling 500 million people by 2022. With targets so ambitious, the challenge of reaching out to the millions of young people for mobilising them to acquire professional skills needs to be overcome.”

Digital literacy project

Technology major Microsoft said that it will soon commence a large scale digital literacy project under the global Microsoft YouthSpark programme for marginalised communities, with a special focus on girls and young women. Our digital literacy, skill building and entrepreneurship programmes have touched 5 crore people in 20 States across India over the last decade.

“Continuing this commitment, we will soon commence a large scale digital literacy project under the global Microsoft YouthSpark programme. This programme will run across 70 YouthSpark-Project Jyoti centres and is expected to train more than 35,000 young people in the next 18 months,” said Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India.

Shrikant Shitole, Managing Director, India, Symantec, said the company has partnered with Nasscom to train 50,000 world-class, certified cyber security professionals, leading to employability, especially for the youth and women.

MN Vidyashankar, President, India Electronics and Semiconductor Association, said that with 120 million additional skilled workforce required in India by 2022, there needs to be a focused approach to achieve the nation’s workforce demand.

“As the government intends to empower India's youth with skills that meet industry need to promote entrepreneurship and enhance employment opportunities, IESA takes pride in its initiatives, in association with various universities and government agencies, to create talent, matching the industry needs, and provide a big boost to government’s ‘Make in India’ mission” he said.