Social mobility in a service-sector driven economy has shown up in a post-pandemic rise in demand for upskilling in electronics, information technology-enabled services, capital goods, healthcare, telecom, logistics and apparels.

Under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), apparel has the highest share (17.5 per cent) of enrolments now despite not figuring among the top 15 in the pre-Covid period. Similarly, electronics is now ranked second in terms of enrolments while healthcare has come up in the ranking to fourth and retail is fifth, according to the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) data. RPL is a programme under which individuals with prior learning experience or skills are assessed and certified. It majorly – not mandatorily – focuses on individuals engaged in the unorganised sectors.

According to Ved Mani Tiwari, Chief Operating Officer (Officiating CEO), NSDC, the skill set requirement points to a dynamic ecosystem wherein demand for training in job roles keep shifting according to circumstances and industry progression. “We cannot yet call it a clear trend. For that, we still have to wait and analyse demand for a longer period,” Tiwari told BusinessLine .

Sectors such as construction, power, capital goods and automotive are gaining preference among skill-seekers. This augurs well for the country as these areas are all related to infrastructure. “In terms of numbers, apparel (21 per cent), electronics (19 per cent) and IT-ITES (10 per cent) have seen maximum interest with others following closely behind,” said Tiwari.

The data also mentioned that the interest in job roles such as sewing machine operator, self-employed tailor, assistant electrician, has seen a spike after the easing up of Covid-19 cases. On the other hand, roles such as safai karamchari, general housekeeper, taxi driver have dropped out of preferences compared to October 2019 – March 2020 period.

State-wise demand

UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the States that have seen an uptick in terms of enrolment under the RPL.

“Assam is another example of a State driving awareness about skill training among the people. The State did not feature in the list of top 15 before the pandemic, but is now occupying sixth position in terms of enrolment,” said Tiwari.

On the other hand, Maharashtra has dropped a few places from second position in terms of enrolment as compared to the pre-pandemic era, as have Karnataka and Punjab.

Female participation

As far as the status of female participation in the skilling programmes in the pre- and post-Covid era is concerned it is almost the same.

“Under the Short-Term Training (STT), female participation stood at 51.07 per cent from January 2021 to October 2021, compared to 52.67 per cent from October 2019 to March 2020. Similarly, under RPL, the percentage increased to 38.8 per cent from 38.5 per cent in the same time. NSDC has been encouraging women to undergo training and contribute to making India the skill capital of the world,” he added.