‘German companies in State are contributing in skill development’

Shirish Shinde
Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It is the Modi government’s endeavour to hasten the pace of the country’s development by focusing on skill development. The Centre sees a huge potential in India’s young population, which is one of the largest youth populations in the world. Germany, which has one of the best vocational education and training systems in the world, has been a key partner of India in this area. Indo-German Chamber of Commerce Regional Director Frank Hoffmann underlines this potential and gives details about the partnership in an interview with Shirish Shinde.

It is the Modi government’s endeavour to hasten the pace of the country’s development by focusing on skill development. The Centre sees a huge potential in India’s young population, which is one of the largest youth populations in the world. Germany, which has one of the best vocational education and training systems in the world, has been a key partner of India in this area. Indo-German Chamber of Commerce Regional Director Frank Hoffmann underlines this potential and gives details about the partnership in an interview with Shirish Shinde.

Q: In the backdrop of India and Germany’s understanding at the government level, skill development is an important area for collaboration between the two countries. What are your views on this and what potential do you see in this area? 
I see great potential in this field for several reasons. The German system of Vocational Education and Training (VET) has proved to be well-tuned to meeting the requirements of the industry. The industry pays for most of the training but also decides on content and skill assessment. Unlike in most countries in the world (including India), the system is not monitored by bureaucrats but by self-governing organisations of the industry (notably the chambers of commerce and chambers of skilled crafts). There is a lot for other countries, including India to learn from this centuries-old system. India, on the other hand, is a young country. There is a great potential for young well-trained Indians to work in countries like Germany that have a shrinking working age population.
 
Q: Do you have any concrete project in this direction? 
We started with our activities in the 1990s when we opened the Indo-German Training Centre in Mumbai. Five years ago, we ventured into the field of quality assurance. Like chambers of commerce in Germany, we consult companies on the design of VET programmes as well as independent skill assessment.
 
Q: There are numerous Indo-German joint ventures in Maharashtra. Do you think they can be roped in in this regard? 
German companies in Maharashtra have already started contributing. Siemens, together with Tata Strive, is planning to train over 10,000 young people across the country. Volkswagen runs their own academy in Pune, where they train mechatronic technicians on the lines of German standards. Even smaller companies like Mubea, Schmersal or BPW Trailer Systems are actively contributing to training young people and secure a skilled labour force for their plants in 
Maharashtra.
 
Q: Do you think India has qualified human resource to implement programmes in skill development? 
India has done great work in building excellent institutions of higher education. That success has to be repeated in the field of primary and vocational education, if India is to become the skill bank of the world and create mass employment in the manufacturing and service sectors. It is a daunting challenge in the face of the huge number of young people that need training. Other countries, among them Germany, are offering to support the initiatives of the government with know-how. The government is wise to make good use of this support. The Modi government has taken a few steps in the right direction. For example, by setting up the Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and by making regulations more flexible.

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