ASDM initiatives aimed at accelerating Youth Skills

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The Assam Skill Development Mission (ASDM) was established in 2015 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and operates under the newly established Skill, Employment & Entrepreneurship Department (SEED) of the Assam government. With the goal of skilling 1.50 lakh youngsters in a year, the Mission began operations in January 2017 as the main organization for all skill programmes in the state. It intends to build a long-term skill ecosystem for the convergence of high-quality skills training and to support young entrepreneurs in many sectors.

ASDM strives to train the youth of Assam in order to provide them with wage or self-employment possibilities that would result in higher incomes, better working conditions, and/or the opportunity to shift from informal to formal employment. Such skills shall be given by institutions/agencies, referred to as “Training Providers” (TPs), in accordance with the principles set out herein. The Assam Skill Development Mission’s Cost and Process Norms will regulate the payment terms and schedule.

The state-funded scheme seeks to create demand-driven and industry-relevant skills through empanelled Training Providers in accordance with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). Skills training is being provided in industries that have been recognized as high-opportunity for Assam. 

In an interview with Varnali Deka, MD, ASDM, she said that the mission is to strengthen the abilities of the unemployed and providing them with excellent training that would lead to meaningful employment.

The primary goal of ASDM is to improve Assam’s global competitiveness, develop demand-driven, standardized, dynamic, and integrated technical and vocational training to systematize the state’s skill development initiatives and provide an environment for connection to employment. It focuses on assisting in the advancement of vocational training and skill development standards to produce competent personnel to meet the needs of diverse industries and organizations throughout the state, addressing the skills gap and unemployment concerns that have arisen as a result of the current delivery system, transferring skills across industries through training based on a consistent, long-term structure, developing Assamese youth as leaders for the country’s economic and industrial growth, as well as to play a creative role in humanitarian assistance, she further added.

As far as new initiatives are undertaken by ASDM are concerned, it has launched the State-Sponsored Placement Linked Skill Development Training Program, which is oriented largely towards placement in addition to training and employability. ASDM appoints Training Partners after a review of their credentials and proposal. A sanction order is given to the training partners with the goal of training applicants inappropriate trades thereby enhancing the pool of employable youth.

In the first tranche, the scheme’s cost and procedure criteria were announced, and a total of 314 Training partners were approved.

The ASDM presently has 1061 training centers across the state to carry out skill development operations. Around 113000 applicants have been trained, 92270 assessed, 82741 certified, 61870 provisionally placed, and have provided 179 job roles across 35 sectors.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is one of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship’s flagship programmes, which was introduced under the ‘Skill India’ plan. Assam Skill Development Mission is in charge of implementing the programme in Assam. The goal of this programme is to provide youngsters with opportunities to participate in different industry-relevant skill training programmes that will help them earn a stable income. Individuals having prior learning experience or abilities will be evaluated and certified as part of the Recognition of Prior Learning programme (RPL).

The Central Sponsored State Managed (CSSM) plan of PMKVY 2.0 aims to train 33,182 applicants. 

In Assam, there are 39 TPs and 99 Training Centers under PMKVY.

Under PMKVY, ASDM is in the process of empanelling new Training Partners. The short-term training provided by PMKVY seeks to provide skill training to youngsters who have dropped out of school or are unemployed. Soft Skills and Information Technology training are offered in accordance with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).

Individuals having past learning experiences will be evaluated and certified as part of the Recognition of Prior Learning component. RPL seeks to match experienced persons with the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) and provide them with a certificate.

The Special Projects component of PMKVY aims to provide a platform that will allow for training in specific fields or on the premises of government or industry organizations, among other things. Special Projects additionally attempts to provide training in occupational roles that aren’t covered by the Qualification Packs (QPs)/National Occupational Standards that are already accessible (NOSS).

PMKVY has established a clear mobilization plan for Kaushal and Rozgar Mela in order to encourage active community engagement, which is critical to the program’s success.

The MD, ASDM, Varnali Deka said that ASDM is in the process of providing skilling to recovering drug addicts in sync with the Nasha Mukt Bharat Programme aimed at the employability of such recovering addicts in various trades along with life skills, stress management training, and handholding that will enable and empower them to lead a sustainable life.

The MD, ASDM mentioned the vision of Hon’ble CM, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding providing training to the state’s youth as drivers, creating a pool of employable drivers. 

The MD, ASDM, Varnali Deka also said that Assam’s government is dedicated to creating a long-term skill ecosystem in which the workforce is equipped with marketable skills and contributes to the state’s economic progress. In order to make skilling and vocational education both demand-driven and inspirational, ASDM has researched skill gaps. The study also considers the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic both as the best and worst-case scenarios. As per the study, there is a demand for more IT-enabled solutions in the healthcare sector due to the COVID-19 scenario. Based on the targeted demand pools supply is made. 

The MD, Smt. Varnali Deka also spoke about the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) initiative of the mission. Under RPL (Recognition to Prior Learning) Individuals with prior learning experience or skills are urged to participate in the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme, which will assist them to integrate into the mainstream workforce and advance their careers. Young people who are currently employed (self-employed or salaried) but do not have any official certification can take advantage of RPL. 

Through RPL, ASDM will focus on industries such as Tea, Healthcare, Agriculture, Construction, Automotive, and so forth. 

Various artisans and handloom workers have developed their training under RPL to gear up their skills and it also helped them sell their products and grow their indigenous business. ASDM has signed an agreement with Sector Skill Councils of NSDC to provide the youths with certificates oriented to the needs of the youth. 

ASDM also makes sure to keep a track of the people who are employed to keep a check on them in whichever field they are working, after the training is completed to make sure they are on the right path to keep the transparency in work, she said.

Recently, ASDM is in the process of Setting up an SOP to make sure the system stays transparent with the work and various projects that are incorporated into the trading partners. The SOP will enable ASDM to enhance accountability and address common concerns in regard to training partners and training centers.

When asked about the socio-economic impact on the State and its citizens, the MD, ASDM, Varnali Deka said that their contribution to society is by providing employment opportunities and generating the overall revenue for the economy. She said that ASDM has been providing a pool of employable youth and greater employment opportunities leading to a better standard of living and providing an impetus to the overall growth and development process.

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