Reimagining Employability for the 21st-century: 10 Million Apprentices in 10 Years

20 August 2022

This report offers a nuanced understanding of how Apprenticeships can improve employability outcomes for India’s labour market at an uncertain time when forces ranging from technology to pandemics keep changing the rules of the game.

There is a widening chasm between education, training, and employment in India. At the same time that India’s larger youth population offers the prospect of driving productivity, it also poses a formidable challenge. Providing quality education, training, and employment to this heterogenous youth cohort of 371 million is a demanding task – one that we have been failing at. This is compounded by forces such as technology, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, that are altering the job market faster than the capacity of education and training institutions to keep up.

This report – Reimagining Employability for the 21st-century: 10 Million Apprentices in 10 Years – is published by the JustJobs Network and TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship to examine what it means to be employable in India today.

The report starts by outlining the inventory of employability, after which it delves into the mismatches between education and skills on the one hand, and labour market demand on the other, which continues to be a major challenge for India. Providing an overview of The Apprentices Act, 1961 and subsequent reforms; the governance infrastructure for apprenticeships; and the stipend structures and online portals to administer them, this report exposes the obstacles to realizing the potential of apprenticeships for India.

Doubling the number of apprentices from 5,00,000 to 10,00,000 per year, setting an initial target of 10 million apprentices in ten years, is not just a desirable goal, but an achievable one. International experience with apprenticeships substantiates the fact that an apprentice’s entry into the world of work will be smoother than that of a non-apprentice. Yet despite the long-standing tradition of apprenticeship in India, apprenticeship programs have not gained traction. The report provides a detailed set of recommendations to leverage the potential of apprenticeships, beginning by the iterative goal of creating 10 million degree-linked apprentices in ten years.