Prop up by the government’s 2.3 lakh crore rupees policy push for self-reliant India, the domestic electronics manufacturing industry is expected to see 30 per cent growth in the next fiscal to be worth nearly 7 lakh crore. While the government continues to make efforts to move up in the global electronics supply chain and is expected to come up with new policies and incentive schemes for wearables and IT hardware, the ESSCI’s mission is to encourage more young people to study Electronics and to pursue careers in the sector. The electronics sector is big, valuable and growing; however, the demand for capable, employable graduates is currently outstripping the supply. Dr Abhilasha Gaur, Chief Operating Officer, ESSCI reasons out the need for the Skill India Programme. He talked about the nitty-gritty of Skill India—how the scheme accommodates the needs of the whole nation and how ESSCI contributes to the achievement of the skill India vision. Excerpt here:
- What was the objective of setting up the Electronics Sector Skills Council of India (ESSCI) and how far it has succeeded in its direction?
The objective of setting up ESSCI is to establish a structured mechanism wherein ESSCI will facilitate & collaborate with NSDC in strengthening the existing vocational education system for skills development in the electronics sector & upgrade the vocational training system for the industry to achieve global standards in manpower productivity.
In terms of the achievements of the above objective, ESSCI has so far skilled over 1.7 million candidates since its inception, in the Electronics sector and has over 80+ different Qualifications and corresponding Curriculum. The council currently has over 4000 training centres spread across 550+ district headquarters in PAN India, over 7000 trainers and over 3000 assessors.
- How do you view the current workforce and skill set in the electronics industry looking at the volatility and harsh and hazardous working environment pertaining to the industry?
There is a continuous technological disruption happening due to the electronics manufacturing skills gap globally resulting in an urgent need for electronic industries to not just attract the right talent but to nurture and keep them. The rapid evolution of technology is impacting the longevity and useability of hard skills across a wide range of industries including ones having harsh and hazardous working environments.
With the introduction of the New Education Policy (NEP 2020), there is a growing focus on the importance of collaboration between industry and the education system as the importance of formal qualifications is appearing to be shifting, with employers prioritising an individual’s potential to obtain new skills. As employers are looking for ways to plug the skills gap, the routes of entry into electronics are looking more promising and more flexible for those, who are hands-on with new skills.
- What are the steps taken by ESSCI to develop the future manpower ready to match the global practices?
Skill development in the country is witnessing significant reforms and newer policy interventions that are reinvigorating and re-energising the country’s workforce in preparing the youth for job and growth opportunities in India and abroad. At ESSCI we have established unique vocational programs to ensure the efficient delivery of vocational education.
We have rationalized/revised 160 Qualifications to 84 Qualifications through the industry recommendations. We are also revamping our Subject Matter Experts pool and bringing more and more Industry participation to develop the future manpower. Apart from the above we conduct market research regularly on newer technologies and develop new age qualifications/curriculums based on the recommendations keeping demand for various job roles in focus.
- With the rapid technology advancements and the advent of digitalization in the Electronics Industry, what are the steps taken by ESSCI to cope with the emerging trends?
Ans: The next five years are going to be extremely exciting as far as the electronics sector is concerned due to automation and digitalisation. The Council is in the process of reinventing itself and deeply studying the trends which are going to define the emerging electronics sector. The National Policy for Electronics 2019 specifically launched the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing. PLI for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain and aims to create many Jobs.
The jobs expected to be created would mostly be related to the factory manufacturing job roles for assembly line operators, PCB assembly, EMS operators, maintenance engineers and trained in robotics, automation, and Industry 4.0 related job roles. The council is developing job roles to target these emerging areas and is focussing on the new areas like Industry 4.0, Automation, Drone Manufacturing and Servicing and Semiconductor related job roles.
- Aging workforce and attracting the right talent are still challenges for the electronics industry. How does ESSCI plan to address these issues?
Ans: The challenges of industry demand for skilled manpower are successfully being met by ESSCI. The creation of a huge workforce which will fulfil the industry demand for a skilled workforce is underway and the council has a huge capacity to mobilise and skill manpower across the country. The ageing workforce can be efficiently and effectively replenished by the huge skill development effort being undertaken by the council across the country and the council is in a position to ensure the automatic replacement of aging workforce with a new, younger and more systematically skilled workforce.
- What are the future plans of ESSCI in terms of creating quality manpower and technical expertise for the entire electronics industry?
Ans: The ESSCI is striving to develop a future-ready workforce and ensure the skills imparted are as per the global electronics industry demand. The council is creating qualifications in new emerging areas like semiconductors and other emerging fields. The council is committed to ensuring the skilled manpower being created meets the industry requirements and is diligently assessing the needs of the industry before creating any new qualifications.