Electricity is a source of energy, which has the capacity to change the world. Power (Electricity) is and will be a part of our lives for as long as the mind can imagine. A city dweller will have to take extreme efforts to disconnect with Power, even momentarily. Even a villager cannot think of surviving without Power, such intimate is our present relationship with Power.
It is a fact that India is one of the biggest economies in the world. The Government’s “Make in India” initiative, will lead to a huge spurt in industrialization, as a consequence of which, demand for power will increase. The rural electrification projects under the Government’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY) and PM’s Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya Scheme) to electrify over 3.89 crore households, and increasing per capita energy consumption will further add to the demand for Power. According to the National Electricity Plan, by the year 2026-2027, there will be the demand for 2047 billion units of electricity in the country.
Skill Gap in Power Sector :
Due to the high demand for electric energy, the demand of skilled and trained people in this area will increase. It is estimated that the Power Sector will need an additional 16.6 lakh skilled manpower by 2025. Meeting this demand for additional skilled manpower in the entire chain of Power Sector and downstream value-added services will be a challenge for the sector. This situation is unfolding right now as we discuss, not in some distant future.
The irony is that despite Demographic dividend in our favor, the Power Sector is not able to take advantage. The Demographic Dividend occurs when the proportion of working people in the total population is high, which indicates that people have more potential to be productive and contribute to the growth of the economy. This is happening because the power sector faces an enormous shortage of workers with requisite competencies. With digitalization driving across the value chain, skill development becomes imperative for the entire sector and all the more so in the distribution segment.
Distribution companies need to undertake measures like smart metering, smart grid technology, switching to renewable sources of energy, adoption of Blockchain in managing distributed energy resources and Artificial Intelligence. All of this calls for upscaling of existing workforce and preparing future power sector professionals to make strong impacts.
The need of the hour is to have well-established training institutions to train and fill the scarcity of astute power sector professionals. Considering this, Power Sector Skill Council (PSSC) has engaged capable training partners who are providing meaningful training to the workforce.
Role of PSSC:
Power Sector Skill Council has been set up with the objective of facilitating the skill development activities including capacity building for training delivery to meet the needs of the Power Industry, that consist of Conventional Power Sector (Generation, Transmission and Distribution), Renewable Energy and Power Equipment Manufacturing Sector. Objective of the Council is to bring in uniformity and standardization of various skill types/job roles through the development of National Occupational Standards (NOS), laying emphasis on building competency/outcome related occupational standards rather than designation driven job descriptions.
Pursuing an ambitious target to skill, train and certify over 60,000 workforces for Power Industry over next decade, PSSC has developed National Occupational Standards/Qualification Packs (NOS/QPs) representing major job roles in Power Distribution, Generation and Transmission area, while the larger numbers of NOS/QPs are in the process of being developed.
Current availability and future needs :
At present, the total manpower employed in the sector across the generation, transmission and distribution segments is around 1.2 million technical and 0.37 million non-technical workers. According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the total manpower requirement across diverse activities such as operations and maintenance, engineering, procurement and construction, and project construction, as well as downstream activities such as street lighting and domestic solutions will be around 16.6 lakh by 2022.
At pan-India level, multiple training agencies are involved in skill training. One of the most important programs underway at present is the Skill India Initiative launched by the government in 2015. The government has also created a dedicated Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The National Skill Development Agency and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) have also been created with the objective of coordinating and guiding all central government ministries involved in skill development initiatives.
One of the key initiatives taken by the PSSC is the development of Qualification Packs/National Occupational Standards (QPs/NOSs) with reference to key job functions in the sector that have high employment potential. These QPs/NOSs extensively map the job deliverables and performance criteria for job holders along with the skill sets, competencies and specific knowledge inputs required. The PSSC has so far developed QPs/NOSs with regard to 34 major job functions across the power generation, transmission, distribution, renewable energy and downstream activities, covering nearly 80 per cent of entry-level employees. These are widely accepted by the industry as they represent uniform/standard occupation and skilling standards. Further, the PSSC has developed high-quality learning content along with trainers’ guides, assessment and certification tools, etc. These are subsequently rolled out in partnership with training providers.
Going forward, the PSSC plans to align its QPs/NOSs to global standards with a view to facilitate customized training and targeted job placements abroad. Moreover, it will cover downstream activities, where the requirements are huge.
The liberalization of the power sector in India has paved the way for new career opportunities for the skilled young. There are many big names that have registered their strong presence in the sector. Moreover, in addition to power generation, now private players are extending financial and technical assistance to the government in erecting power plants and other facilities, financing the ultra-mega power projects, involved in power trading, evolving clean energy development mechanism, supplying the power and managing the energy resources etc. Thus, it goes without saying that huge job potential exists in the rapidly growing private sector for skilled person.