To coincide with the Paris Air Show, the world’s oldest and largest air show, the Europe India Foundation for Excellence (EIFE) has tied up with the Embassy of India, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the leading defence and aerospace industry players of Europe to organise a session on boosting skill development for defence and aeronautics business.
The Indian government has clearly put the focus on improving India’s capabilities as a defence manufacturing nation and has launched several key initiatives including the Make in India programme with a focus on defence manufacturing as well as dramatically easing the regulations governing foreign direct investment in defence and development of joint ventures between foreign defence manufacturers and the Indian industry.
In keeping with the massive requirements of the defence equipment in India, the country is also looking to dramatically up its capabilities in terms of training and skilling. According to most analysts, defence and aviation sector is likely to see a shortfall of over a million skilled manpower by 2020. It is keeping this shortfall in mind and with a clear programme to boost collaboration between European and Indian training institutes, as well as industry, that the Europe India Foundation for Excellence, a think tank and innovation incubator, has decided to leverage the world’s largest gathering of defence and aviation industry– the Paris Air Show – scheduled for June 19-23, 2017.
EIFE, along with the Indian government, manufacturers and training institutes will mount a dedicated workshop on ‘Make in India in Defence & Aeronautics: Mapping the Skills Ecosystem’. This workshop will look at the current situation of skills availability in India to accompany the Indian ambition of becoming a large defence production hub.
The workshop is part of the Skill India Week that the EIFE is mounting in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the NSDC, leading European training providers as well as officials from about eight Indian states and numerous private training providers. It will involve field trips in France, Germany and Switzerland to the best in class training providers in sectors ranging from construction, automotive engineering and renewable energy to hospitality, healthcare and tourism.
EIFE is headquartered in Brussels, with offices in France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and also in six cities across India. Three years ago, the EIFE launched its flagship project ‘The EU-India Skill Development Partnership Platform’, with the objective of building a unique platform integrating stakeholders from the governments, private and public training institutes, civil society player as well as other institutions from across India and throughout the European Union and multilateral institutions such as UNESCO, the OECD, the World Bank, UNIDO, etc., to rapidly build up a vibrant skill development partnership ecosystem, which envisages EU’s participation in India’s skill development programme.
In May 2016, EIFE along with UNESCO jointly organised the first ambitious initiative ‘Global Skill Development Meet (GSDM) 2016’ at UNESCO headquarters, Paris. The conference marked the beginning of EIFE’s official collaboration with the Union des industries et métiers de la métallurgie (UIMM), with the signing of the MoU by Count de Breza, chairman and founder of the EIFE and the secretary general of UIMM, the largest industry association in France. Following the conference, the EIFE along with UIMM organised a study tour for the Indian delegates who had attended the conference. The tour involved visiting the industrial site of Promeo at Compiegne.
The delegates were very impressed by the vastness of the centre and the ultra-modern infrastructure in place. Most notably Prof. Abhishek Mishra, the then Minister of Skill Development, Uttar Pradesh, India, extended an invitation to UIMM to build the exact replica of the Promeo centre in his state of Uttar Pradesh, the largest Indian state with a population of over 220 million.
The event marked a milestone in EIFE’s timeline and charted the path for the next conference, the ‘India International Skill Development Summit and Exhibition’ in New Delhi, India, with OECD as their Knowledge Partner for the event. The event also saw the next step in collaboration between EIFE and UIMM. During the conference EIFE hosted a high level delegation from UIMM, including experts from various fields. The presence of UIMM at the conference garnered much attention from the Indian players and they expressed their interest to work with UIMM on a wider spectrum through EIFE. Private bilateral meetings were organised by EIFE for the UIMM delegation to meet with senior officials and ministers from various Indian states, such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha, who expressed keen desire to work with UIMM.
The two-day meet was successfully conducted with participation of over 35 European skill development institutions and training companies, that held discussions and B2B negotiations with over 350 of their Indian counterparts to find ways in which Europe can contribute in a more meaningful manner to the ambitious programme of ‘Skill India’, that aims to provide training to the millions of Indian youth entering the job market every year.
The summit witnessed over 45 speakers from organisations like NSDC (India), Bosch (Germany), UIMM (Paris), Kohinoor Technical Institute (India), TUV Rheinland (Germany), ETH (Zurich), LD Didactic (Germany), GSI-SLV (Germany), Aditya Birla Foundation (India), Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (India), Rise India, TATA Motors (India), Nanterre University (France), CAF (India) and OECD (Paris), among others.
The speakers deliberated on various topics in 16 thematic sessions over two days. The themes ranged from ‘achievements in skilling in India in the past decade’ to ‘training for tomorrow’, from ‘corporate initiatives taken in skilling and employability’ to the scope of ‘skilling in green economy in post-Paris Agreement World’, from ‘making links between education and employment’ to ‘skilling the rural youth’.
Officials and ministers from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Jharkhand took the stage to discuss the situation in their respective states. Following the conference, EIFE organised state visits for the UIMM delegation. The states covered during this visit included Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha. Apart from visiting the different infrastructure in the above-mentioned states, EIFE also organised meetings with decision makers from various governmental and private organisations.
“The development patterns of countries are different, which means there is a need to invite reach from outside who could look at the problems specific to India,” says Count Christopher de Breza, founding chairman of EIFE.
German institutions such as GSI-SLV, Rexroth Bosch Group and TÜV Rheinland (India) shared their experiences, expertise and willingness to extend potential tie-ups with India in the ‘Hurdles and Success Stories in India: German Experience’ session.