EIFE boost for Skill India Mission

European expertise to strengthen Indian skills ecosystem


January 21, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

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EIFE boost for Skill India Mission

The European delegation along with EIFE members

A unique, multi-country delegation from Europe visits India to scout for opportunities of collaboration.

A unique, nine-member three-country delegation mounted by the Brussels-based Europe India Foundation for Excellence, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bringing expertise and best practices from Europe to boost India’s skill ecosystem concluded a fruitful week-long visit to India.

The experts in the delegation, from the best skilling institutions in France, Germany and Russia,visited the country at the invitation of the EIFE to observe and understand the vocational education and skill development scenario in India by detailed interaction with the policymakers from central and state governments as well as sector skill councils and leading training providers. One of the key objectives of the delegation’s visit to India was to develop and propose a plan of action to upgrade standards in key areas of the skill ecosystem in India and bring them to the best in the world.

“At EIFE, we believe that Europe has a lot to offer to India, in the precise sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, renewable energy, hospitality, construction etc, all the areas where India faces a huge skill gap. And, we at EIFE, are here to support the initiatives by dynamic states such as Odisha to learn from the best practices here in Europe and adapt them for use in India,” says Count Christophe de Breza, founding chairman, EIFE.

The week-long visit began in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, the eastern Indian state where the delegation spent three days for various discussions and site visits. On day one, the EIFE, in close collaboration with the Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS), the key body for skill development in rural Odisha, organised a workshop on ‘Promoting Vocational Education and Training in Odisha’. At the day long workshop, dozens of skill development experts as well as leading training providers from Odisha provided a snapshot of their current activities and the areas of collaboration with Europe as well as transfer of best practices that they could visualise.

The workshop identified key points of cooperation where the European experts could offer solutions to the urgent requirements of the training providers as well as policymakers in the specific domains of training. Right on top of the list was the issue of upskilling trainers from Odisha and bringing them to the best in the world category.

The delegates at ORMAS

The delegates at ORMAS workshop in Odisha

D K Singh, principal secretary, PR & DW Department, government of Odisha said, “I think that in the skill development sector you either go up or go down. You never remain static. Since ORMAS has won the award for the best Indian state over the past three years, I am wondering what’s next? I am searching for that extra bit in ORMAS now and I firmly believe that extra will come if we interact with a larger community of people. I would like to inform that we are already having a very fruitful collaboration with TIFF Australia which is giving the Training of Trainers and then that collaboration is likely to be further strengthened and enhanced. Our expectations are similarly high with this European delegation and our relationship with the EIFE.”

“The concept is rather simple. Currently, one of the weakest links in the chain of skill development in India and in Odisha, is the relatively poor level of trainers who are often out of touch with the latest innovations in their domain and lack even basic pedagogical skills to be able to transfer their knowledge to their students and motivate them appropriately,’’ says Vaibhav Agarwal, CMO, of EIFE.

The European delegation further discussed with Odisha government officials the requirements of each institution and key sectors of training such as advanced manufacturing, apparels and garments, construction as well as upgrading the quality of Indian candidates for global skills competitions such as World Skills competitions, often called the Oympics of skill development, which see best students of skill development from around the world show off their knowledge and skills.

The next day the delegation visited a wide range of training institutions in the sectors of their expertise. The objective was for the international experts to see for themselves the actual training ecosystem and allowing them to interact with trainers, students as well as managements of these training institutions. The visit was to allow the Europeans to know about the requirements of the particular sectors. The four major focus areas of discussions were the Training of Trainers (ToT), joint certification, assessment and creation of  centres for excellence.

The European delegation also visited the Skill Development Institute in Bhubaneshwar, the state’s capital for further discussions. Skill Development Institute (SDI) Bhubaneswar is a leading training institution promoted by India’s oil PSUs and managed by the Indian Oil Corporation, one of the largest Indian companies. It is a pioneer project under the aegis of Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas to fulfil the vision of Skill India Mission of Government of India. EIFE, which was appointed by Ormas as its European consultant, has been closely interacting with the state government and Ormas officials for the past four years to understand the specific needs of the state in the skills domain and based on these, it identified a vast pool of over 300 skill partners in the European Union who can contribute to the entire value chain. This visit was one of the several activities conducted by the EIFE to bring the best in class from Europe face to face with Odisha government and the private sector. The EIFE will coordinate all the necessary follow up activities to ensure that the meetings’ outcomes are rapidly transformed into practical deliverables and their implementation within a time-bound manner.

After the fruitful Odisha visit, the EIFE brought the delegation to New Delhi to interact with top officials of skill development in the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) as well as Union Ministry of Rural Development, which has been running the largest skill programme in India for over a decade.

Subsequently, the EIFE and NSDC also jointly organised another day-long workshop and B2B networking meetings involving not only NSDC and EIFE officials, but also the relevant sector skill councils and some leading training institutions from the National Capital Region.

The European delegation meets Ministry of rural development, government of India

The European delegation meets ministry of rural development, government of India

“In India there have been very high quality institutions that have been created by the private sector and also by the government but I think the institutions need better quality trainers and therefore we need to partner with countries that could provide us with high quality trainers. This is something that we really look forward to and could be a way to collaborate,” said Manish Kumar, CEO, NSDC during the meeting. Addressing the challenges in the sector Jan Ebben who is working as an internal consultant at NSDC to advice on best practices in international vocational education and also focusing on apprenticeship and industry engagement said, “There are three distinct areas for improvement, the first is the need to improve the training of trainers which must not be overly academic and there is a need for a very basic entry level training module that will suit company trainers in apprenticeship training. There is a need to improve the governance of sector skills council to align them with the industrial sectors as they really exist and to link them more closely to their industrial base.”

The focus sectors in New Delhi were in areas like manufacturing, construction, infrastructure development, retail industry, hospitality and healthcare.

A top level delegation from Maharashtra government also travelled to New Delhi in order to meet with the EIFE and its delegation. Health care training providers from Mumbai were also present at meeting hosted at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi who highlighted the potential areas of collaboration through the training of trainers by EU experts or the knowledge partners and international standard curriculum and content development.

Yvick Robin, international director, Compagnons du Devoir said, “The focus of our expertise here was on the construction area and most likely in masonry and plumbing. I didn’t know what to expect as it is my first trip to India. It is always difficult to project yourself on something you’ve never touched or know. As a craftsman I need to touch, I need to know, so that’s done this week. First of all I am very confident that the initial matters that was brought to the table- lack of trainers, trade organisation is being taken care of. As we met different government organisations and officials, I am very confident that India knows what to do.”

The principal objective the entire programme organised by EIFE is part of EIFE’s activities over the past six years to build a platform where various stakeholders in the world of skill development from across the world, notably Europe, and India could come together to identify potential areas of collaboration and then immediately get to working together. Keen about the opportunities that India presents, the European delegates from major skill development institutions and training companies have been collaborating with the EIFE and its various Indian partners to identify potential areas of collaboration and also see the challenges and find a way to overcome them.

The EIFE offers facilitation in transfer of technology and best practices in infrastructure, modern equipment, Training the Trainers (T3), curriculum, knowledge sharing, providing technical expertise, occupational standards, assessment, certification process and other activities based on the priorities of the Indian or European partners. “The main objective of this visit was to bring the relevant partners onboard to complete at least four Training of trainer programmes, Trainers assessment and bridge programmes for top students in different trades in Odisha. Once the pool of Master Trainers has been created, EIFE, along with its European partners, would engage with Odisha government for the creation of a Centre of Excellence, which can become one of the most advanced centres of its kind, not only in India but in this part of the world,’’ says Vaibhav Agarwal.

The agenda and scope for cooperation is very much similar in the context of NSDC, Ministry of Rural Development as well as Maharashtra, he adds.

Ekta Wason, manager corporate relations at Pearl Academy, an institute offering undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma pathways in design, fashion, media and business was happy to have attended the meeting at NSDC. “There is no skill limitation. The scope of skill is vast in a county like India. However, what I feel that or students need much more international exposure and when it comes to collaboration with the delegates from Europe, I could see that we can have lots of possible collaboration in terms of their expertise and faculty training our faculty then coming to our campuses and training the students in the form of workshops and master classes. Also we could have possible global exchange programmes wherein we can first match the curriculums, the transcripts and we can send students over their so that they can teach a particular module over their or through an apprenticeship programmes wherein we can collaborate through modules and the final year could be in their country leading to international exposure in terms of job opportunities. Therefore we are open for possible collaborations with them,” she told Media India Group.



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