India Skills Kerala Calls for Need to Tap Vast Untapped Rural Market

Skills should be imparted with a futuristic vision in a fast advancing country like India, where technical job opportunities lie hugely untapped in the rural front even amid rapid urbanisation, an open forum at India Skills Kerala 2020 noted today.

Society should shed its biases towards skills as a lowly sector vis-à-vis information technology or medical science and work towards regular update of knowledge imparted by the country’s technical institutions, experts said while taking part in a 90-minute discussion on ‘Enhancing Skills for the Emerging Job Market in a Regional and National Perspective’.

Further, networking holds key to professional rise in trades that require skills, where design should “come from the heart” instead of getting reduced to a mechanical process, the speakers said at the forum midway the three-day event being organised by the state government’s Industrial Training Department and Kerala Academy for Skills Excellence (KASE).

At the session moderated by Aparna Viswanathan, founder-director of Zocio which works to develop the personal and social life of the country’s youth, KASE Managing Director Chandrasekar S said the country should have a system that bridges the demand and supply of skills. “We have, on the one side, quite a few skilled hands looking for a decent job. On the other, there are entrepreneurs who are looking for technical expertise but not quickly finding it,” he said. “It’s all fine that we are making progress in IOT (internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence), but India can never afford to lose focus on providing basic skills.”

Raji R, General Manager of Cochin Smart Mission Ltd, highlighted the need for “intelligent and efficient use” of technology, besides being “constantly aware of the opportunities” in the field.

Anil Kumar T V, Director (Administration) of Additional Skill Acquisition Programme, spoke about the vitality of proper internship and broad-based skill development. Jathin P P of the State Backward Classes Development Corporation noted that skills have to be constantly developed so as to weed out recycling of replicas.

T P Sethumadhavan, Director of UL Education, lamented that the “poor input quality” in the field of skills when experts must ensure that the young generation should not be burdened with disciplines that look set to be obsolete in the near future. “I’d say four Es are important: expansion (of skills sector), equity (among its practitioners), excellence and employment.”

Dr K Manoj Kumar, principal of Kerala State Institute of Design, regretted that the youth in the skills sector were poor in verbal articulation of their professional ideas. “More often, parents and other elders tend to stunt the imagination of the younger ones in the family by imposing upon them career plans that go against the interest of the boy or the girl,” he said. “Let’s stop asking the child what (s)he wants to become. Instead, find out how one can be of use to society or the economy.”

P P Madhusoodhanan of Habitat Technology Group said the country should strive towards “using less and less of paper and more and more of tools”. Stressing the need to develop multidisciplinary skills, he said, “Seeing and touching is believing. Am shocked to notice that many think hands-on work with, say bricks or wood, diminishes their stature as an educated person.”

The February 22-24 India Skills Kerala 2020 features competition between 253 participants in a total of 39 disciplines.



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