Editorial January 2018 - LabourNet - Enable livelihood of Informal Sector


Monisha BanerjeeDear Readers,

Firstly, let me take the opportunity of wishing all of you a wonderful 2018! May we collectively do good and stay happy.

This quarter (JFM) is typically the time when organizations are closing business performance and simultaneously for the next year. It is also the time when CSR Heads and Managers go into a tizzy closing current projects, ensuring budgets are getting exhausted along with planning for the next fiscal. Planning for the next year is sometimes about selecting different projects or partners depending on the impact of the current projects.

For those interested in livelihoods and skills, this issue would be of particular interest. Often, skilling programs selected are based on the suggestions made by local NGOs and implementing partners and these decisions are often based on availability of a supply pool (aspirational youth) in the region, or their own experiences and trends in the region. Skill gap studies that are published are not often updated and the focus is more on the demand. However, if we are keen to truly build a Skilled India, the focus must be on creating a skilled pool for businesses and industries that face an acute crunch and at the same time offer differential wages for skilled manpower and are able to grow the capability of their staff and offer career growth. Then there are issues of migrant workforces which are characteristics of certain industries and geographies.

The choice of skilling programs must therefore be considered with the following in mind—

a) Who is the community or audience that I am trying to impact?

b) What are the characteristics of the cohort? For instance, would they be looking at migration? What is their current occupation? Would uprooting them from their current livelihood/lifestyle be easy (particularly for women)?

c) What are the opportunities available in the region? What are the challenges that industry face? Many jobs exist in the unorganized sector today. How should skilling for these enterprises be different from those that are structured? For instance, a worker in a smaller set-up or garage may be performing multiple job roles and may need broad range of skills as compared to a larger enterprise with a structured career improvement plan and would also have internal capacity building programs.

d) What are the wages being offered for a particular job role? What are the other options for jobs in the region in the same bracket? Who would be in the job role that you are skilling for?

e) The program content, design and duration should thus be dependent on the outcomes desired by the employer and the current skills of the student cohort. For example, a group that has worked earlier, may need a shorter bridge course to up-skill or re-skill. A young group that is looking for a first time employment may benefit from long term earn-while-you learn schemes and moving in as apprentices for a year.

Having said that, there is ample need to counsel both employer and prospective employee, to build pre-course and mid-course engagement and build convergence.

This edition focuses on some of the high growth sectors, and the growth and employment trends. Mapping these to the livelihood programs and ensuring that skilling programs remain abreast with the times is critical for industry and livelihoods. Each sector has different nuances such as the emergence of homestays in hospitality or modular construction in real estate. How should your livelihood and skilling program look like today?

Keep reading!

Warm Regards,

Monisha Banerjee

Vice President- CSR and Sustainability, LabourNet

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