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FROM MAGAZINE: Making logistics employees skillworthy

By 2022, the logistics sector is expected to employ more than 28.4 million employees from the current figures of 16.74 million. With logistics being a service oriented sector, skill development is emerging as a key capability.

Making logistics employees skillworthy
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Making logistics employees skillworthy

By 2022, the logistics sector is expected to employ more than 28.4 million employees from the current figures of 16.74 million. With logistics being a service oriented sector, skill development is emerging as a key capability. This makes it absolutely necessary for the government, training institutions, the logistics companies and the sector skill council to step up their efforts in building training capacity and offer industry-relevant skills to the candidates.

Surya Kannoth

The Indian logistics sector is valued at $150 billion, contributing 14.4 percent to the country’s GDP. The sector is touted to cross the $200 billion mark by 2020 thanks to the easing of foreign direct investment norms, implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, increasing globalisation, growth of e-commerce, positive changes in regulatory policies, and government initiatives like ‘Make in India.’

According to a report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), India will need around 28.4 million strong supply chain workforce in India’s booming transportation, logistics, warehousing and packaging sector. The sector, which currently employs over 16.74 million employees, is slated to employ more than 28.4 million employees by 2022.

While this sector is touted to have one of the highest incremental requirement of human resources to the tune of around 11.7 million during the period 2013-2022, the level of inefficiency in logistics activities in the country has been very high. The required pace of efficiency and quality improvement will demand rapid development of capabilities of logistics service providers. And with logistics being a service oriented sector, skill development is emerging as a key capability.

This makes it imperative for the government, the training institutions, the logistics companies and the sector skill council to build training capacity and offer industry-relevant skills to the candidates.

Recently speaking at the first National Conference on Logistics Policy at FICCI House in New Delhi, Samir Shah, immediate past chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) and Partner, JBS Group, observed that this sector is predominantly human resources-based industry. However, biggest challenge is to get people to come and join this industry.

Ensure good mobility and make this industry an attractive career option. People should be the prime pillars of logistics industry. Training should be mandatory and monitoring the training institution should be of prior importance. Pay for the trainees rather than training institutes. There should be multiple Centres for Excellence across the country. Women should be encouraged more to join this industry,” he opined. According to him, objectives and functions of Logistics Sector Council should also be incorporated in the Logistics Policy. Shah also urged for massive media campaign by the government to promote logistics industry, for creating good image of this sunrise sector.

A whole new game for corporates
The evolving business environment is creating a strong demand pull for quality and efficient logistics services. The core issues around enabling infrastructure, regulatory environment and the fragmented nature of the industry are being overcome gradually.

Recently, Allcargo Logistics’ CSR arm, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra State Skill Development Society (MSSDS) to train over 7400 youth in Maharashtra. This initiative is expected to help Allcargo enhance its scope of work under its skilling initiative ‘Nipun’ and substantially contribute to the Government of Maharashtra’s Skilling Maharashtra Mission.

Trainees will be primarily skilled in the fields of heavy and light commercial vehicle, warehousing and unarmed security guards. The initiative aims to provide placements to at least 70 percent of the candidates. The initial training batch will start in Uran and will be replicated in other areas.
Arathi Shetty, non-executive director, Avashya Foundation said, “We are committed to our cause of skilling India to create suitable employability and do our bit to improve the standard of living of our country. We are extremely excited to work with the government of Maharashtra on this initiative and look forward to more such associations.”

Meanwhile, in the aviation space, India and Singapore has signed an agreement for skilling Indian youths in the aviation sector on the sidelines of Aero India 2019. Academies will be set up in Bengaluru and other places in India that will act as regional hubs for the training of Indian youths for domestic and overseas jobs in these sectors.

National Skill Development Corporation of India’s (NSDC) Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council in collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic and a Singapore-based private sector firm have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish skill development centers.
These ‘Centers of Excellence in Advance Skilling’ will provide training and certification drawing from Singapore curriculum and standards in sectors such as aerospace and aviation, emerging technologies, automotive and logistics.

“These are all priority sectors under ‘Skill India’ and ‘Make in India’ programmes, which require large workforce with advanced technical skills,” India’s High Commissioner in Singapore Jawed Ashraf said. This is one of the many collaborations between India and Singapore in the crucial skill development sector following the signing of two MoUs between NSDC and Singapore Polytechnic to establish state-of-the-art Trainer and Assessor Academies across India.

There are several institutional engagements including plans for setting up the first Indian Institute of Skills in Mumbai in collaboration with Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education Services (ITEES); training programmes for state government officials in public administration and governance; urban planning, logistics and infrastructure development in collaboration with many Singapore-based institutions, including Institute of Technical Education, Singapore Cooperation Enterprise and Civil Service College.

Along similar lines, Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS) has recently joined hands with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council (AASSC) to launch Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certification program for its employees. Under this program, employees will be assessed for their knowledge, skills & aptitude acquired while on the job as AISATS’ employees. On successful completion of the assessment, applicants will receive a certificate from NSDC and AASSC. The RPL platform will facilitate AISATS to provide additional recognition to its employees.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a flagship program under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The scheme plans to impart skill based training to one crore people.

Commenting on the association, Ramanathan Rajamani, CEO, AISATS said, “The airport services business forms the backbone of the aviation industry, ensuring safe and secure travel and delivery of goods. With air passenger traffic in India expected to cross the 1 billion mark by 2040, sustainable and skilled manpower is a key focus for AISATS. We are delighted to have partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Aerospace & Aviation Sector Skill Council (AASSC) to serve the purpose of recognizing and providing the industry with this much needed expertise. At AISATS, our employees are our most valuable assets and we remain keen to facilitate their professional development.”

The pilot batch of RPL certification will commence in Bengaluru with an aim to certify 1700 staff. In the next six months, AISATS will roll out this program at its other locations in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Trivandrum and Mangaluru with a target of certifying 4000 employees.

In fact, the government is mulling the idea of issuing skill vouchers or skill wallets to incentivise youths to undertake skilling programme of their own choice. The vouchers can be used to pay for skill training at any of the approved skill providers. This is against the existing system where trainers and employers are subsidised to impart skills training and apprenticeship. The move is in line with the government’s plan to shift from subsidy-based system to incentive-based Skill India mission.

According to media reports, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is deliberating on ways to incentivise India’s youth to take on skilling programmes and one of the ways of doing this is to issue vouchers/wallets that can be redeemed by students after the skills training is imparted. It is expected to empower the youth to opt for courses of their choices besides ensuring trainers impart quality training.

In February 2019, the Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC) signed the memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with 17 Institutions across India for a three-year apprenticeship-based UG degree programme for developing adequate skills for gainful employment at supervisory or managerial levels in the logistics industry.

Captain TS Ramanujam, CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council, said, “LSC has been taking a lot of initiatives with the logistics industry to skill the human resources. The programme will drive the unsaturated demand for skilled young graduates for deployment at the supervisory level.”
Commenting on professionalising humanities education through skilling becoming a priority day-by-day, VLVSS Subba Rao, senior economic advisor & additional secretary, ministry of human resources development opined that apprenticeship embedded degree programme is a logical step towards ensuring employability of graduates.

The institutions who signed the deal with LSC are Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada; GITAM, Visakhapatnam; KL University, Guntur from Andhra Pradesh; Ramanand Arya DAV College, Mumbai, Maharashtra; Annamalai University, Chidambaram; Sri Krishna College of Arts & Science and PSG College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore; Hindustan University from Tamil Nadu; Atmiya University, Rajkot, Gujarat; Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra, Uttar Pradesh; Girideepam Institute of Advanced Learning, Kottayam; St. Berchmans College, Chenganacherry, Kerala; GITAM, Bengaluru, Karnataka; JIMS, New Delhi; Prestige Institute of Management & Research, Indore, Madhya Pradesh; Seacom Skills University, Kolkata, West Bengal; Jagan Nath University, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Road ahead
With the evolving business environment, there is a strong demand pull for quality and efficient logistics services. While the core issues around enabling infrastructure, regulatory environment and the fragmented nature of the industry are being overcome gradually, the growth in employment of the industry is going to manifold across all levels.

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