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Skilling For Self-employment

Creating building blocks for self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship will transform local economies and spur job creation and sustainable development.

By Sunil Dahiya


India has one of the largest youth population as over 60% are in the working-age group of 15-59. With over 34% of the population below 25 years of age, we are now one of the youngest nations in the world. This demographic dividend of youth population not only provides a huge reservoir of manpower but also draws focus towards making this talent pool employable.

Employment Challenges 

The crisis facing the nation is that there aren’t just enough jobs to absorb the growing number of youths entering the job market every year. It is a fact that no matter how fast the Indian economy grows, the number of jobless youths will continue to rise.  Regular employers like the central and state governments, corporates, PSUs and businesses are not enough to provide employment to all. On the other hand, focus on building self-employment and entrepreneurship skills is yet to develop on a large scale so as to make an impact on the economy.

Looking at the vastness of the challenges, the solution could lie in the promotion of self-employment and imparting skills on micro-entrepreneurship. Micro-entrepreneurship holds the promise of the development of the per-capita income of an economy by generating immediate job opportunities at much lower levels of investment. It has the potential of helping to provide dignified livelihoods to many below the poverty line, particularly in the services sector.

The availability of an adequately skilled labour force through sustained investments in skills development will produce productivity and formal employment generation and fosters opportunities for decent job creation through self-employment and entrepreneurship. Self-employment if promoted and encouraged on a large scale can help reduce dependence on regular jobs for livelihood and allows the youth to charter their own life and be their own masters.

Skilling for Self-employment 

To close India’s skills deficit and increase employability, a range of policies and strategies are needed to address work-relevant education systems, career guidance, soft skills, technical, vocational education and training schemes. To transform India’s demographic dividend into a demographic advantage, skill development is an essential catalyst. Currently, only 5% of the working population receive formal skill training. The skills required for both self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship are highly subjective varying across different domains/sectors and also across cultures and geographies.

However, there are certain universal traits that are essential and are the basis for early identification of entrepreneurial mindset like never give up attitude, mental agility, self-efficacy, grit, experimentation and self-awareness. These are aspects that cannot be imparted to an individual in course of skill training but require long-term experiential learning. Skill training is the first platform to identify candidates who have the potential to be trained in self-employment and can also be groomed as micro-entrepreneurs with a market-driven approach and capabilities to set and achieve their business goals over time.

Way forward  

To promote self-employment opportunities among students, the entrepreneurial mindset skills need to be developed right from schools. Students must be exposed to creatively identifying the gaps visible around them and be motivated to come up with simple solutions and supported by both parents and schools to let them try and fail versus not trying at all. The Government can come forward and financially support such initiatives. Even if most of the students may try and fail, learning from failures is the best way to move forward.

School students with an entrepreneurial mindset can be identified through a formal process, and such students should be groomed with skills required for launching a Practice Venture (PV) and also given training on soft skills and people management. For this, a well laid out curriculum needs to be designed right from school to the university level. Our endeavour should be to produce more and more self-employed youth whose entrepreneurial ventures will drive job creation agenda of the nation.

Source: BW Businessworld