Demographic dividend, Development indicators and Market potential have placed India in a formidable position in the 21st century’s financial landscape. By the year 2020, the country is poised to become a major human resource hub of the World even ahead of many developed nations of the present. A huge responsibility rests with the State Governments towards making the country future ready and a great deal of this depends upon concerted efforts in raising the quality and standards of the human resources. The Government of India, realizing this has created a road map for Human Resources Development at all levels including Education, Research, Industry and Trade.
The Kerala State, by realizing this responsibility, has embarked upon an ambitious project named State Skill Development Project to equip its young population with skills in cutting edge sectors in order to effectively alleviate the unemployment problem in the state. The project combines both preventive (Additional Skill Acquisition Programme – ASAP) and curative approaches (Additional Skill Enhancement Programme). On the preventive side, the General and Higher Education Departments together will implement the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) to amplify working hands in different sectors of the economy, by providing additional skill sets to students along with their regular courses. In the curative part, Additional Skill Enhancement Programme (ASEP), under the leadership of Labour and Local Self Government Departments, is envisaged to encompass skill development and grooming initiatives for unemployed persons registered in the Employment Exchanges across the State.
Kerala, traditionally known for its high quality man power spread all over the World and with a high density of science and technology personnel, have always set a model for the nation in developmental issues. The realization of the fact that its unemployed population kept swelling despite having a rich talent pool, made it think and devise ways to counter the trend. It is in this context that the Additional Skills Acquisition Programme (ASAP) has been developed to impart sector specific skills to create a labour market ready work force.
The students studying at Government and Government Aided Higher Secondary Schools and at the Arts and Science Undergraduate Colleges will be equipped with sector specific skills to make them employable. ASAP envisages development of skill programmes in three levels, that is, from certificate programmes to dual degree programmes. The programmes shall also be dovetailed to National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF). The starting point will be at level three or four of NVEQF.
The ASAP level 1 programme, which commenced during November 2012, is a combination of three courses, namely, Communication Skills in English, Basic IT and an Elective Domain Specific Skill Course. The Programmes are developed, delivered, assessed and certified with the active participation of the related industries to ensure labour market acceptance of the programmes. By imparting Communication Skills in English and Basic IT courses to a large student community, the project envisages to create a large talent pool that can work in modern day organizations that promote a global work environment. By choice student groups receive sector specific skills that further enable them to be employable and industry ready.