The Government of India has brought about a plethora of reforms in the Apprenticeship Act & Rules in 2014 & 2015 respectively to make Apprenticeship Industry driven and enable it to design its own courses to run under the apprenticeship programme to meet its need for skilled manpower. Besides a new scheme National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) was notified by it on 19th August 2016 to provide financial support to Establishments undertaking the Apprentice programme. In February 2018, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship mandated the NSDC to implement apprenticeship programme with respect to optional trades through the Sector Skill Councils.
Here is a gist of our current understanding of what is to follow:
- Apprenticeship is now one of the most important agendas of GOI.
- Under the Apprenticeship Act all industrial establishments with a work force of more than 40 employees (including contract employees) are mandated to engage apprentices in the range of 2.5% to 10% of employee strength every year depending on their requirement from year to year.
- The amended Apprenticeship Act is now extremely industry friendly wherein the role of GOI is minimal.
- The industrial establishments, who wish to run apprenticeship programme in courses other than those notified by the Government under the “Designate Trade” category, have full discretion under the Act to design its own courses/ Qualification Packs of LSSSDC under “Optional Trades” category and upload this on the Apprenticeship portal.
- No approval for this is required to be taken from the Government as LSSSDC Qualification Packs are already NSQC approved.
- It is only in case where the industrial establishments opt for National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) support (reimbursement of part stipend paid to apprentices (up to INR 1500/ per month)) and is not going for LSSSDC Qualification Pack, the courses need NSQF alignment.
- Industrial establishments can pick and choose the job roles (from any department) where they would like to be engage Apprentices as part of the Apprenticeship program.
- Duration for the apprenticeship program needs to be defined as standard in mutual agreement with LSSSDC and Industry.
- For Qualification Packs/ Job Roles where education requirement is up till 12th Class duration could be in the range of 6-24 months.
- For Qualification Packs/ Job Roles where education requirement is Graduates and above the minimum duration could be 3 months and maximum duration 12 months.
- The role of the Government is very limited under the Act and this too has been largely entrusted to the CEOs of the Sector Skill Councils (in this case LSSSDC) for the Optional Trade category where the CEOs have been appointed by the Government as Joint Apprenticeship Advisors. Each industrial establishment is expected to be linked with one or the other SSC for this purpose.
- The entire programme is to be run through an apprenticeship portal which has been specially designed as mandated under the Act & all activities under it is to be driven by an on line process including registration of candidates, establishments and generation of contracts; also reimbursement of financial support under NAPS for those industrial establishments who opt for such support.