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India Inc bullish on apprentice hiring: Study

Hiring of apprentices, which took a beating following the economic slowdown, is now expected to pick up pace. If this happens, it would indicate a possible revival in the economy, according to a study by leading recruitment firm TeamLease Services and the National Employability Through Apprenticeship Programme (NETAP).


An apprentice is a person — a graduate or diploma/vocational course holder — who undergoes training for a specified tenure in any industry or establishment. The stipend earned by an apprentice is about Rs 12,000 per month.


The study, which brings out the sentiment regarding apprentice hiring, surveyed 500 employers across 12 sectors. It found 64% of companies are currently not hiring apprentices, but 41% of the employers are likely to hire them in this calendar year.


According to the study, 40% of employers in manufacturing revealed a positive intent of hiring apprentices. In the services sector, 42% companies said they are willing to hire apprentices in the second half. 


Sumit Kumar, VP (NETAP) at TeamLease Skill University, said, “Most employers engage apprentices with the purpose of meeting the skill requirements of the company, to boost productivity and to reduce costs. The prevailing economic slowdown has taken a toll on all major industries, and companies are hesitant to hire apprentices that will in turn be a burden on their current financial situation.


” What is expected to tilt the axis towards hiring apprentices now is a revival of the economy and better awareness and engagement of candidates, said Kumar. He added, “It’s the ease of doing apprenticeships that can change the situation.” 


In India, the popularity of the apprenticeship system is yet to pick up. Prince Augustin, EVP (group human capital & leadership development) at Mahindra & Mahindra, said the organisation sees apprentices as a strategic workforce for the future. “The apprentices are key enablers of future growth and prosperity and they do contribute to our ecosystem in very many ways. We don’t look at this as a cost parameter,” said Augustin. 


Harpreet Kaur, senior VP & head (corporate personnel & administration), Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co, said the organisation plans to hire apprentices this year as well like every year. “The numbers we are looking at for hiring are slightly higher than previous year. We have been focused on building skills and capabilities for our employees as part of developing talent for a future-ready workforce. We have looked at apprentices as a strong and reliable pipeline for a future-skilled and capable workforce for our businesses,” said Kaur. 


According to the study, trade apprentices (43%) — class 8- to 12-pass, or an ITI passout — are more in demand as compared to graduate apprentices (23%). On a geographical basis, the western region exhibits the biggest growth in employers’ intention to hire apprentices over the next six months, followed by the northern region. 


“The visible shift is in the intake of apprentices due to increase in growth rate of the services sector. So far, it was the manufacturing sector that was taking apprentices. But now there is an active participation by the services sector as well,” said Kumar. 


In the eastern region, on the other hand, most of the employers are reluctant to engage apprentices. The region witnessed a 14% dip in apprentice engagement.

Source: TOI