From October 20 onwards, the IndiaSkills 2021 regional competitions will start. “These will bring together 1,500 participants from 30 states and Union territories, in what is the country’s biggest skilling event,” says Ved Mani Tiwari, the chief operating officer of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that IndiaSkills 2021 began with district- and state-level competitions in August and September, and witnessed over 2.5 lakh registrations. The regional competitions will be conducted in five zones, following which the winners will face-off at the IndiaSkills national competition to be held in December 2021. Excerpts:
What makes IndiaSkills 2021 better than previous years’ competitions?
One is the sheer number of participation we have witnessed. For instance, this year when IndiaSkills 2021 began with district- and state-level competitions in August and September, it got over 2.5 lakh registrations. Now, from October 20 onwards, we are starting the IndiaSkills 2021 regional competitions, which will bring together 1,500 participants from 30 states and Union territories. IndiaSkills, clearly, is the country’s biggest skilling event.
How many trades will IndiaSkills 2021 cover?
Participants will compete in 54 high-economic growth skills, such as fashion technology, automobile technology, autobody repair, water technology, plumbing and heating, among others.
More importantly, seven new-age skills—including mobile robotics, information technology software solutions for business, cloud computing, cybersecurity and industry 4.0—have been included in these 54 skills.
From October 20-23, the first regional competition will be held for the East and the Northeast in Patna. The West regional competition will happen from October 29 to November 1 in Gandhinagar; for the North, the event will be held in Chandigarh from November 15-18. From December 1-4, the competition for the South will take place in Visakhapatnam.
What kind of purpose do competitions such as IndiaSkills serve?
The country’s youth has tremendous talent, but it requires appropriate direction and a platform (like IndiaSkills) to harness their potential to the maximum. The competition—we call it an equivalent of the Olympics in skills—aims to provide international exposure and opportunities to the youth and equip them with skill training per international standards. It aims to raise global profile and recognition of skilled professionals and expand their career paths.
Does IndiaSkills also prepare participants for the WorldSkills competition?
Indeed, it does. The winners of IndiaSkills undergo the best-in-class industry training conducted by sectoral mentors, coaches and industry experts to prepare them for WorldSkills (the next one will be held in Shanghai, in October 2022). Candidates get multilevel industry training through boot camps and programmes such as project-based training, industry and corporate training, exposure visits to industries, mind coaching, and personality development. The NSDC, through Sector Skill Councils and other partners, trains candidates not only for WorldSkills but also makes them job ready.
In the previous edition of WorldSkills held in Kazan, Russia, in 2019, India was ranked 13th of 63 countries that participated. Next year we hope to do even better.
Does merely participating in IndiaSkills and WorldSkills provide a boost to one’s career?
Global-level and/or national-level exposure always help. Many IndiaSkills candidates have shone at WorldSkills, and have benefited in terms of career growth. These include:
Simoul Alva, from Mumbai, won a medallion of excellence in skill, graphic design technology at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. Alva is now working as a visual designer, art director and illustrator in New York.
Rohim Momin, a school dropout, working as a construction labourer in his village in Malda, West Bengal, represented India at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, and was honoured with the medallion of excellence. He is working as an assistant foreman with ATS Infrastructure.
Arun Raj Balasubramani from Madurai represented India at WorldSkills Leipzig, Germany, 2013 and won the ‘Best of the Nation’ and medallion of excellence badges in graphic designing. After competing at Leipzig, he started his own company with over 60 employees which raised $2 million was later on acquired by Freshworks (earlier called Freshdesk).
Winning global titles not only connected these young participants with the right opportunities but also helped them boost their career.