More avenues for apprentices on the cards; govt looking to allow educational, other institutions to impart training

by Jeremy


Describing the proposal to permit Indian firms to send apprentices abroad as “one of the pioneer steps which is envisaged by an amendment in the Apprentices Act”, the ministry said, “Some of the big companies are having their work places at various locations of other nations. They may send apprentices to these locations. This step would enlarge the scope of apprenticeship trainings internationally.”

The government is planning to introduce a set of amendments to the Apprentices Act, 1961, with a view to allow educational and other institutions to impart training to apprentices and pave way for virtual learning modes for expansion the scope of apprenticeship.

Sources said allowing part-time apprenticeship by which one could pursue academic courses simultaneously under formal education system and permitting Indian companies having offshore sites to send their apprentices abroad are among the proposals to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The need “to further enhance apprenticeship opportunities for our youth” by way of amending the Act was mentioned by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech for the current fiscal.

While the inclusion of educational/training institutions, too, in the definition of establishment may enlarge the scope of apprenticeship and availability of apprenticeship facilities at a larger scale, the skill development ministry, in a concept note, said permitting training through virtual mode in select sectors and delivering compulsory basic theoretical training virtually would be helpful for the establishments as well as for apprentices.

Describing the proposal to permit Indian firms to send apprentices abroad as “one of the pioneer steps which is envisaged by an amendment in the Apprentices Act”, the ministry said, “Some of the big companies are having their work places at various locations of other nations. They may send apprentices to these locations. This step would enlarge the scope of apprenticeship trainings internationally.”

The government has also proposed to define the roles and responsibilities for third-party aggregators (TPAs) in the Act to relieve the establishments from the burden of paperwork for apprenticeship. Empaneled TPAs would be allowed to support employers in all functionalities of apprentice engagement, including mobilising the apprentices and in mapping their preferences with the demand from the establishments for apprenticeship opportunities.

“Although there have been 5 amendments in the apprentices Act since inception, we need to look at the future reforms which supports scalability and channelise the youth towards formal employment. The reforms should be aimed at encouraging SMEs for apprenticeship engagement by enhancing the role of TPA and focus on ease of doing apprenticeships by making it simpler to understand the system and to execute by the organisations,” said Sumit Kumar, vice-president – NETAP, TeamLease Skills University.

The Apprentices Act, 1961, and Apprenticeship Rules, 1992, were enacted with an objective of regulating the programme of training of apprentices in the establishments by utilising the facilities available therein for imparting on-the-job training.

As per the Rule 7-B of Apprenticeship Rules, 1992, it is obligatory on the part of enterprises having a manpower strength of 30 or more to engage apprentices in a band of 2.5% to 15% of their total manpower strength, including contractual staff. Smaller enterprises having a manpower strength ranging from 4 to 29 employees are also permitted to engage apprentices in a band of 2.5% to 15%, though this provision is voluntary for them.

The Apprenticeship Act was amended in 2014. Apprenticeship Rules, 1992, was subsequently amended in 2015 through amendments on June 16, 2015, and September 25, 2019, to pave the way for bringing the service sector under the ambit of the Act and others.

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