India’s largest degree apprenticeship program NETAP sees a 35% surge in apprentice hiring

Mumbai: National Employability through Apprenticeship Program [NETAP], India’s largest degree apprenticeship program from TeamLease Skills University, India’s first vocational skills university, has indicated that the overall intake of apprentices across India Inc. has seen a significant surge amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In FY20-21 hiring has increased by 35%. In fact, from April 2021 to now, hiring continues to spike by approximately 40%, especially across key sectors like healthcare & pharmaceuticals, ITeS, BFSI, e-Commerce amongst others. Not only this, even the average stipend pay-out per apprentice has improved by 18% over the years. NETAP has disbursed INR 2700 crores worth of stipends since 2014.

Sharing his views on the trajectory of the NETAP program, Mr Sumit Kumar, Vice President – NETAP, TeamLease Skills University, said, “At TeamLease very early in our journey we realized that in India, lack of job opportunities was not a major problem, instead the dearth of skilled talent was. One of the most effective methods to address this issue is apprenticeships. Traditionally both the perception and acceptance for this model was not very high. Today with our conscious efforts, by linking apprenticeship with higher education and offering degree apprenticeships, we have been able to move the needle. Not only have candidates become more forthcoming towards apprenticeships but even companies have consciously increased their apprentice hiring as they have realized the merits of this model to build a robust talent pipeline for the future.”

The apprenticeship route has also enabled aspiring candidates to pave their way into formal employment. Today 95% of the certified apprentices are informal employment. 40% of these apprentices are being absorbed by the same employers where the candidates had done their apprenticeships. “Not only this, a majority of these apprentices are now earning an average 45% premium on their wages, as they have advanced their skill expertise through the apprenticeship route”, added Mr Kumar.

“NETAP has been a pioneer on the front of taking apprenticeships to the masses. In fact, we were the first to roll out a degree apprenticeship program much before the recent education reforms were formulated. We have completed enrolments of close to 2.5 lakh apprentices since our inception and certified close to 1.25 lakh+ apprentices. However, we have not even touched the tip of the iceberg and there is still a lot of untapped potential on this front. India’s vision is to reach 10 million apprentices in the next 10 years and it is crucial that we scale up our efforts to achieve this goal”, added Mr Kumar.

Through NETAP, even the services sectors such as BFSI (Insurance, Fintech, and NBFC), E-commerce, ITeS, Aviation, and Agriculture, among others have now extensively leaned towards hiring apprentices. In fact, overall apprentices hiring in these sectors has gone up by approximately 40% over the last year. Incidentally, the pandemic-induced shutdowns have also pushed for an increase in apprenticeship deployment in Tier II and Tier III locations.

Sharing views on TeamLease Skills University (TLSU) of which NETAP is a flagship program, Ms Neeti Sharma, Co-Founder and President, TeamLease EdTech who oversees the functions of TLSU, said, “Today, it is crucial to create a strong industry-academia connect to improve the learning ecosystem. Apprenticeship is a very conducive mechanism to achieve this. On one hand, this will provide universities with the opportunity to improve the employability of their students and on the other hand, it will also enable employers to connect with the right talent and create a strong talent pool for the industry.”

Having started with a partnership with 20 employers in 2014, today NETAP is partnered with 500 employers across all sectors and caters to about 140 varied job roles. The program is deployed over 3500 locations across all states pan India and plans to expand to new pin codes in the next three years.

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