Skills in India and the relevance elsewhere

In the next five years, India needs 70 million more vocationally skilled people to join the workforce. This means an increase of vocationally skilled workers from 12 to 25 per cent by the end of the 12th Government Plan. The CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Skills Report widens the lens to 2022 and this highlights the need for 450 million skilled workers. This is a huge challenge which has to be met by innovation as well as increasing the capacity of the current approach.

The challenge, says S.S. Mantha Chair of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in an interview with the well respected National daily Hindu newspaper lies in that 80 per cent of new entrants to the workforce have no opportunity for skill training and the existing training capacity is only 3.1 million per annum as against 12.8 million joining the workforce. Then, there is the huge issue with the informal sector – an issue which all emerging and developing countries share –  which stands at 395 million workers; which is 86 per cent of the total workforce. Continue reading

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Transforming Skills in emerging markets

There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward. Jeff BezosYears back I worked on a project at British Steel, Ebbw Vale, Wales. At that time, British Steel employed over 200,000 people all over the UK and as the weeks went by it became clear that few people on site were from beyond the Valleys – a local factory for local people. Looking back, in terms of skills, jobs and training; this was the world we have lost.

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Skills Policy – is the best policy for government to do little?

I have just read a very interesting review on skills policy sponsored by InsightEast and written by Professor Ewart Keep from the ESRC’s Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance.A liberally educated person meets new ideas with curiosity and fascination. An illiberally educated person meets new ideas with fear. – James B. Stockdale

This paper casts severe doubt on the benefit of public funding of skills development. He shows with great clarity the issues, contradictions and some myths inherent in skills development planning. Whilst it is focussed mainly on the policies of the last UK government, having been written in the early days of the current government, the thrust of the conclusions will still hold. Continue reading

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CatZero celebrate their success with NEETs

Yesterday evening I was at an event celebrating the end of a three year programme run by the CatZero charity helping to remove the N from NEET (young people Not in Employment, Education or Training). Hull and the Humber have a higher than average problem with NEETs and CatZero have been using an innovative approach to giving young people the confidence to achieve.

CatZero have achieved a certain amount of notoriety, locally and nationally, after they convinced the NHS to spend £500,000 on a 72′ ocean going sailing yacht for the programme. The challenge provided by sailing the yacht from Hull to the Shetlands and back, is probably the highlight of the programme, but its success (which I will come to soon) is as much about the rest of the 12 weeks that CatZero work with the young people.

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The need for a NEET solution

This week, the UKs Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, pledged to deal with the “ticking time bomb” of NEETs – young people from 16 to 23 who are Not In Education, Employment or Training. He announced a £126 million scheme to get 16 and 17-year-olds back into employment or education. At least 55,000 16 and 17 year old NEETs are expected to benefit. Let’s put this into perspective. Continue reading

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Let’s look at training technologies with Axon. An interview with Tom Bremer

Archomai are working with a number of companies on business analytics; performance improvement; simulation and simulator technologies – this is our drive to improve operating performance. One of the leading companies delivering training solutions in the Oil industry is ARCD (Axon Rig Concept and Design). Tom Bremer is CEO of Axon Rig Concept and Design (ARCD). Tom is from Norway and has extensive International experience in adapting training technologies to specific sector or local needs. Rob Bell met up with Tom to understand the Axon approach in more detail …

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Are Apprenticeships fit for purpose?

I typed the word “apprenticeship” into a web browser and it generated 20.7 million references in 0.10 seconds. I learned – This is a “work based pathway to earn and learn”; there has been a 60% increase in apprenticeships in the UK in the last year; since 2007 the number of first year construction trainees has fallen by 50%, more in trades like bricklaying, where the figure is 67% (this is 1% of the UK workforce, compared to 5% across the EU); 50,000 of the apprenticeships of the last year have been in Retail – though over the same period apprenticeships for the over 60s in the UK rose by 878%.

Then there were many articles featuring last week’s National Apprenticeship Week. In a keynote address UK skills minister John Hayes announced that the coalition government “has created the biggest and best apprenticeships programme in our country’s history”. Hayes was speaking at a function welcoming the news that Starbucks has started an apprenticeship programme, which will offer 45 places each month beginning in London this spring. With all due respects to the young people working with Starbucks and the company itself – this is unlikely to send a shudder down the backs of the UK’s global competitors in the industrial big league. Continue reading

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Offshore Wind Conference on the Humber highlights skills

Earlier today, former Cabinet Minister and MP for West Hull & Hessle Alan Johnson gave an address and Rob Bell, CEO of Archomai,  was one of a panel of speakers moving the Humber offshore wind agenda from talk of IF it will happen to HOW to deliver sustainable growth in the Humber Region.

Andrew Morton of footprint renewables and Sam Pick of the Renewables Network – the organisers of the event – spoke of the huge offshore wind opportunity and Alan Johnson gave the vision for Green Port Hull, a £210 million purpose built facility to support this emerging industry and highlighted the positive impact on the Humber Region and beyond. Recalling Hull and Humber’s dominant position in the fishing industry of the 1950s he highlighted the long term importance of being involved in a nuts and bolts industry that is all about keeping the lights on and reducing carbon usage. This is not about making Hull and Humber the centre for call centres that may come and go; this is an industry for the long haul.

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Addressing skills gaps and building skills capacity

Archomai offers a range of consultancy and delivery services to close the skills gap in mature, emerging, frontier and devastated markets – each one with quite different needs and priorities.

Archomai’s work starts with a Brief. Recently, we were asked to review the skills position for a Trade Corridor in Africa; with 15 landlocked countries on this vast continent, there are many such corridors throughout Africa straddling borders. We mapped the supply chain from the mine to the Port and then, moved to a value chain analysis – with an emphasis on increasing value addition in country. Continue reading

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Simulators & skills go back a long way

‘Simulator (noun): any device or system that
reproduces the conditions of a situation for the
purposes of research or training’ (Collins, 2005)

Years ago I lived in Hong Kong and would take off and land at the legendary Kai Tak airport. The planes would fly low over water and point at the hills; passing between blocks of flats – you were so close, you could see what people were eating for dinner! Kai Tak is long gone but landing there is still popular – on flight simulation packages.

Simulation has a long history. Early games such as Chess and Go were early simulations of warfare and war games by the military became hugely popular in the nineteenth century – starting with von Reisswitz’s Kriegsspiel. However, the real impetus came with aviation. The first powered flight occurred in 1903 and, by 1910, the French Ecole de Combat was using the “penguins system”; a reduced wingspan, landborne aeroplane that would be developed further in World War 1.

An early flight simulator

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