A Report on Australian Engagement with India’s Skills Agenda

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This report summarises the research on bilateral skills engagement between Australia and India, conducted by the Australia India Institute for the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training. Its key research findings are provided below.

1. India’s skills system has significant diversity in vocational training, trainee assessment and certification across central and state/UT government institutions and private sector providers. The Government of India’s ambitious agenda for reforming the skills sector includes establishing a coherent framework for skills development and expansion of programs in industry sectors with high demand for skilled workers.

2. The Indian government invites participation of foreign skill providers in emerging industries and niche industry sectors where Indian skill providers lack training capacity; i.e., it invites foreign skill providers to complement, rather than duplicate or replace, the programs offered by Indian skill providers. The preferred industry sectors for foreign skill provider participation include aviation, mining, ports, smart city infrastructure, agricultural technology, and allied health services. Central and state/UT government representatives are also keen for foreign skill providers to offer skills training and orientation that enable international migration pathways for Indian nationals.

3. Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system is well-regarded in India for its breadth of coverage across multiple industry sectors. It is particularly admired for its model of training and apprenticeship combining off- and on-the-job training over an extended period, and industry involvement.

4. Australian registered training organisations (RTOs) have substantial market opportunities to collaborate with Indian government agencies, Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), and other Indian skill providers for building capacity and adding value in areas where they hold special expertise. This includes professional development for trainers, assessors, institutional leaders and professional staff. They can seek collaborations with the newly established India International Skills Centres across the country. They can collaborate with the Indian Skills Sector Councils (SSCs) and other state/UT and central government agencies to develop and embed quality and risk management frameworks for further expansion of skills training under the National Skill Development Council (NSDC). Other market opportunities for engagement include government-funded skill development schemes such as PMKVY and DDU-GKY.

5. The research provides five recommendations for effective engagement between Australia’s skills sector and the Skill India Agenda.

  1. Establish an ‘Australian VET brand’ in India.
  2. Deliver tailored industry- and company-specific programs in partnership with Australian companies operating in India.
  3. Work with Indian skill providers, the Central Staff Training and Research Institute (CSTARI), and the National Instructional Media Institute (NIMI) to develop new course curriculum for emerging industries and niche industry sectors with specialised or unmet demand.
  4. Develop AQF recognised training programs for Gulf country employment in collaboration with newly-established India International Skills Centres.
  5. Collaborate with Indian skill providers involved in targeted Indian government skills development schemes such as PMKVY and DDU-GKY.