LSC: Skilling and Upskilling India's Workforce

National Occupational Standard (NOS)
Ravikanth Yamarthy, CEO, Logistics Sector Skill Council, talks about the Council’s skill development training programmes for the youth of India and how NAPS is addressing the demand for skilled manpower in the tech-driven logistics industry.

How is the logistics industry generating jobs and business opportunities for the youth of the country?
The Indian logistics sector is valued at USD 150 billion, contributing 14.4% of the country’s GDP. Government initiatives such as the National Logistics Policy, Sagarmala, National Multimodal Facilities and Warehousing, the easing of FDI norms, globalisation, the e-commerce boom, and the positive changes in the regulatory policies will help the sector generate additional job requirements across all the models: roads, railways, ports, and aviation.

The government and associated stakeholders, including sector skill councils, training institutions, and logistics firms, are therefore required to ramp up their training capacity to cater to the growing training needs of the sector.

The creation of Kaushal Kendras for every sub-sector There is a need to engage with the logistics companies to invest in skill development (as their CSR activity) and review and update the existing Qualification Pack (QP) and National Occupational Standard (NOS) as per the sector's requirements.

Synthesising the various training programmes and educational courses and aligning them with the job roles in the logistics sector would allow for career progression and lateral mobility and bring in the transnational equivalence of the QP/NOS, which would permit the placement of LSC-certified candidates abroad.

Nearly 85% of logistics processes are operated by SMEs, offering several business opportunities for youth to get into entrepreneurship. There is a need for the systematic identification of logistics processes suitable for entrepreneurship, preparation of detailed project reports and making them available through multiple channels.

What are the challenges faced by the industry?
National Occupational Standard (NOS)
There is a requirement for skilled and specialised personnel. Most of the personnel in this sector entered informally for employment without any contemporary skills in logistics. Even qualified logisticians are employed in mid- or senior-level management with very little or no hands-on skills being imparted while they qualify.

A shortage of drivers and delivery staff, a slow transition into newer technologies, and an impetus for research and development are some of the issues faced by the industry.

What is the objective of LSC?
Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC) is a Section 8 company registered under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) and Rule 18 of the company’s incorporation rules. It is a not-for-profit organisation set up by the Ministry of Skill Development, the National Skill Development Corporation, and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to develop skill training and upskilling the logistics workforce in India.

Our objective is to carry out occupational and functional mapping of the sector and subsector to assess the jobs in demand. We develop occupational standards, curriculum, and content, and we monitor training, implement third-party assessments, and certify endeavours to build industry-driven solutions. We deploy and position skilled, industry-ready human resources, upskill and reskill the current workforce, establish centres of excellence, track and develop career progression, and mentor the youth.

LSC is conducting a skill gap study and a study on labour marketing information systems (LMIS) in collaboration with the CII Institute of Logistics as per the mandate entrusted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to infer the current skills gaps in logistics and estimate the approximate employment generation in the logistics sector by 2030.

It is estimated that, at an 8% CAGR, the 22 million workforces currently employed in the sector will generate 10 million more employment opportunities by 2030, but this is a rough estimate, as no authentic studies have been conducted on the baseline survey.

National Occupational Standard (NOS)

Which segments of the logistics industry do LSC training programmes cover?
Members of the Governing Council are representatives of the 12 subsectors that the LSC represents, namely:
  • Warehousing (including tertiary packaging)
  • Land transportation (including commercial vehicle drivers for cargo)
  • Cold Chain Solutions
  • Courier and Express Industry
  • E-Commerce
  • Port Terminals, Inland Container Depots, and Container Freight Stations
  • Air cargo handling (other than tarmac-side operations)
  • Freight Forwarding and Customs
  • Marine Services, Shipping, and Inland Waterways
  • Supply Chain Solutions
  • Liquid Logistics
  • Rail Logistics
Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Delhi NCR Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, the North-Eastern States, Punjab, and Haryana Himachal Pradesh, Goa, and Rajasthan are the current concentration growth corridors.

What do the LSC programmes entail?
LSC has designed 12 higher education programmes that are offered across the country through 68 higher education institutions.

Institutions. The programmes are embedded with two spells of apprenticeship (on-the-job training) for a total of 12 months within the programme period of three years. LSC supports all collaborating institutions by providing fully developed outcome-based curricula, faculty training, onboarding the students for an apprenticeship, and assessing the students.

Students admitted to the degree programmes of LSC are onboarded in logistics companies for their apprenticeship under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) at a monthly stipend ranging from Rs. 7,500 to 18,000, with an average of Rs. 9,000.

While the students learn all the concepts in the classroom for two years, they acquire the relevant skills and corporate attitude during their one-year stipendary apprenticeship in the industry. This makes the students industry-ready and confident about developing their careers in logistics.

The students who pass out of the degree programmes designed and offered by LSC are preferred by recruiting companies as they come with knowledge, skill, and attitude.

National Occupational Standard (NOS)CSR Training

Please tell us about the Apprentices Act of 1961 and NAPS.
The Apprentices Act of 1961 was enacted to regulate the programme of training apprentices in the industry. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is the administrative ministry responsible for the implementation of this Act. The government introduced comprehensive amendments to the Act in December 2014 to make it more attractive for industry and the youth, such as replacing the restrictive system of trade-wise and unit-wise regulation of apprentices, introducing optional trades, bringing the service sector under the ambit of apprenticeship, removing stringent clauses like imprisonment, and allowing industries to outsource basic training.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, focusing on apprenticeship as one of the key programmes for creating skilled manpower in India. The PM also directed the government to work proactively with industry, including the MSME sector, to facilitate a tenfold increase in apprenticeship opportunities in the country by 2020.

National Occupational Standard (NOS)Student awarded during Vishwakarma Day

Apprenticeship training provides an industry-led, practise-oriented, effective, and efficient mode of formal training; hence, strengthening apprenticeship training needs to be given a high priority. Keeping in mind the importance of apprenticeship training, the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) was approved by the government. The scheme was notified by the MSDE in 2016, undertaking apprenticeship programmes under the Apprentices Act of 1961; it issued a guideline for the implementation of NAPS as per the operational framework for apprenticeship in India.

NAPS is an efficient scheme to develop skilled manpower for the industry by optimising training facilities available in the establishments without putting any extra burden on the exchequer to set up training infrastructure. It is the most promising skills delivery vehicle in the industrial and training ecosystem of the country as it provides structured and rigorous training in a real working environment and helps apprentices acquire skills, adapt to the workplace, and enhance employability. NAPS provided an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore for its immediate implementation until 2020, which was extended for another five years until 2025.

How is government support providing more opportunities for the country’s youth?
The government is working proactively with industries, including the MSME sector, to facilitate a ten-fold increase in apprenticeship opportunities in the country by 2024–2025.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is coordinating the implementation of apprenticeships, including the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), across the country through the Directorate General of Training (DGT) and its Regional Directorates of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (RDSDEs), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs), Sector Skill Councils (SSCs), State Apprenticeship Advisers (SAAs), various Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, and MSME Associations across India.

National Occupational Standard (NOS)Road Safety Training for Logistics and Commercial Drivers

The government has designed a portal (www.apprenticeshipindia.gov.in) for administering apprenticeship training online, facilitating the requirements of all key stakeholders (candidates, industries, employers, and authorities). States have a very important role in implementing the programme since most of the smaller industries and MSMEs fall under state jurisdiction. Hence, sensitising the states, state skill development missions, and district skill committees is needed. Third-Party Aggregators (TPAs) mobilise the apprentices and map their preferences, with demand from establishments for apprenticeship opportunities posted on the portal. Besides, communication campaigns are conducted through:

Workshops or seminars with all stakeholders, including CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, sectoral associations, and local industry chambers or clusters.

Publicity and advertisements using both print and electronic media.

Brand Ambassadors: Appointing brand ambassadors for states and for local industrial clusters to act as facilitators and promoters to promote apprenticeship training.

PMNAM: Every month (on second Mondays), organising and conducting the Prime Minister National Apprenticeship Mela (PMNAM) across the country in 765 districts covering 36 states and Union territories.

Recently, DGT introduced various reforms at the administrative level, facilitating easy implementation for all stakeholders. More events, on-the-ground campaigns, and interactive sessions involving all stakeholders and the public are needed to create more awareness.

How are advancements in technology bringing efficiencies to logistics, supply chains, warehousing, and deliveries?
The advancement of technology in logistics has increased the effectiveness of supply chains. Many logistics companies are quickly adopting efficient and error-free ways of carrying out operations and achieving revenue targets. Identifying customer needs and understanding demands (seasonal, geographical, and festive) is the most important dimension in the logistics and supply chain business. Forecasting modules in modern-age applications help in avoiding reputational risks for the business entity, which could be for various reasons, including gaps or breaks in the logistics chain and delayed deliveries.

Technology enables logistics companies to establish collaborative relationships with customers, manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers and build a robust supply chain ecosystem. Advanced cloud-based applications such as warehouse management systems (WMS) and transport management systems (TMS) optimise operations, inventory management, order processing, and transportation. Some specific applications also help in designing warehouses based on geographical locations, local rules and regulations, and seismic and soil characteristics.

National Occupational Standard (NOS)LSC Alumni Meet

Please give examples of the changes due to the automation of processes.
Automation is gradually eliminating paper-centric and human-centric processes. Handheld devices are making tasks paperless. Drones are being used for inventory and checking stocks. Automated guided vehicles (robots) are programmed to navigate through the warehouse or distribution facility and transport goods to their intended destination, reducing the need for human intervention. Automatic storage and retrieval systems increase productivity.

There have been many drastic changes due to the following advancements:
  • Time to market and delivery to the customer are announced on the customer or company portal and optimised artificially intelligent algorithms provide achievable ways of beating the forecast.
  • Electronic commerce eliminates cash transactions, while electronic data exchange helps receive data from other data sources or governmental agencies to provide correct information to end customers (AWB helps track a truck or container).
  • Advanced technological systems are enabling and controlling drone deliveries for the last mile.
  • GPS, or real-time information, tracks a specific consignment’s origin and current status and forecasts the time of delivery.
  • Technology helps achieve customer delight, thereby positively attributing the logistics services to helping bring in more customers for e-commerce.
  • Data analysis for quick and accurate decision-making by using various technology metrics.
  • Resource optimisation can be prudently achieved as the technology application stack controls the entire operational processes.
  • Leveraging technology in logistics and SCM enables cost savings.
  • Logistics digitization leads to logistics information transparency. The more the logistics landscape is digitised, the more transparency in logistics information is achieved, even with cross-border.
  • Training logistics professionals using AR and VR models makes them job-ready even before taking up new assignments or jobs.
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