MSDE: Building Skilled Workforce for India's Construction Sector's Growth

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
MSDE’s skill development programs ensure that construction workers not only gain proficiency in traditional construction techniques but also acquire digital literacy skills that are now essential for technology-led construction practices. The learnings not only increase their employability but also contribute to the development of the construction industry in our country.

Atul Kumar Tiwari - Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India

With the construction industry being a significant contributor to India's economy, the focus on upskilling its workforce is paramount. Please highlight some initiatives or programs introduced by the Ministry specifically tailored to enhance the skill levels of construction workers and how they have benefitted by the training programs.

Recognizing the construction industry's significant contribution to India's economy, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has implemented several initiatives tailored to enhance the skill levels of the construction workers. To complement traditional skill development methods, MSDE under the Skill India Mission has embraced technology and technical new-age tools in upskilling initiatives for the workers. We are also introducing the use of Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) simulations as pedagogical tools which will offer immersive training experiences, allowing workers to practice complex tasks safely.

We have also recently approved the introduction of updated technologies and methodologies in training our workforce such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, which will enable workers to visualize and simulate building designs digitally, thereby enhancing coordination and collaboration on construction projects. Similarly, MIVAN technology in building construction equips workers with skills sought in the industry, thereby increasing their employability.

Moreover, mobile applications and online learning platforms like Skill India Digital Hub (SIDH) have made training more accessible and flexible, providing on-the-go access to instructional materials and skill assessment tests. These digital tools empower workers to enhance their skills at their own pace, fostering continuous learning and adaptation to industry advancements.

By integrating technology into skill development programs, MSDE ensures that construction workers not only gain proficiency in traditional construction techniques but also acquire digital literacy skills essential for modern construction practices. These initiatives not only benefit individual workers by increasing their employability but also contribute to the overall growth and sustainability of the construction industry.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

What kind of research and groundwork has been initiated to identify the skill gaps and to analyse the job opportunities that would emerge for the youth trained in the construction field?

MSDE collaborates with sectoral experts through our Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) to cultivate competencies that enhance employability and foster sustainable livelihood opportunities for youth in the construction sector. The construction industry is poised to become the second largest employer in the country and needs 45 million additional skilled workers till year 2030. We are assessing the planned construction activities, which are a vital component of India's economic landscape. This would assist us in understanding the significance of targeted planning and resource allocation within the construction industry. Understanding which sectors are primed to receive the lion's share of investment enables stakeholders to strategize effectively, allocate resources judiciously, and capitalize on emerging opportunities for growth and development.

With projects like Gati Shakti, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, Bharatmala, Swachh Bharat Mission (building of twin pit toilets, etc.) Jal Jeevan Mission, Roads and Bridge construction, Education Infrastructure, there are ample opportunities for the youth to explore across levels in the construction sector.

Close to 10 lakh candidates have been trained and assessed under various government schemes till date. There are more than 57 active job roles like Bar Bending and Fixing, Fabrication, Construction Painting, Masonry, Rigging, Scaffolding, Storekeeping, etc. - all of which offer numerous opportunities for candidates to learn the latest techniques and toolkits as the sector grows and transforms with the advent of the latest technologies. To further the mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and MSDE jointly launched the project NIPUN that aimed to skill and upskill more than one lakh construction workers. These initiatives are enabling workers to be more proficient and skilled while making them adept in future trends in the construction industry by increasing their capabilities and diversifying their skillsets. MSDE also works closely with several countries on the skills agenda and consistently explores relevant opportunities for our youth in the international market as well.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

What specific measures are being taken to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the training programs provided to construction workers under various schemes of your Ministry?

Rigorous procedures are made to develop comprehensive and industry-relevant training curricula tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the construction sector. The initiatives and programs led by MSDE under the Skill India Mission are intricately designed with a focus on a long-term vision, informed by industry insights, and responsive to evolving market demands, which also aligns with global skill standards as far as possible.

It has also put in place a quality assurance mechanism to ensure that skill development initiatives meet international benchmarks. Accreditation processes, continuous monitoring, and feedback loops are actively implemented to maintain and improve program quality.

We are also working closely with the private sector to create Centre of Excellence (CoEs) for Skill Training in the construction sector; 15 such CoEs have been established so far while a few more are in the pipeline.

The on-job-training (OJT) methods are made part of the curriculum; they involve learning a job by performing it on a real-time basis in the industry. This helps the learners to achieve the training outcomes effectively and ease their entry into the employment market.

In view of the fact that low wages and difficult working conditions at remote sites the construction sector holds little appeal for the youth, how do you plan to attract more skilled / trained workers?

To enhance youth participation and engagement in the construction sector, MSDE has implemented a focused and inclusive approach. This strategy prioritizes strengthening the skills of the Indian workforce at the grassroots level. With India to achieve USD 5 trillion economy, MSDE advocates multiple measures to ensure a respectable and dignified life for all construction workers, including safety measures at construction sites, to make the sector a viable career option for the youth. Furthermore, empowering construction workers with internationally recognized skills and certifications enhances their mobility in the global job markets. By offering training programs that align with international standards and requirements, MSDE is encouraging youth to pursue formal qualifications and vocational education in construction-related fields and equipping them with the competencies needed to compete on a global scale. To this date, we have deployed more than 18,000 candidates to countries abroad. Under the Skill India Mission, we always encourage celebrating the achievements of frontline construction workers as they build the new India of our dreams.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

New, more advanced technologies and construction methodologies are changing the skill requirements of the workforce; how does MSDE collaborate with the stakeholders to adapt its strategies and programs to meet the evolving needs of the construction industry?

As work strategies go through a global shift, MSDE is creating a strong and an inclusive skill infrastructure by embedding digital abilities to ensure that the youth take full advantage of the unique world of opportunities that technology will lay open for them.

This comprehensive approach of propelling traditional and new-age skills through skill development reflects our commitment towards providing a skill development framework that is not only responsive to current needs but also anticipates and addresses the dynamic requirements of tomorrow's workforce.

To truly bring out the transformative potential of India’s youth, we are today working closely with organizations like Larsen & Toubro, Tata Projects, GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL), JK Cement Ltd and the National Building Construction Corporation to empower the youth with the requisite skills that are needed to flourish in the evolving economy.

Furthermore, our Ministry is aligned to the government’s focus on creating Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) to bring scale to the skilling initiatives and our newly launched Skill India Digital Hub (SIDH) app ensures convergence, streamlines job matching and provides real-time industry insights. These strategic efforts will help India become a global manufacturing hub and contribute significantly to the realization of the vision of a fully developed nation – our ‘Viksit Bharat’.
NBM&CW - May 2024
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