Can India win the skill development challenge? Can the country train its burgeoning youth workforce? Can the skill and training keep up with our accelerating economic growth?The answers to these important questions lie in how quickly and effectively India takes up the gauntlet and empowers the youth with the necessary skill training and knowledge—the key driving force behind economic expansion and social development.

Today, India is sitting on a goldmine of raw talent waiting to be nurtured and developed and added to the growing human resource pool. At last count, India had a staggering 600 million people, or more than 50% of its population, below the age of 25—a historic number that will seek out employment for the next one decade. According to Census 2011 and the National Sample Survey Office, an estimated 105 million fresh entrants to the workforce will require skill training by 2022, which is around 15 million every year. Not only that, some 300 million of the current working population will need additional training over the next seven years. A World Bank report says that India is one of the few countries where the working-age population will continue to grow at least until 2040, propelling the country from a ‘developing nation’ to a ‘developed nation’ and better economic prospects and livelihood for its people.

The author Soma Pandey is director, HR, Randstad India.

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