The (RPL) is not only recognising the skills honed by individuals in the informal sector but the programme is also improving the employability and livelihood of the existing workforce.
For the first time in over thirty years Preeti Devi, from Aaspura village in Jaipur, was pushed to search for her own identity and understand her skills, her passion. Participant of the 'Recognition of Prior Learning' (RPL) training programme, initiated by the National Skill Development Corporation, Preeti says, "Initially, it was felt that these topics were far from our rustic reality but through this training, we realised the importance of strengthening our self-confidence not only as weavers but as women as well." Kiran Devi, another participant in the training programme, tells me, "I now know how to take care of my health and safety at the work site. Also, I learned how to transact without cash and its many advantages."
Preeti and Kiran, both belonging to the rural areas in Jaipur district, are among the 4,999 candidates who have been certified under the RPL programme. The importance of this training programme lies in the fact that lakhs of artisans and weavers are gaining a government recognition.
Since its launch in 2016, nearly 5.7 lakh candidates have been certified under the RPL programme.
Across India, these individuals who primarily work in the unorganised sector learn skills on the job – either by observing people or working under their guidance or through complete self-learning. Hence, as a result, even though they manage to get a job and earn a livelihood, they may not be able to improve their skills, affecting their productivity and quality of output. NSDC collaborated with Jaipur Rugs Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation & India's largest manufacturers of hand-knotted rugs, provide skill training under RPL to 5,000 artisans. Currently, India is responsible for the worldwide export of almost 40% of hand-knotted rugs. Through this partnership with Jaipur Rugs Foundation the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship aims to upskill, assess and certify these artisans.
The programme structure
Essentially, through the scheme, the government plans to impart skill-based training to one crore people between 2016 and 2020, and RPL will account for nearly 40% of these candidates whose prior experience and skills will be assessed and certified. Individuals with work experience, who have acquired skills informally or on the job, are invited to participate in this programme. The aim of the programme is to create a level playing ?eld between academically or formally trained and the unskilled or informally trained workforce.
The training involves mandatory 12-hour orientation which focuses on soft skill, entrepreneurship, digital and inancial literacy. The candidates have the opportunity to avail Pradhan Mantri Bima Yojana and loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. The programme not only enhances the career/employability opportunities of an individual but also provides alternative routes to higher education. The programme involves 72 hours of training on domain skills in multiple sectors including agriculture, apparel, textile, leather, tourism & hospitality.
Till date, the RPL team has conducted the skill certification programme in 78 villages of five districts spread across Rajasthan and Jharkhand. Across India, 433 districts have been covered and over 5,70,000 individuals have been trained. Says Kiran Devi, "Before I attended this training, I would never step outside the premises of my home. But now, I have started interacting with people confidently. I have also started speaking about myself and the work that I do and also I talk about my learning journey during the RPL training."