To commemorate the successful completion of RPL in skill development, LSSC organized Skill Certification Award Ceremony on 22nd September 2019 at Kalaivanar Arangam, Chennai. The occasion also marked the recognition of highly valued skilled manpower since the industry had successfully implemented the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program to certify the workforce as per the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF). More than 1500 candidates in the leather sector were awarded RPL Certificates in the ceremony.
Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) took part in this event as a chief guest and distributed the RPL certificates. Other dignitaries present at the event were: Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed Chairman, CLE & Chairman, LSSC, Thiru. K. Pandiarajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tamil Language and Tamil Culture, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Shri M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President AISHTMA and former Chairman, CLE, Shri Vijayan, President Indian Shoe Federation and Shri N. Shafeeque Ahmed, President, IFLMEA. Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed mentioned that Thiru O. Panneerselvam, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was not able to attend this event due to his ill health and thanked for his support to the industry. The award ceremony also witnessed huge participation from the RPL candidates, training partners, academia and the industry.
Delivering his welcome speech at the event, Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed Chairman, CLE & Chairman, LSSC profusely thanked Shri Mahendra Nath Pandey ji, Hon’ble Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship for coming all the way from Delhi. He also stated that when a delegation led by him went to Delhi to invite the Hon’ble Minister to this event, he readily came to meet despite his commitments in the ongoing Parliament session, which shows his exemplary dedication. Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed appreciated the RPL candidates for participating in such large numbers in this event. He said, “the leather and footwear industry has been in the forefront of empowering women through skilling and employment, thereby empowering the whole family.”
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed expressed his gratitude towards Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu for providing many benefits to the leather and footwear industry. He thanked the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for continuous support for implementing Skill India program and PMKVY scheme. Emphasising the prominence of the leather industry in Tamil Nadu, he said, “the leather and footwear industry in Tamil Nadu has been in the forefront of empowering women through Skilling and Employment as 85% of the workforce in this industry in Tamil Nadu has set an example for other states in employing women. It is a matter of pride for the industry since, women constitute about 30% of the workforce at all India level, while in Tamil Nadu it is 70%. As this sector is a labour intensive sector, our large scale skill development efforts will continue to increase the confidence and productivity levels of our workers and achieve greater growth levels in production and exports.”
Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) said “fashion and trends have a great influence in this industry. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurship in traditional leather trades and new forms of leather substitutes. We need to cater to basic needs as well as luxury segments, with vast potential for exports. On this occasion, I would advise the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to review their manufacturing processes in terms of quality of output and wastage reduction by skilled professionals. I am also happy to announce the “Mochi Swabhimaan” Initiative, a nationwide activity where LSSC will extend support to the cobbler community who provide leather-based services with CSR funds and bring respect to their skills by giving them better working environment in the form of umbrellas. The Government will also support this idea and will ensure they work in a dignified manner.”
Thiru K Pandiarajan, Hon’ble Minister for Tamil Language and Tamil Culture, Government of Tamil Nadu recalled how the Skill Development Mission was launched in 2004 by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji with the objective of training 50 crore people by 2023. He elaborated about the Skill India Program launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji stating that the high productivity of the workers and favourable industrial climate prevailing in Tamil Nadu as the reasons for Tamil Nadu being Number One in the export area in India with 40% share. He also said that Government of Tamil Nadu is spending Rs. 200 crore annually for skill development. Emphasizing that “Skill is Strength” Thiru Pandiarajan urged the workers to develop “multi-skilling” talents so that they can perform various jobs.
This was the first event of the leather products and footwear industry which witnessed a substantially large participation of 1500 people who had undergone training. These include existing workers in the industry who were trained under Required Prior Learning (RPL) Scheme of PMKVY and fresh trainees under Human Resources Development (HRD) Scheme of Indian Footwear Leather and Accessories Development Programme (IFLADP).
LSSC has been appointed as a National Monitoring Unit (NMU) for HRD Sub-scheme of Indian Footwear, Leather and Accessories Development Programme (ILFADP) for 2018 – 2020. As an NMU, LSSC has established fool-proof monitoring mechanism for the entire training cycle for 2 years through SMART and SDMS portals. This is to ensure quality assurance of the training centers and training delivery, post -training certification and placements.
IFLADP focuses on Human Resource Development (HRD) for Placement-linked Skill Development. The primary skill development training and monitoring process includes 4 levels of monitoring. This includes, center level monitoring, batch level monitoring, assessment monitoring and placement monitoring. As per the report for FY-2018-2019, 88,456 candidates were trained and 73,069 candidates were placed in various job roles. This resulted in 82.7% placement covering 16 states.
LSSC has so far trained about 50,000 fresh candidates (unemployed youth) in various job roles of leather. leather products and footwear industry under PMKVY and also upgraded skills of 1,12,000 existing workers in the industry under the RPL scheme of PMKVY. LSSC will continue its skill development efforts and has a target of training 1 lakh more existing workers of the industry under RPL. Besides, 4,50,000 unemployed people are being/will be trained under HRD Scheme of IFLADP.
Since leather industry is dependent on many informally skilled workforce, Recognition of Prior Learning has been beneficial to the employers and the employers in recognizing their skills and knowledge as per formally defined levels from NSQF. RPL achieves the twin objectives of formally recognizing and certifying the skills acquired through informal means such as self-learning on-the-job. Formal assessment and certification brings prestige and confidence by adding to the mobility of the workforce and reducing employer dependence for recognition. At the same time, from the industry perspective, formalising the skills of employees will give a clear picture about the available skill sets, skill gaps and the need for upgradation to achieve desirable quality and productivity benchmarks.
During the event, an MoU was signed between LSSC and Webcon Consulting (India) Ltd, Kolkata, so as to provide training to unemployed youth in other states for gainful employment in the leather and footwear industry in Southern India. A video of World Skills Competition and CFTI training were also played on the occasion. Awards were given to organizations collaborating with LSSC such as training partners, assessment partners and knowledge partners. This included Labournet Pvt Ltd., Navriti Technologies, Mirams Training Services, Tegrus Works Pvt Ltd., Methods Apparel, Adapt Resources, Khwahish Leather Skills, Webcon India Ltd., CFTI Chennai, CFTI Agra.