The proposed ASTP services for its members starting in FY 2014 – 15 are as follows:
1. ASTP Choupal: This initiative will bring together members once a quarter initially and later with a higher frequency if demanded for discussions on current issues facing the industry, sharing of ideas and problem resolution that members may have, sharing of best practices and discussions on other relevant and current topics. The coverage and medium of discussion will be initiated through an audio-conferencing bridge and maybe organised regionally on a face to face basis or nationally through video conferencing at a later stage if budget and logistics permit. The agenda, the speakers and the anchor for the session will be predetermined after taking suggestions from members in advance. There may be an open / Q&A session for 10 minutes towards the end of the session.
2. Periodic Members face to face interaction with ministries/agencies: It is customary for senior bureaucrats from Ministries, Government and Quasi-Government agencies to lend their ears to visiting senior officials from the participating private-sector agencies to understand the ground realities and the industry opinion about the systems and processes of projects initiated and sponsored by the Ministries. The concern here is that organisations with contacts in and around the ministry can only make it to such meetings with the senior bureaucrats and the industry opinion conveyed on these occasions may be the biased outlook of a particular organisation. The face to face meetings organised by ASTP will provide all organisations alike an opportunity to be heard by the Government bureaucrats and will also benefit the Ministries and their agencies get an unbiased viewpoint that is truly representative of the industry opinion. ASTP will endeavour to hold two such meetings in a quarter at Delhi. The agenda and the speakers and the anchor for the session will be predetermined after taking suggestions from members in advance. There may be an open / Q&A session for 10 minutes towards the end of the session.
3. Facilitate Issue-based platforms for discussions and resolutions: The vocational skills training industry in India is a Sunshine industry and dependent majorly on Government funding. The multiplicity of implementing missions and agencies and the variations in bid evaluation criterion amongst these entities and inordinately delayed payments for projects executed throw a major challenge for adherence to bid criterion and cash flow to the training companies. This situation requires the power to collective bargaining which will be facilitated by ASTP on a case to case basis. The implementation of this initiative will be through an audio conferencing bridge on an ad hoc basis.
4. Regulatory representation: Much has been said, talked about, deliberated and experimented over the last few years about skilling and upskilling the new entrants and existing labour force. It is surely felt by all stakeholders in the industry that fundamental changes are required in the legislative framework in education and employment like the portability of educational qualification and certification for employment to meet our target of skilling 500 million youth by 2022. It is imperative in this scenario that legislators pay heed to the industry opinion for effective legislation. ASTP will organise and lead the delegation of prominent industry players and members to meet the concerned Ministers/legislators to explain and submit a memorandum on the industry recommendations towards the skilling initiative of the Government. On securing the opportunity for such meetings, ASTP will organise internal meetings to firm up strategy for communication prior to the meetings.
5. Periodic Members face to face interaction with banks and other financing agencies: Funding for skills training has remained a major deterrent for industry growth. While the retail model never saw the light of the day, institutional funding has remained limited to direct Government funding. The banks and other financial institutions are not playing the role of major stakeholders as at this point. There is a major risk perception and a lack of incentive for the financial institutions to get involved in the financing of skills training. ASTP would endeavour to get banks and financial institutions involved in deliberations with a core group of ASTP members to explore and evolve a middle path in interests for financing skills training. Such meetings would be organised on securing suitable opportunities.
6. ASTP Newsletter: This would contain News bytes from the Vocation skills Training industry, the Latest happenings at ASTP, Articles from Members. The Newsletter will be published once a month and distributed electronically once the ASTP operational infrastructure is in place.
7. Portal for Employment opportunities: Trying to measure a programme by any other parameter other than the outcome is a fallacy. While for some skills development programmes the yardstick for measuring success had been employment for at least 70 % of the trainees, for a few the realisation has been late and the parameters for measuring success have been recently modified. It is expected that for most skills development programmes, sooner or later, the main criteria for measuring success would be the employment of the trainees. A skills training company would run up major costs in hiring and maintaining resources to run a placement cell. ASTP intends to add value to its member organisations by giving them free access to a portal well-populated with employment opportunities from Employers across all the sectors.
8. Train the trainers with certification and listing on the website: One of the key inputs in skills training programmes is quality trainer resource. The demand for high quality certified trainers would be on the rise as the industry continues to grow. ASTP envisages a role for itself here in training, certifying, creating a pool of high quality certified trainers and making them available to ASTP members through a listing of the trainers on its website.
9. Institutional Assessment with certification: It is imperative for the Ministries, state-run livelihood Missions, Agencies to empanel/select the right Training Companies for maintaining the quality of the training programmes. This leads to defining the bid evaluation criterion for every bid and checking all the credentials submitted by the participating vendors. This leads to a longer cycle time for bid evaluation. ASTP envisages a scope here to work closely with Govt run Missions and Agencies and create a framework of assessment for training Companies which would ensure that if a training company is assessed and certified by ASTP under that framework, it would be equivalent to a company being successfully evaluated through the bid evaluation process. ASTP would try to impress upon the Missions and Agencies to accept the ASTP certification in lieu of the other prescribed bid evaluation documents. This would ensure easy participation of ASTP members who get assessed and certified in bids.
10. Roundtable and Special Interest Group Discussion: These are one / half-day seminars on specific topics, wherein an industry/domain experts are called as guests speakers. Some speaker slots could also be made available to sponsoring members. The revenue here is generated from the registration of participating members and outsiders and some sponsorship. The registration charges for members are much lower than for outsiders. ASTP intends to hold one such event per month starting August 2014.
11. Annual Seminar: The Mega event will span over 2/3 days and will have visiting delegations from other countries with the best practices in Vocational Skills Training. Revenue will be generated through registrations, ads, sponsors etc. Each year the event will be held at a different location covering all regions of the country. It is proposed that this event is held each year in December / January.