'Proficiency in soft skills vital for current job market'

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Proficiency in soft skills is a requisite for the current job market and the youth should come forward and avail such courses at different skill imparting institutions established across Jammu and Kashmir, officials told Greater Kashmir.

“We are focusing on creating job avenues in Jammu and Kashmir. Not just in technical capabilities such as understanding emerging technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence etc, proficiency in soft skills is a requisite for current job market,” Principal Secretary to the Government, Skill Development Department, Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon said. He said that the department was focusing to achieve more synergy between academic, technical institutions, local unit holders and outside industries to address the huge gap in supply and demand in the market.

“There are many sectors in J&K such as horticulture, power etc wherein there is demand for skilled manpower and for that we have to train our youth for performing such jobs,” he said.

Underlining the importance of creating value chain and human capital development, he said, “We are aiming to align the local skill courses with the national and international standards so that our trained youth can compete for the jobs available in the competitive job market,” he said, adding “We are aiming to focus on innovation and policy advocacy for enhancing skill landscape in J&K.”

Meanwhile the officials said that around 16000 students are undergoing skill training in different trades through government-run initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir.

Director, Department of Skill Development Department, Sajad Hussain Ganai, told Greater Kashmir that the government has been taking several initiatives for engaging college-going youth under various trade and skill enhanced courses. This, he said would bring skill education to the new heights.

“We have directed 700 PMKVY centres to impart training to over 16000 students and for that the target has also been allotted,” the director said.

“The other 1700 students are enlisted under 28 courses for various trades across many centres in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The director said that the government also facilitated several government-run Polytechnic Colleges to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with few “top-notch” academies and universities for further enhancement of skills. He said that Government Polytechnic College Jammu recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICT Academy, Chennai to enhance the skills of the polytechnic students in latest technologies for better employability. The MoU has been signed under Jammu & Kashmir Employability Enhancement Training (JEET) scheme sponsored by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The director, said that the purpose of this MoU with ICT Academy under Jammu & Kashmir Employability Enhancement Training (JEET) scheme, sponsored by AICTE for J&K UT is to enhance the competency of the Engineering and Technical students by imparting skill training on latest technologies through ICT Academy.

 “We are working with an aim to achieve better socio-economic conditions for youth as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment, J&K Skill Development Mission,” he said.

The importance of developing skilled youth was at the core of this year’s message for World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) focused on the theme “Skills for a Resilient Youth”. The director said that keeping in view the current situation due to Covid-19 pandemic, J&K Skill Development Mission (JKSDM) organised webinars on various topics related to skill development and continued to engage students for skilled based courses.

“Our aim is to provide adequate training in market relevant skills to youth. We need to create opportunities for the gainful employment of youth and improve overall scope of underdeveloped sectors,” he said.

According to the director, the Government’s vision and plan for sustained agriculture growth and farmers’ welfare is to introduce them to the new trends in the market. “We have designated 2 ITIs as farm centers or ITIs for imparting skill-based training to the farmers and aspiring agriculturists, horticulturists and people associated with this sector,” the director said. “Government is planning to train the youth in this sector which will not only upskill them but it will also help in rebooting the economy of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

‘Counter Currents’

With the rise of start-ups in various sectors, the budding entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts said that Jammu and Kashmir “lacks the vibrant ecosystem” for the start-ups—which according to them is forcing many to shut their businesses before it could take off. “World over, things are changing and so is the mind-set of their governments toward helping and handholding the upcoming businesses,” said, a group of budding entrepreneurs. They said, however in Jammu and Kashmir, unfortunately, things don’t go according to the wishes and aspirations of the budding entrepreneurs. “There are a lot of lip services by the official machinery and less concrete things on the ground.”