“Our strength in the next few decades lies in the availability of a vast youthful workforce. But we cannot simply rest with this advantage of demography. The youth have to be suitably skilled to help realize the demographic dividend.” – Honourable President Pranab Mukherjee

Skill India – Introduction

India is the second most populous country in the world. The population of India is over 1. 28 billion which is more than a sixth of the world’s population. Around 66 percent of Indian population will be in working age group by 2022. The young country will enjoy a good economic status if it can provide a decent livelihood to its youth. Making the youth an asset or liability solely depends upon the India’s policies and its implementation.

Understanding the need of the giving a better livelihood by skilling the youth, Indian has always given emphasis to education and vocational training. Even our Government has formed a dedicated Ministry named Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to upscale the skill development training in our country. The Ministry was set up in November 2014 to drive the “Skill India” agenda in a Mission Mode to converge existing skill training initiatives and combine scale and quality of skilling efforts, with speed. The National Skill Development Mission was launched by the Ministry which seeks to skill a minimum 500 million people by the year 2022. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is also one of the public private partnership initiative of Government which is mandated to skill 150 million Indians by 2022. There are 40 Sector Skill Councils and 206 Training Partners with over 2500+ training centres of NSDC spread across 366 districts in the country.

Furniture & Fittings Skill Council is one of such Sector Skill Council of NSDC which has been promoted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and NSDC during June 2015. FFSC works for the domain of furniture & fittings.

Mission Statement of National Skill Development Mission

To rapidly scale up skill development efforts in India, by creating an end-to-end, outcome focused implementation framework, which aligns demands of the employers for a well-trained skilled workforce with aspirations of Indian citizens for sustainable livelihoods.

Role of Furniture & Fittings Skill Council

  1. a) The furniture market in India is moving towards an organised segment by increasing customer preference for readymade, branded and online products. The industry is also continuously adapting and customising its products according to the changing taste of the consumers. The role of skilled manpower is very significant for matching the standards of the industry. The industry faces challenges for getting well-trained persons. Here, FFSC works as a connecting link which mitigates the problem of industry and impart skill to the candidates. The skilled candidates can be easily absorbed by different small, medium or large companies or they can start their own ventures.
  2. b) The skill development training programme in Indian furniture industry is mostly done in an informal way, as the skill is imparted with the help of family members, relatives etc. Their working experience and skill are their proof of knowledge. FFSC identifies such skilled people and certify through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) scheme so that they can have a better advantage. The certification helps them to enter into the formal organised furniture industry.
  3. c) FFSC is developing the Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Occupational Standards (NOS) for furniture & fittings Industry.

The current QPs of FFSC are

  1. i) Assistant Carpenter- Wooden Furniture
  2. ii) Carpenter- Wooden Furniture

iii) Assistant Fitter- Modular Furniture

  1. iv) Fitter- Modular Furniture
  2. v) Lock Technician

Interior Designing, Upholstery, Wood Carving, Plastic Furniture, Metal Furniture, Bamboo Furniture are few of sub sectors for which FFSC is preparing QPs and NOS.

Corporate Skilling Centers:

FFSC is in the process of setting up Industry-owned State-of-the-Art Centres to substantially increase youth aspirations as part of the Skill India initiative. The first of these Centres is being set up with the support of the Co-Chairman of FFSC, Mr. Anil Goel in the NCR. The training facility will be a joint venture of FFSC and Hettich India Pvt. Ltd. to produce highly skilled workforce for the modular furniture industry. FFSC also wants to utilize the centre for training a few trainees from the minorities with the help of National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC).

State Skill Missions:

FFSC has taken the initiative to tie up with State Skill Missions in order to implement Industry driven training with the help of State Governments. This will enable FFSC to develop a coordinated skill ecosystem with presence in all the States which have high density of potential workforce for the woodworking and furniture sector. Each state offers its own opportunities and difficulties while implementing skill development activities and State Skill Mission can help us in identifying them. FFSC has taken the initiative to develop model content for each of its job roles and have that content translated into eight regional languages.

So far FFSC has signed MoUs with three State Skill Missions namely:

  • Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP): ASAP is the skill mission of Kerala and is reputed to have the most efficient skill ecosystem out all the skill missions
  • Rajasthan Skill and Livelihood Development Corporation (RSLDC): RSLDC was one of the first initiative from a state government towards skill development. Rajasthan being one of the key states for producing skilled workforce and ethnic designs in the furniture sector.
  • Paschmin Banga Society for Skill Development (PBSSD): PBSSD is the Skill Mission of West Bengal, a state which has the highest density of workforce of this sector.

FFSC has signed a MoU with MANAS (Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills) under Ministry of Minority Affairs and with the Ministry of Rural Development for imparting training across India.

Soon FFSC will be signing MoUs with all the states where the scope for the furniture and fittings sector is huge and hence help these states bridge the skill gap.

Women Empowerment:

Though this sector is known to predominantly employ male workforce, FFSC plans to develop Job Roles which will be suitable for both urban and rural women. Interior Designer is a Job Role which will be popular among girls from semi-urban and urban cities. As a first for this sector, one of the Training Partners of FFSC is training 11 girls in Amravati, Maharashtra for the job role of Carpenter – Wooden Furniture.

Revival of Traditional Art

Saharanpur:

Team members of FFSC visited the hub of ethnic furniture manufacturers in Saharanpur to study the market impact. The annual value of wood carving industry is pegged at about Rs 400 crore and it supports the livelihood of about 150,000 artisans.

Sheikh Faizan Ahmad, the president of the Saharanpur Wood Carving Manufacturing Association, said that over the past few decades the exports have been going down. Youngsters are more attracted towards other jobs rather than following the footsteps of traditional artisans. The art of carving is to be taught at a very young age in order to nurture the level of expertise required by the Industry. Lack of skilled artisans are limiting the growth of this industry and will gradually lead to its decline.

FFSC is in the process of setting up a training facility in Saharanpur.

Kerala:

The traditional wood carving done in temples and interior structures is slowly becoming scarce with only few institutions providing a proper training. It will be an uphill task to convince the youth who chase behind the white collar jobs to take up carving as a profession.