FFFAI and Logistics Sector Skill Council host webinar on sensitizing Apprenticeship Programme

Mr. Shankar Shinde (centre) along with Mr. Vinod Sharma (on his right) and Mr. Tej Contractor (on his left)

Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India (FFFAI) and Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC) jointly organized a webinar “Awareness Workshop on Apprenticeship Training” for creating awareness amongst the member organizations of FFFAI on 12th September 2023.

Mr. Shankar Shinde, Chairman, FFFAI chaired the webinar. The panellists of the webinar were Mr. Sudhir Agarwal, Treasurer and OB in charge, Skill Development Committee, FFFAI; Mr. Dushyant Mulani, Chairman Elect, FFFAI; Mr. Tej Contractor, President, IIFF; Dr. T.C. Saravanabava, Head Apprenticeship, LSC, and Mr. Anthony Coelho, Vice President, LSC. Also present on this occasion was Mr. Vinod Sharma, Secretary, FFFAI. A large number of FFFAI Member organisations from across the country participated in the webinar. The core objective of the webinar implementation of Apprenticeship training in the FFFAI member organizations.

Dr T.C. Saravanabava highlighted that Apprenticeship Training is one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, and efficient mode of formal training. The National Apprenticeship Act was enforced in the year 1959 at first on the voluntary cause. The bill was presented before the parliament during 1961 and was enforced from 1st January 1963. The act was amended twice in 1973 and 1986. There are 38 sections and one schedule. The schedule is in regard to the adjustments in Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 with reference to its application to students under the Apprentices Act, 1961.

For the administration of Apprentices Act, 1961 in relation to trade apprentices under Central Government and Department, lies with the Central Apprenticeship Advisor/Director of Apprenticeship Training in the DGE&T, Ministry of Labour and Employment with the help of six Regional Directorate of Apprenticeship Training (RDATs).

The main objective of the Apprentices Act, 1961 was to meet the rising need for a proficient craftsman. To provide experimental training to the people whore specialized in their crafts is the main objective of the act. As per the announcement of the central government, in any industry or any area these provisions are applicable. The act clarifies the connection between the various employers and apprentices. The apprentices are not dealt in the same way as employees. The act aims to make provisions for health, protection welfare, and many others for apprentices. It also includes the dispute management arising out of the agreement between the employers and the apprentices.

The Act underlines apprentices to be the ones who receive apprenticeship or practical training under an apprenticeship scheme for a specified duration. The person undergoing the training must be of 14 years of age, and in case of special safety requirement, the minimum age requirement is 18 years. Other than the aforementioned qualification, extra qualifications may be prescribed for special trades and special categories of apprentices.

The government has brought comprehensive amendments in the Act and made it more attractive for both industry and the youth. The government brought the service sector under the ambit of apprenticeship and introduced optional trades for engaging apprentices in the service sector. To promote apprenticeship training and to increase the engagement of apprentices in the service sector, the government of India had introduced the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). The scheme is for sharing of 25 per cent of prescribed stipend subject to a maximum of INR 1500/- per month per apprentice to all apprentices with the employers. Eligible employers shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5 per cent to 15 per cent of the total strength of the establishment including contractual workers. During no month the number of apprentices should be less than 2 per cent, and more than 18 per cent in a financial year.

The choice of selecting the candidates is free to the employers. There is an apprentice portal of the government also where the employers can be registered to get candidates. Otherwise they can also select through internal circular and put it in the portal as well. Both employers as well as apprentices should be registered in the portal. The employer shall disclose the intention of engagement of apprentices on portal sites every quarter.

Employers should engage apprentices to fulfil mandatory requirements. They should utilize the opportunities available and engage the apprentice to the maximum extent of 15% and avail the benefits of NAPS. Employer should conduct assessment to the apprentices at the end of their apprenticeship training and certify them jointly with LSC.

As per the Section 30 of the Act, if any employer contravenes the provision of the Act relating to the number of apprentices which he is required to engage under the provisions, shall be given a notice. In case the employer fails to reply or authority is not satisfied with the reason given by the employer, he shall be punishable with a fine of INR 500 per month per apprentice for the first three months, and thereafter INR 1000 per month per apprentice till such number of seats are filled.

LSC, which is established by the Ministry of Skill development, Government of India, has been constantly advocating and promoting Apprenticeships across all stakeholders. The Government of India nominated LSC’s CEO as the Joint apprenticeship advisor for implementation of apprenticeship training in the logistics sector. LSC has developed 42 Optional Trades that encompass all its sub sectors including EXIM and is made available for the apprenticeship training.

Shedding light on the critical role being played by LSC and tie up of FFFAI with this organization Mr. Shinde reiterated full support to the apprenticeship programme through sensitizing its 6500 members represented by 31 Members associations across the country. He pointed out that when a significant number of apprentices are engaging themselves in apprenticeship, the number of skilled and trained individuals would eventually increase. As a result of which employers are getting skilled employers which proves to be beneficial for the company with a minimum training cost incurred. He also emphasized on the compliance side that needs to be taken care of by the employers to fulfill the objectives of this great initiative. The FFFAI Chairman invited the members to register on the apprenticeship portal, implement apprenticeship training in their establishment and avail benefits under the scheme.

Proposing vote of thanks Mr. Sudhir Agarwal said that India needs effective efforts to fill the gap of trained manpower. The government’s initiatives through LSC in this regard are very commendable. This is beneficial especially for the non-metro cities. There should be many more programmes to make the apprenticeship/training exercise a grand success to cater to the requirements of the logistics industry.