Swiss Vocational Education and Training Day 2015

By Indraneel Ghosh, Senior Thematic Advisor – Embassy of Switzerland in India

The Swiss VET Initiative India (SVETII) was launched as a pilot project on the occasion of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Indo-Swiss bilateral friendship treaty in 2008. It started as a public-private initiative and aimed at transferring elements which were identified as being of systemic relevance to the Swiss vocational education and training system to India. Considered as a success, the pilot project has by now been implemented by a dozen of enterprises. In order to scale up the project, the initiative was presented to a wider audience of stakeholders and potential partners, with the objectives of showcasing the Swiss VET model and Switzerland’s expertise in this field; promoting and disseminating the Swiss VET initiative to potentially interested partners in India and presenting specific initiatives of Swiss skill development in India. The detailed programme is available here.

Organised in close partnership with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, the National Skill Development Corporation, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Skillsonics, the invitees to the event included representatives from the Government (both at the federal and State level); Sector Skill Councils representatives; Indian industrialists/entrepreneurs, including SMEs and representatives from skill development institutions; representatives from industry associations. About 120 persons attended the event.

Welcoming the audience the Swiss Federal Councillor Mr Schneider-Amman (speech read out on his behalf), mentioned the origin of the Swiss Vocational Education and Training Initiative India and its aims. He mentioned the constructive exchange that he had with Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy and the appreciation of both sides for its success.

In his keynote address H.E. Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of the Government of India mentioned that there was a paradigm shift in India with the new Government and skill development which had been neglected in the last 60 years in India was now getting center stage as India tries to skill 500 million people by the year 2022. He lauded the Swiss VET model and wished to see an Indo-Swiss Joint Working Group to address cooperation in this area.

H.E. Dr Linus von Castelmur, Ambassador of Switzerland to India then made a presentation on Switzerland’s International cooperation in Vocational and Professional Education and Training and the relevance of Swiss VET for India and its main achievements.

In his address, Mr Subramaniam Ramadorai, Chair of the National Skill Development Agency said that Switzerland has truly been a role model country in vocational education training and that the Swiss dual-track VET forms the foundation of a strong economic performance in Switzerland. He called for a collaborative approach for skilling India and said that it is imperative that India collaborates with countries like Switzerland to make India more competitive. He also said that, apart from skill development, there were a few other areas where India and Switzerland could work together for the ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

The opening addresses were followed by a panel discussion on the theme Skilling India to meet its development goals: contributions from Switzerland which was articulated around four themes:

• needs of Indian industry in terms of skill development
• what India is already doing to skill its workforce
• what Switzerland could offer in terms of skill development to India
• Swiss VET as a game changer in skilling India and the experience in using the Swiss VET training.

The panel discussion was followed by a lively 30 minute session of questions from the audience.

The event that has generated a lot of interest was very well received both by the speakers and the audience. For many it was their first exposure to the Swiss VET system and they were quite impressed. Many expressed the wish to interact with Swiss VET actors in India in order to introduce the model in their enterprises. The event ended with a networking dinner.

For more pictures of the event click here.