India is poised at a moment in history when a much brighter future for its entire people is within its reach.

India’s population is huge at 1.25 billion. It’s fast expanding rate, will soon make India’s population equal to 17% of the total world population and integrate rapidly into the global economy.

With 356 million 15-24 year-olds, India has the world’s largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China as per the UN report from November 2014. With 54 per cent of India’s population being 25 or below, India can reap the demographic dividend through right skilling. Unfortunately, currently less than 5 per cent of our potential workforce gets formal skill training to be employable. In a report last year, the Finance Ministry said that if that growing workforce does not develop skills soon, the country could instead face “a demographic nightmare”.

As per Bank of America report 2013, 75% of the workforce in India (both rural and urban) does not possess the marketable skills needed to get a job, yet alone sustain a successful career. Experts predict that the global shortage of skilled manpower will stand at approximately 56.5 million by 2020. Therefore, bridging this “skills gap” (through the various skill development initiatives) could make India the global hub for skilled manpower. In addition, India has the highest potential to meet the skill gap with its large, young, English speaking population.

To address the need to develop the employment skills required by the economy, the Indian government developed the National Skill Development Initiative in 2009, in an attempt to push forward the skills development agenda.

“National Skill Development Policy will empower all individuals through improved skills, knowledge, nationally and internationally recognized qualifications to gain access to decent employment and ensure India’s competitiveness in the global market.”

As a result of the National Skill Development Policy, today there are numerous collaborations between the national and state governments and the non-profit and for-profit sectors providing access and opportunity for skills development across the Indian economy.