With the right skills, one's professional career can get off to a flying start. Skilling is essential to boost the chances of securing a good job as well as to enhance productivity in one's field of activity. The Kerala government's Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) has become a boon to higher secondary and undergraduate students for their later career and personal growth.
More than two lakh students in the state have already completed their vocational skill training with ASAP which is spearheaded by the Higher Education Department of the Kerala government. Many of them have completed their vocational training through programmes held in various districts.
A survey held among more than two lakh trainees shows that they have been able to develop their vocational skills and improve self-confidence thus increasing the job prospects.
The training network
The training under ASAP is being imparted to the students through 121 Skill Development Centres functioning in Government/Aided Higher Secondary schools, Vocational Higher Secondary schools and Arts-Science colleges in the state. In addition, the scheme has been implemented in 66 engineering colleges and 45 polytechnics.
ASAP has also set up Advanced Skill Development Centres to train students of engineering and polytechnic colleges in advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics.
As part of the efforts to bridge the gap between the new work environment and the current engineering education system, a new course curriculum is being developed with the help of the industry professionals to identify and train students as per the relevant job requirements.
As part of this, industrial labs with state-of-the-art technology such as fab labs and robotic kits are being set up at 45 government polytechnics in the state at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore. ASAP aims to develop the Advanced Skill Development Centres into a mini-industry in the future and promote the idea of gaining income along with learning by providing students with training in business models and internships.
ASAP skill classes are different from the regular academic pedagogy offered in schools and colleges. ASAP offers training in 85 skill courses aligned with the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) in 23 skill sectors.
The 150 hours mandatory internship is a hallmark of ASAP’s skill training.