Even as the National Skill Development Council has set itself an ambitious target of training 25 million youth for various skill-based jobs in the next 10 years, it faces myriad challenges. On one end there is low motivation and desire among youth to enlist in these programmes, and on the other, is the challenge of assessing their employability. The recently launched STAR scheme hopes to rope in a million youth by offering each one a scholarship of Rs 10,000 on finishing the course.
What is little known is that, for the first time in the country, the trained youth will take up online exams for these ‘blue-collared’ jobs, similar to the assessments in the corporate world. Banking on the native intelligence of these youth (who are mostly high-school graduates), STAR’s programme managers have enlisted leading online simulator-based assessment player, Mettl, to take on the challenge of designing tests that be taken online, from any remote location. These tests are expected to identify the employability levels of the candidate far more accurately than the manual ones. Currently, Mettl tests skills for the automobile and ancillary industries – which employ the largest number of vocationally trained youth, in the country.
We catch up with Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-founder at Mettl for a quick Q & A to understand how Mettl is progressing and their thoughts on online assessments to aid with blue collar worker employability.
How far has Mettl progressed with developing the online assessment for blue collared workers?
Mettl has been listed as an assessment company under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India’s The National Skills Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme which is aimed at training and assessing a million young people for blue collared jobs in India. Mettl’s online assessment platform is being actively used across multiple sectors to assess people for blue collared jobs. Various sector skills councils such as Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), Telecom Sector Skill Council and Gem & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) among others are using the Mettl platform.
What are the skills for which online tests are being developed? What would you describe as the challenges in this process?
The platform is being used to assess a wide variety of skills across job roles such as machining assistant, customer relation executive, service technician, in-store operator, customer care executive-call centre among others. Some of the challenges faced are :
- Automation: Assessments for some job roles can be fully automated through an online test. For others it’s still a partial assessment going online. Our goal is to cover maximum skill areas and job roles and automate the assessment process entirely in the future.
- Multilingual Options: As a section of candidates are from low literacy level, we have to continuously work on supporting multilingual online assessment options.
What steps would Mettl software take to ensure that the blue collared workers are comfortable taking tests online?
Mettl would be taking following steps :
- Keeping the user interface simple and intuitive
- Different question formats: Images, Audio, Video based questions which required minimal reading/writing
- Multilingual question text options
What role of online assessments do you see to solve the employability issues in skill based jobs?
The kind of required scale (target of NSDC to train and assess 500 million people in India by 2022) can only be achieved efficiently if we gradually move towards online assessments. Online assessments can bring in a great degree of reliability & efficiency to the assessment process:
- Question paper randomization and skill mapping options make the assessment more authentic
- Using Mettl’s advanced remote proctoring the need of physical test centres can be eliminate in the future.