Assam Skill University, the country’s third such institution, will function from this year, Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said.

The ADB-funded $112 million university campus will come up at Mangaldai. Till the complex comes up, the university will function from a temporary campus, Patowary told The Assam Tribune, adding that the process to appoint the vice chancellor and other academic and administrative faculty is on.

According to the initial plan, the university will offer courses on varied subjects like agriculture and allied activities, bamboo and tea, design and media, engineering, food processing, healthcare, business and services, short-term training, tourism and hospitality, wellness and care, vertical transportation and logistics, etc.

Patowary said the university will also introduce latest courses on Industry 4.0 – the current trend of Artificial Intelligence automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and cloud computing.

He said that for businesses to stay afloat in this era of rapid change, the approach is to focus on skilling, upskilling and reskilling, treating their workforce as flexible rather than only seeing each employee in a set role. “This allows them to transform and upgrade their workforce without having to hire anybody new, allowing them to meet the challenges of modern-day business better. The Assam Skill University plans to fulfill this role for industries in the Northeastern states as well as for the other states of India. In the initial period, some highly skilled faculty and trainers shall be brought in, especially from Japan and South Korea for the university on contractual basis for bringing in the much needed skills and knowledge for making the institution a centre of international excellence,” the minister said.

Under four separate schemes, the Assam Skill Development Mission (ASDM) has so far trained 77,311 youths, of which 43,770 have been placed. The youths were trained through 193 training partners in 761 centres across 35 sectors and 179 job roles.

Also, the first academic session of the North East Skill Centre – set up in collaboration with ITE, Singapore – has started in food and beverage services, retail services, housekeeping and beauty and wellness with students enrolled from across the North East. Admission for the second batch is also complete, the minister said.

He said career counselling centres have been set up in the districts in the existing Employment Exchange offices to meet the queries of educated unemployed youth of Assam. In a bid to modernise the Employment Exchanges, online registration has also been introduced.

He stated that new trade courses have been included in ITIs as per the skilled manpower requirement of the new industries coming up in Assam as well as that in the country. Meanwhile, construction of hostels in ITIs has began in a phased manner to turn the ITIs into full-fledged technical institutes.

“The world is changing more rapidly than ever before. It seems that every week brings with it a new technology, app, trend or method of working that renders what came before it obsolete. The Assam Skill Department is regularly carrying out surveys of the skill requirements for the Industries in Assam,” he said.

On the innovative ‘Karagar Se Karigar’ scheme, he said the ASDM has started the scheme in association with the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship at the Central Jail, Guwahati with the job role of bamboo utility handicraft assembler under the handicraft sector. Three batches have completed training, and Patowary said that after the highly satisfactory feedback on the successful self-employment of the rehabilitated ex-convicts, this programme is being introduced in the other jails of the state.