English Skills for Employability – Setting Common Standards

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

British Council, in partnership with Manipal City and Guilds, Trinity College London and the National Skills Development Agency, are proud to have launched a report that explores the role of English in the NSQF, with a particular focus on English as a Skill for Employability for entry level and semi-skilled employment in the sectors of Healthcare, Hospitality and Construction. The report also explores the facilitating role that the Common European Reference Framework (CEFR) for language can play for all languages in India, in the context of the NSQF, to improve the quality of language training and facilitate better progression in learning.

The research report ‘English Skills for Employability – Setting Common Standards’ is authored by Emma-Sue Prince, Director of Unimenta and S Manish Singh, Managing Director of PROGILENCE Capability Development Pvt. Ltd. The report was launched on 9 June at the British Council in New Delhi.

With two thirds of the region’s population below 30 years of age, employment and employability is a top developmental priority for countries in the region. Many policy making bodies view English as a key skill and one that would go a long way in improving the opportunities and employability of the large and growing mass of youth in South Asia, in a fast globalising world. 

In India, creating and formally adopting a national framework of occupational standards and qualifications through the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is an important first step to improving employability skills, up-skilling Indian workers and ensuring that the quality of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is standardised. This also ties in to the need for meaningful recognition of achievement of skills and knowledge, important for employment and progression (vertical or lateral) of workers and aspirants.

Gill Caldicott Director Operations for India, British Council said, ‘Creating an entry level on the existing Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an Indian equivalent, would provide a great incentive for aspiring language learners, particularly adults in the workplace. The British Council looks forward to collaborating further with the National Skills Development Agency, Trinity College London and Manipal City & Guilds to identify priorities emerging from the research report and to agree how they can best be implemented.’ 

John Yates, CEO, Manipal City & Guilds said, ‘Employability is a vital concept for India. It means a person’s ability to get a job, keep that job, and move on to their next job. Language and communication skills are a key foundation to employability. This important report recommends actions we can take collectively to build an India-specific framework for language and identifies a new entry level for English language skills that will be of great benefit to many industry sectors, employers and those looking for work.’

Sarah Kemp, Chief Executive, Trinity College London said, "Educational reform and improvement in a country like India might seem like too vast a problem to tackle; it is much easier to maintain the status quo rather than confronting the problem head on. But the government of India is determined to improve the employability prospects of their young population, and Trinity College London is pleased to join with British Council and Manipal City & Guilds to support research such as this which will contribute to a better understanding of the professional and communication skills that employers in India are seeking.'

Speaking on the occasion Sarah Deverall, Director Examinations Services for India, British Council said, 'The proposed creation of a Common Indian Framework of Reference for Languages could enable standards to be set for language proficiency in English and Indian languages which could then be used by employers to benchmark language and communication skills and by training providers to design and deliver curricula and assessment bodies to develop assessment tools and approaches.'

Notes to Editor

About the authors

Emma Sue Prince works in employability research and training and runs a membership website that supports teachers and trainers with materials and professional development. Her recent work in this field has included researching the link between soft skills, English language and employability in Bangladesh. She also works on large-scale funded projects focusing on teacher training and skills development in countries undergoing educational reform and works with several awarding bodies including Pearson, Trinity College London and City & Guilds. Emma Sue is a published author and her book The Advantage: the seven soft skills you need to get ahead, published by Pearson Business, and has been published in six languages. www.unimenta.com

S Manish Singh has a strong background in TVET and skills development and works with several SSCs in India in connection with National Standards and qualification development. He is a lead national consultant for a DfID-funded ‘skills for jobs’ programme focused on capacity building and providing strategic support to various SSCs, and researching and developing standards and Qualification Packs for jobs accessible by the poor across various sectors. Manish has worked extensively with City & Guilds developing qualifications for the Indian context and has substantial experience within the hospitality sector in India. He has also worked with the British Council, in the context of English Language for Vocational Purposes & Employability and Teacher Training. He is the Founder and Managing Director of PROGILENCE Capability Development Pvt. Ltd. (www.progilence.com

About Manipal City & Guilds

Manipal City & Guilds is an India-UK joint venture founded in 2009. We combine the strengths of Manipal Global Education Services, which has 60 years of steadfast focus in India’s education sector and a presence that includes 5 universities and over 30 institutions, and City & Guilds, a 137-year-old World leader in skill development that provides curriculum, course content, assessment, certification services, technology and hundreds of Internationally-recognised qualifications across over 80 countries. (www.manipalcityandguilds.com)

About the Trinity College London

Trinity College London is an international exam board that has been providing assessments since 1877. With a rich heritage of academic rigour and a positive, supportive approach to assessment, we provide recognised and respected qualifications in a unique spectrum of communicative skills — from music, drama and arts activities to English language — at all levels. Each year over 700,000 candidates in over 60 countries take a Trinity assessment and our international network is growing fast.

Trinity exams and assessments are designed to help students progress. Our exams focus on assessing skills and how effectively the candidates can apply what they have learnt, not just on knowledge for its own sake. Trinity exams are regulated by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and recognised around the world. www.trinitycollege.com

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. The British Council was established in India in 1948. The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.