English Skills for Employability Think Tank

A British Council and National Skills Development Agency Initiative

In 2008-09, the Government of India launched the National Skills Development Council (NSDC), set up as part of a national skill development mission to fulfil the growing need in India for skilled manpower across sectors, and to narrow the existing gap between the demand and supply of skills.

Research conducted by the NSDC indicates skills gaps both in functional, vocational and workplace skills as well as soft skills, with English featuring as an essential skill to complement core domain skills in over half of the 21 focus sectors such as IT and ITES, media, hospitality, beauty and wellness, retail, financial services and healthcare. (NSDC Skill Gap Analysis Reports)

With a view to addressing the growing need for English Skills for Employability in India, the British Council and Mr S Ramadorai, Chairman of the National Skills Development Agency (NSDA), invited key UK and Indian stakeholders to join an English Skills for Employability (ESfE) Think Tank.


The objective of the ESfE Think Tank is to provide a platform for UK and Indian stakeholders to discuss needs, share experiences and identify ways of working together to address the key priorities emerging from the discussions.

The British Council and the National Skills Development Agency will jointly convene a series of Think Tank meetings during which UK and Indian stakeholders will discuss and identify key priorities. These will then be followed up through projects and / or further discussed during smaller specialist and focussed round table meetings.

ESfE Think Tank participants

The Think Tank will be attended by representatives of government bodies, Sector Skills Councils, private and public organisations and academic institutions with a role to play in the development of the English Skills for Employability sector. 


English Skills for Employability - Setting Common Standards

British Council, in partnership with Manipal City & Guilds, Trinity College London and the National Skills Development Agency have launched a research report at the British Council, New Delhi on 9 June. The report explores the role of English in the National Skills Qualification Framework (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 report is available in the 'Downloads' section below.

Past events

Meeting I: 20 September 2013

The first Think Tank meeting was held in Mumbai on the 20 September 2013. At that meeting, it was agreed that the round table discussions should focus on the five key priority areas of:

  • Standards and assessment
  • Curricula and content
  • Delivery mechanisms
  • Faculty and assessor development
  • Business and funding models.

Roundtable: 17 December 2013

A round table meeting was held on the 17 December 2013 to discuss issues and challenges around the first theme of standards and assessment.

Meeting II: 16 January 2014

The second English Skills for Employability Think Tank meeting was held at the British Council in New Delhi on the 16 January 2014.

The summary and action points for these meetings are available in the 'Downloads' section.

English Skills for Employability – First Research Committee Meeting: 23 June 2014

On 23 June 2014, in New Delhi, the members of the English Skills for Employability Think Tank research committee will came together to discuss and address the research agenda that has emerged from the think tank interactions to date. The recommendations for action were as follows:

  1. To develop a new entry level within the context of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), that recognises achievement pre level A1. The group felt that this was necessary for a number of sectors, such as healthcare and construction, and would act as an important motivator for students to acquire language skills in the vocational context in India.
  2. To conduct action research with three Sector Skills Councils (for example Construction, Healthcare and IT/ITES) to develop a white paper on how the linguistic levels of the CEFR (including the new pre-A1 level) could be best integrated into vocational qualifications developed under the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF).

For further details write to Vernon D'souza, Head Partnerships - English for Education Systems, British Council India.