The project supported Punjab Government through use of an apprenticeships toolkit to identify and address challenges to strengthen apprenticeships training and engagement of apprentices in the state.  In addition, it supported five national level private skills training institutions to champion responsive and inclusive skills provision and develop frameworks and piloting projects that innovate in employer-led education.  A model using cluster groups for peer support and learning with representation from five countries helped build capacities of the TVET leaders and practitioners of the institutions.


I-Work addresses the ‘a fairer future’ theme of the Commonwealth Summit with emphasis on promoting the interests of60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population who are under 25. The objective of the project is to improve employment prospects of young people. 


The Indian labour market is complex and huge. By 2028, it is predicted that India will have the world’s largest workforce with enormous economic potential for the country. It is skills and knowledge of this young population which will be the driving force for economic growth and social development. 

One of the most effective means to provide market relevant skills by combining on-the-job training with off-the-job learning is through apprenticeships.  World over, apprenticeships seek to bridge the needs of the industry with relevant skills acquisition through employers’ proactive involvement.  

The Government of India enacted the Apprenticeship Act in 1961 for training of trade apprentices and there have been many amendments since.  The 2014 amendment was a landmark decision which made it obligatory for employers to engage apprentices in designated trades and in optional trades.  Further amendments made in 2015 show mixed response on ground as States are at different stages of putting this policy into action.


For the apprenticeships strand, the project partnered with the state government of Punjab to support them in its effort to strengthen apprenticeships training and engagement of apprentices in the state. Using the I-Work Apprenticeships toolkit, the British Council in consultation with the Punjab government identified the following areas to address through the project:

  • insufficient information flow and awareness to industry
  • lack of industry involvement in the formulation of policies and practices relating to apprenticeships
  • low participation from Training Providers and trainees, leading to absence of quality trainers and ineffective employer engagement.

A two-pronged communication and engagement approach was used, which equipped the state government departments to strategically drive the programme on one hand, and on the other, several workshops were held at the local level to directly engage stakeholders in driving greater participation and adoption. Within a short duration of one year, the project was successful in achieving the following outputs:

1. Increased awareness about the apprenticeships policy in the state through a series of stakeholder engagement workshops.

2. Increased employer registration on the apprenticeships portal with increased engagement and information dissemination among employers/industry

3. Development of knowledge resources for the stakeholders for the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS).

  • A communication and engagement strategy for the state government to support outreach and engagement of stakeholders.
  • An employer’s guide as an easy reference to apprenticeships systems.
  • Handbook for apprenticeship advisors as a ready reckoner to effectively engage with employers.

4. Return on Investment (ROI) study to support the state to augment the engagement and outreach with the industry.

5. Inter-state partnerships forged between Punjab and Maharashtra for curriculum development and sharing of best practice following the study visit of Punjab government delegation to Maharashtra.

To access these knowledge resources, download them from the section below.


Under the partnerships strand, the project partnered with private Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to develop innovative approaches to improve employment prospects of young people. 

The project convened the TVET leaders and practitioners to work face to face in clusters.  Each cluster had representatives from Ghana, Malaysia, India, South Africa and UK. Under the leadership of the UK skills institutes, each of the training organisations undertook pilot projects to innovate employer-led education and developed ‘skills training centres’ to act as focal point hubs to champion responsive and inclusive skills provision. The private skills training organisations were supported through seed grants, international partnership and leadership exchange to develop action projects that link employers with educators.

The project worked closely with the following private skill training organisations across the country:

  • BASIX Academy for Building Life-ling Employability (B-ABLE)
  • Empower Pragati Vocational and Training Private Limited
  • Gram Tarang Employability Training Services Pvt. Ltd.
  • Sambhav Foundation (LabourNet)
  • Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF)

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What our stakeholders say

Thankful to the British Council for partnering with the Government of Punjab in strengthening Apprenticeships - Charanjit Singh Channi, Minister of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Government of Punjab

The workshop has created awareness among the industrial units about apprenticeships and the benefits of NAPS. As an outcome, I got my unit registered and have taken the initiative to arrange another workshop in a nearby unit - Ajit Lakra, Managing Director of Superfine Knitters Ludhiana

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