Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these services are gaining fresh impetus, and as a result, they are bound to generate a sizeable number of jobs.
The importance of sanitisation services can never be overemphasised, and now for obvious reasons, they are more in demand than ever before. Patronage of sanitisation services would have spiked on account of the COVID-19 crisis, but it will manage to sustain much of this demand in a post-COVID world, as the pandemic has drilled home the necessity of keeping our living spaces disinfected, says Gayathri Vasudevan, CEO, LabourNet, a social enterprise and a fee-based training partner of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
In a collaborative effort involving LabourNet, Government of Karnataka and NSDC, modules have been created to train men and women to become Sanitisation and Hygiene Entrepreneurs (SHE). Each module covers different categories: vehicle cleaning, banks and offices, schools and anganwadis and metros and buses.
Gayathri says SHE is composed of “gig entrepreneurs”, trained to follow all SOPs, and they take up bookings. They will be given a smartphone and the company will continue to support them till they earn some revenue.
In the first phase, efforts will be focussed on getting self-help women’s groups under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) to benefit from this initiative.
“Of the 2.5 lakh panchayats in India, we are targeting 64,000 to create a huge group of people who will take up this work,” says Gayathri.
COVID-19 testing and other tracking work seem to have pushed up the need for data entry operators. Shaheen Khan, founder-director of CEDP Skill Institute in Mumbai, says they are seeing two kinds of requirements. One, for general data entry work where the individual must have a typing speed of 30 words per minute. The other is for lab technicians who are ready to upskill as they are familiar with various guidelines that go with testing.
“We have many companies asking us to send trained data entry operators so that they can be onboarded easily,” says Shaheen.
There is bound to be greater demand for at-home services relating to the wellness and grooming industry, and this demand will lead to the industry becoming more structured, feels Monica Bahl, CEO, Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council, which works under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. She says due to the pandemic, exacting standards of hygiene will be expected and these professionals should meet them to get a good number of customers. Online beauty consultation is also going to register a significant growth.
Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the Skill Council is among the first to have introduced guidelines for those working in the sector. It is also offering a free online certification course to its members on how to get used to the new normal.
Monica says any reskilling or upskilling certification programme is going to play a big role in building confidence among clients. “Even if you run a neighbourhood salon, you must get yourself certified and spread the word among customers,” Monica says the Council works with 65 industry partners across India.
Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL, an initiative under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, is another certification that is gaining importance.
“In RPL, you brush up on a skill that you have picked up on the job, by taking up a quick learning module followed by an assessment. The certification will help you negotiate for a better salary,” says Monica.
Job roles for electricians can have a broader focus, if they take up skill training in handling of new appliances like auto sanitising dispensers or UV chambers for currency sanitisation, says Nalini Kaushal, founder, SetuWorks, a consultant in the livelihood space.
“Some of the potential employment avenues for them are with government institutions and online repair services like UrbanClap and HouseJoy.”
Nalini says certain sectors will have to start “changing the narrative of traditional roles.”
“Along with experts from various industries, we are working towards creating action plans for authorities and industries to prepare for the shift in the post-Covid livelihood landscape,” she says.