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Excerpt: With this issue we will be focusing on the activities of Paints & Coatings Skill Council through this dedicated page

With this issue we will be focusing on the activities of Paints & Coatings Skill Council through this dedicated page.

The Background

About five years ago, The Indian Paint Association had submitted a proposal to National Skill Development Corporation to establish a Sector Skill Council to achieve the following objectives:-

  • to increase awareness of the need to use qualified and trained applicators for coatings
  • to help create an investment climate for Skill development
  • to develop and maintain standards in the Skills required for the Coatings Sector
  • to provide industry requirements of current and future Skills to Vocational and other Educational institutions, and
  • to be the authoritative voice on Skill development issues in all the sectors of coatings usage.

National Skill Development Corporation based on the Project Proposal agreed to provide financial assistance through a Grant Agreement dated 6th January 2016.

Paint and Coatings Skill Council, which was incorporated on 8th October 2015, as a not for profit company, was charged with the responsibility to execute this project.

The Paint and Coatings Industry

The Paint and Coatings industry is an important and dynamic part of our nation's economy and plays a key role in creating products that help preserve and protect everything, from our everyday objects to our most important infrastructure.

Paint industry is a growth premium industry. Per capita consumption in India at 3.23 kgs is still way below that of many developed and developing countries. This and increasing urbanisation, growth of nuclear families and increase in disposable income will propel the growth of the paint industry. It is estimated that the paint industry will grow at 10%-12% CAGR till 2022. Architectural Painting/ Decorative Painting constitutes 75% market share of the paint industry of which repainting for decorative purposes constitutes about 70% of this paint demand. Industrial Paints - such as Automotive Refinish, General Industrial Paints, Powder Coating and Protective and Marine Paints – constitute 25% of the demand. These market segments are all poised for healthy growth due to expected high growth in infrastructure, increasing urbanisation, environmental regulations and rise in disposable income.

Though a very large share of the market rests with very few companies, the Paint & Coatings Industry in India is characterised by the presence of large number of medium and small companies. A few other critical features of the market are as follows: -

  • Paint applicators are largely in the informal sector. Priority is to recognize prior learning and then upgrade skills and impart professionalism through upskilling learning modules and appropriate bridge courses.
  • Profile and skill set for applicators need major improvement in all the sub-sectors of the paints and coatings sector viz; household painter, wood polisher, industrial painter, marine painter, automotive refinish painter and powder coater. Application is critical & a key factor – what customers buy is paint and what they want is a finish.
  • Due to a healthy outlook and growth forecast, the challenge of ever widening skill gaps needs to be urgently addressed.
  • Manufacturers & applicators are coping with stricter environmental standards. Large number of MSMEs will require Sector Skill Council's assistance in improving quality and productivity
  • Need for development of industry linked curriculum will increase as the National Apprentice Promotion Scheme rolls out successfully.

Paints & Coatings Skill Council

Paints and Coatings Skill Council commenced its operations in 2015. The Indian Paint Association is the chief promoter along with a few major paint companies.

Apart from organisation building, PCSC has so far achieved the following: -

  • It has developed curriculum and content books for twenty job roles which are available in five languages.

Qualifying Packs having NSQF approval have been developed for the following job roles: -

  • It has, through its Training Partners, affiliated 56 Training Centres across India.
  • PCSC has presently 20 Assessment Bodies affiliated to it
  • PCSC has participated in Painting and Decorating competitions as a prelude to participation in World Skills 2019. PCSC has organised Industry training for the finalists with help from Berger Paints and Mirca Ltd.
  • It has developed all course material by collaborating with leading experts from the industry. PCSC has also developed five short videos to explain practical aspects of application
  • It has in its repository Standardized Question Banks developed by experts for use by all Assessment agencies.
  • PCSC participates in all industry meetings and gatherings as a part of advocacy initiatives.
  • It has also participated actively with industry members in exhibitions, Skill melas and job fairs.
  • PCSC has launched the 'Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL4) for Best In Class Employees' programme with on-line assessments.
  • PCSC also works closely with many State Skill missions. PCSC has recently concluded a major RPL programme with the Tamil Nadu State Development Corporation partnering with Nippon Paints.

PCSC envisages for itself a very critical role in enhancing quality and productivity through Skill development and training. The repainting segment of Architectural painting needs major enhancements in productivity and quality. The Skills gap in non-architectural segments viz., automotive refinish, general industrial painting, powder coating and protective and marine painting is significant and needs systematic training and skill upgradation. Introduction of newer technologies and newer painting techniques to enhance quality and productivity will also require skill upgradation.

Paints and Coatings Skill Sector (PCSC) will be the engine to drive the Skill requirement for the entire Paints and Coatings industry. Continual identification of Skill gaps, developing content and curriculum and rolling out short term training, upskilling and recognition of prior learning programmes will require focussed attention and commitment. Paint companies and major manpower providers can and should use PCSC as an enabler to deliver quality training to painters and in the implementation of the RPL programme.

Challenges and way forward

During the last six months, I have had the opportunity of meeting many stakeholders who, I believe, play or can play a crucial role in developing the Skill eco-system relevant to the Paints and Coatings Industry. It has been a journey which has also made me acutely aware of the following issues:-

  • The Skilling eco-system in the Paints & Coatings Industry is largely at a nascent stage, still evolving and there is a lot of work to do.
  • On one hand we have Paint manufacturers and Large Paint Applicators seeking skilled manpower in their respective areas of operations, and on the other we have a large pool of untrained people seeking employment.
  • There are Skill Development Institutions which has the potential to house the necessary infrastructure for specialized skill training but lack the funding and the thrust from other stakeholders.
  • While a large number of NGOs working on the ground can mobilise potential beneficiaries, a job in the Paints & Coatings Sector is undervalued and not aspirational
  • There is an urgent requirement to recognise and assess the skill levels available in the informal sector through a process of formal certification
  • There is also a need to deliver, in a practical way, appropriate upskilling modules for skill enhancement which will contribute towards productivity and quality output.
  • There is a need to recognise and monetize the value of upskilling.

Tackling these issues and eliciting the interest and involvement of stakeholders who can contribute to resolving some of them calls for dedicated attention, a missionary zeal and high level of advocacy. PCSC has a large role to play in this. But we need the help of large Industry players, the commitment of Medium and Small Industry partners and continued guidance and support of all the nodal agencies of the Government, especially NSDC.

But what is heartening is that there is a will to change the landscape on the part of all interested stakeholders and PCSC is fortunately placed in an enviable situation of assuming the role of being the bridge that can connect the loose ends and enlist the support of all stakeholders in making the skill eco-system of the Paints & Coatings Industry robust.

Author Details

Jagdish Acharya

CEO, PCSC

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