03rd September 2014

Image: Skills for Health International work.India is the second most populous country in the world with over 1.2 billion people. Current estimates suggest that by 2025 it will be the most populous country, surpassing China. It is also a very young country with 75% of the population less than 35 years old. With economic growth over the last few years around 5%, and beginning to rise again, India's path to becoming a high performance nation will be shaped by its ability to impart market-relevant business and vocational skills to its youth. The Indian government is already taking steps to meet their aim of training about 500 million people in vocational skills by 2022.

Skills for Health has been involved in this process within the Indian healthcare sector for a number of years. Initially, through the British Council, we contributed to the discussions that led to the establishment of the new Healthcare Sector Skills Council (HSSC) in India, signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Skills for Health and HSSC in 2013. This has already led to a joint project between Skills for Health, HSSC, Highbury College, Burton and South Derbyshire College and Max Healthcare in India. This project is developing the curriculum for training for three newly defined roles: anaesthesia technician, diabetes educator and home carer roles.

The political situation in India has changed significantly with the recent elections. In August 2014, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, invited Skills for Health to join him and his delegation, as he led the first UK Trade delegation since the new government in India was elected. As Nick Clegg noted, "India needs to equip its growing young population with the right skills for the best jobs: the UK has the world-class education sector to help India's government do it."

Brian Payne, Director for International Development at Skills for Health, joined Nick Clegg and his delegation in visiting New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Whilst there, Bryan also met a wide range of educationalists, industrialists and healthcare experts discussing ways in which Skills for Health could assist in the huge task of up-skilling healthcare staff. This included detailed discussions with one company looking to establish an innovative Home Healthcare service initially in Chennai and subsequently nationwide. Further, He was able to meet with the Indian Healthcare Sector Skills Council to review progress on the existing joint project and to identify further opportunities for joint work.

Skills for Health - International Work
Currently Skills for Health is in discussions with organisations in New Zealand, Australia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to develop further projects. We are proud to say our international work began in India. We remain committed to building mutually beneficial commercial relationships with the public and private sectors in India in supporting the upskilling of the healthcare workforce of India.