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Madhu.T.KIn any industry, whether IT or non IT, engaging apprentices will be regarded as an approval to take away some rights of employees conferred under labour laws. In the case of technical persons like, Turners, Welders, Machinists etc undergoing a training of one or two years in continuation to their ITI program is acceptable. But when the system of apprentice training was extended to other sectors by including Optional Trades, the system started getting misused. Earlier there were designated Trades only and the employers cannot take trainees as they wish and then put them under Apprentice Act. Now we have optional trades which allows us to engage trainees under any job. An IT company can engage Software Engineers as Apprentices and put them in regular work and pay a salary which can easily be less than what other should be paid. Moreover, there is no need to pay PF, ESI and Bonus.The period of apprentice training will not be considered as service period and therefore, it will not be counted for gratuity,if he is absorbed later on.
It is true that skill development should be given priority and we should participate in the run for skill development. If you have a facility to train a few people,that should be used. This is a fact with reference to all industries, including IT. But in practice this will not work. many employers are such that they will expect a return even from a trainee. There are many employers who actually run their business with trainees. I personally know a few companies where the number of trainees is more than their regular employees. This includes, Housekeeping trainees, security Guard Trainee and even Attender Trainee!!! Due to ignorance or fear of losing job, nobody objects. As such I don't find any merit in apprenticeship in IT companies.
From India, Kannur