In a class room even though all students may wish or dream to stand first in their annual examinations, the reality is that only one individual will win the race. There will always be a select few who will excel in studies and then there will be the ones who will just about manage to stay afloat followed by the laggards. The class teacher, no matter how hard he/she tries, knows fully well that the students who need the most attention are the laggards and the ones who just about manage to state afloat. To this end, the schools do conduct extra classes so that they at least empower their students to move ahead academically. This segregation, purely based on skills and knowledge, happens very early in life, it is only that most recognise it much later in life. Cut to the professional life, in most workplaces top performers are always at the tip of the iceberg, while bulk of the workforce either just about manages to stay afloat or are under the water. To get over this situation, most organisations, in the present day, try to hold workshops or training programmes so that the productivity, among the laggards in its workforce, reaches a level that has the least negative impact on its bottom line. To put it simply, organisations try to impart knowledge that leads to skill development and hope that the employees use the knowledge gained to increase the productivity of the organisation. What is more than heartening, in the present day, is the fact that organisations are acknowledging the reality that a certain section of its employees requires skill development and the willingness of organisations to impart the necessary training. At a more micro level, these days it is common practice for organisations to call an industry expert to train a select group of individuals. The good part is that such initiatives now are much more common.

Instances of employees being sent for management development programmes (MDPs) was always there. A move that will help employees, who fall in the laggards’ category, is that now not only are they being acknowledged by organisations but this fact is being spoken about at the various fora, so that a possible solution for the same can be worked out. To further get into the problem is to deal with the source. Why not only recruit candidates who have a certain level of skill? But are such candidates easy to find? Not really.

A round table towards “Bolstering skills in the Indian building and construction industry” was conducted with the aim of getting an idea of how deep the problem was and to come up with possible solutions that would help tide over this problem.