Only 30 percent of programs in our database were successful; the majority had no positive effect or the effect was most likely the result of chance. Moreover, among the successful programs the effect size was often small. This is dramatic. Most of the programs operating out there have not even been evaluated. But most likely, only a few are achieving what they were set up to doEconomist Paul Niehaus, also the founder of GiveDirectly, paraphrased this beautifully as follows
the implicit hubris in "teach a man to fish" is that we're great at fishing lessons. we're not https://t.co/WDbS0CTOZH pic.twitter.com/D8zLyjmLJj— Paul Niehaus (@PaulFNiehaus) December 13, 2016
However, there's a huge evidence from across the world that youth employment programmes don't necessarily work, in terms of providing employment and sustaining the people in jobs.
In context of India, Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu (RYK), a youth employment programme of Andhra Pradesh, implemented much before Skill India also provides some insights. In the RYK programme, a component of fee reimbursed by the government was conditional on students staying employed for a certain period of time, without dropping out. Students were dropping in few months after employment. It wasn't in control of the skill trainers. They compensated for the loss in revenue by hiring low quality trainers commensurate with the pay they receive after deducting the component related to students continuation in jobs. The incentive system thus had unintended consequences.
Pratham points out to a different set of challenges. The typical students of skill training programmes are from rural background. They face issues in obtaining housing in urban areas, getting SIM cards and adjusting to urban environment. Some of them find it difficult and hence drop out.
Further, it could also be because people aren't getting the jobs they like. They might not be satisfied with the wages and so on.