Effective Implication Of Skill Development Studies At Early Stage
"Education cannot be replaced with skilling and both should be differentiated and understood as two parallel tracks upon which an individual’s career is shaped."
Employability and Empowerment: Leadership’s key responsibilities
Today, India has one of the largest youth populations and multi-generational workforces in the world. Around 2 crore youth will join the workforce every year in the foreseeable future. They may come from diverse backgrounds, but they all have one striking commonality – they want to be employable and have a good quality of life. Leaders across spectrums have the responsibility to empower as many communities as possible by strategizing programs and platforms that tangibly impact the lives of the youth of today who represent the future.
Bridging the ‘skills gap’: The importance of early-stage skills development
The skills gap that exists in the industry today cannot be ignored. Diverse industries are speaking out about how there is a fundamental mismatch between the skills that employers rely upon in their employees and the skills that job seekers possess. This mismatch poses the challenge for individuals to find a job and for employers to get the right talent. The success of skilling programs is influenced by the level of receptivity and skilling readiness of students. How much can they learn? More importantly, how much should they unlearn? If adequate skills development is introduced early on in their educational journey, there is less to unlearn, making the entire process more seamless and efficient for all.
Coming together of an ecosystem: Cognizance and Communication
The entire ecosystem – industry, education and government must come together to prepare youth for the digital future. This can be made possible through cognizance and collaboration.
Cognizance: The ecosystem must continue to evolve to understand the psychology behind learning. While children aged 8 experience rapid cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development and learn the fastest, adolescents are deeply influenced by their environment with students in middle and high school needing opportunities to develop deeper learning competencies such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between the development of cognitive abilities the access to opportunities for problem-solving. Research suggests that the neural networks in the brains of adolescents develop when they are given opportunities to perform complex mental tasks which aids cognition, emotion-regulation and memory skills. Students who do not have access to these opportunities will find it challenging to engage in higher-order thinking as adults. Hence, it is the responsibility of the ecosystem to understand learning behaviours and ensure that students are given age-appropriate learning skills that challenge them adequately to develop holistically.
Collaboration: The eco-system – industry, education and government should communicate about what they can do to support one another. When the industry updates the educational sector on what skills are relevant and what requirements are needed, it enables them to upgrade the curriculum to deliver what is needed. Finally, collaboration goes a long way in establishing programs and platforms that propel change which brings tangible results.
HCL TechBee, an ‘early career program’ is one such collaborative effort that has resulted in one of the most practical hybrid learning programs in the industry today. Through such programs, students are given the opportunity to learn and practically apply what they are learning in the classroom in a ‘live’ workplace during a day. They take their learning seriously because it will be practically tested at the end of the day and learning is fun because they are exposed to real-time skills that the industry needs now! The chance to ‘earn while they learn’ seeds fiscal responsibility from a young age.
Great Indian philosophers like Chanakya have propagated practical approaches to learning from ancient times itself. The idea behind the concept of skilling is to ‘plant the seed’ of a practical approach to learning from a young age and train young minds to absorb what they need to be efficient while seeking livelihood. Vocational training and skilling are deeply ingrained in the culture of India. In the Gurukulam and Paatashala culture, children were exposed to a hybrid model of learning and practically applying their skills through the course of the day.
While education gives knowledge, skilling gives jobs. Education cannot be replaced with skilling and both should be differentiated and understood as two parallel tracks upon which an individual’s career is shaped. They go together; independent yet inter-dependent. While an express train and regular train both reach the same destination, the express train is faster and more efficient. The need of the hour is a program that is holistic and has integrated early-career programs in the industry today that enables a student to complete their journey faster, without compromising on the knowledge and exposure needed to be successful. Such hybrid integrated learning and development models that are evolving will tangibly benefit from the effective implementation of skills development from an early age.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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