Enabling Discovery, Powering Education & Shaping Workforce

Wiley Innovation Advisory Council is working on bridging the skill gap by collaborating closely with IITs and IIMs and strictly skilling students of Tier II and III cities. Vikas Gupta opens up about the WileyNXT initiative in conversation with BW Businessworld.

Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley, WileyNXT & mthree in India

WileyNXT offers professional learning and education programs that are focused on industry 4.0 and 4.1, in association with premier educational institutes such as IITs and IIMs. Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley, WileyNXT and mthree in India speaks to BW Businessworld about the many facets of professional training including the importance of ongoing skill development and benefits of working under a brand name and moving towards industry 4.1 skills while working in industry 4.0.

From publishing to professional training, what inspired the WileyNXT initiative? 

Wiley’s business objectives are broadly based on three impact pillars- Enabling Discovery, Powering Education & Shaping Workforce.

We witnessed that there is a worldwide technology skill gap crisis, with jobs on the rise and not enough qualified candidates to fill them, resulting in unemployability. A credible industry report cited that digitally skilled workers represent only 12 per cent of India’s workforce, and the number of employees requiring digital skills will increase nine-fold by 2025. In one of the recent surveys conducted by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), it was concluded that more than 50 per cent of Indian professionals will have to upskill themselves to match the changing dynamics of the industry and be employable. 

It is in an effort to find sustainable ways to bridge this constantly widening skill gap in emerging and new-age technologies that Wiley launched WileyNXT. Managed entirely by an all-women leadership team, WileyNXT creates an ‘Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) talent’ and future-ready workforce for the digital economy by delivering on the promise of Day 1 job readiness. 

Can you tell us about your course design? 

WileyNXT’s pedagogy integrates design thinking and leadership lessons as a part of all its courses to develop the triad of Behavioral, Functional and Technical skills in its learners to address the vision of honing T-shaped individuals. 

WileyNXT also uses 3500+ business case studies from these leaders to develop labs, projects, case studies alongside digital courseware to drill in contextual skills while building concepts.

What is your recruitment process? 

For college-to-career programs, students sourced from tier-2 and tier-3 technology colleges with minimum opportunities are provided with a chance to get certified in WileyNXT’s tech courses and certificates. After the completion of their certification, mthree, Wiley’s talent deployment solutions, help them get recruited in top organizations including Fortune 500 Companies. 

For career–to-career programs also, WileyNXT ensures not to let its learners and candidates left in the lurch. It offers #LearnToWin Job Assistance to aid learners to get closer to the right opportunity. 

What role has the Wiley brand played in the success of your initiative? 

The legacy of the global brand Wiley plays a pivotal role in the success of our innovative bridge learning solution, WileyNXT. The familiarity with the global leader ‘Wiley’ brings in the trust and credibility for our customers, learners and partners alike. 

With publishing as the core of the Wiley business, we have a vast repository of quality content, and we also understand the learning pattern of students quite well. Being in the market for over two hundred years, we understand that only quality content with adaptive mentoring can help students in their academic or professional pursuits. 

Apart from this, Wiley has built a rich network with leaders of academia and industry over the years, which helped WileyNXT create a ‘Wiley Innovation Advisory Council’. 

WIAC is the guiding as well as the approving body for the learning solutions built by WileyNXT. The Wiley Innovation Advisory Council has a mission to foster an exchange of topical industry insights and technology trends, evangelize innovation and thought leadership and collaborate to develop industry-focused learning and research frameworks and platforms for AI and exponential technologies. Its vision of leading a sustainable industry-academia partnership joint talent development and R&D initiatives relevant for Industry 4.0, reflects Wiley’s commitment towards bridging the gap between academia and industry. 

With the reputation of the global brand Wiley in the market and the support of Wiley Innovation Advisory Council, WileyNXT programs have been taken up by nearly 10,000 candidates and learners over the past two-and-a-half years.

How do you create a sustainable model? 

We plan on making our model sustainable by continuously identifying the new and emerging technology and skills demanded by the industry and the organisations in future. With our continued impetus on bridging the gap between academia and industry and encouraging industry 4.0 related skills and technology, we feel that we are on track. Our bridge learning model which connects education to career pathways in high demand skills is not only beneficial to the student but is a huge catalyst in closing the talent gap for Industry 4.1, the demand for which is growing 5x.

How are you scaling up?  

Over two-and-a-half years, WileyNXT has certified 10,000 students and has trained approximately 20,000 professionals in the Asia Pacific region. 

WileyNXT courses are ‘Made in India for the world’. Based on the widespread adoption and success of WileyNXT in India, Wiley is already in action to expand WileyNXT globally, with a strong focus on the APAC region such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia amongst others.

Do you plan to expand to other technical and non-technical fields?

Our existing model provides upskilling solutions focused on industry 4.0. WileyNXT’s unique curriculum integrates a perfect blend of soft skills and hard skills to nurture a workforce of the future, ready to take on the challenges posed by fast-paced organisations and business entities.

Depending on the market demand, we will continue to adapt and evolve, to cater to the diverse needs of our learners. 

Why do you think the skill gap between academia and industry continues?

The gap between academia and industry still continues because of a lack of collaboration. There is a need for more and more cohesive partnership opportunities and models in order to bridge the gap between the two. Wiley Innovation Advisory Council focuses on bridging this gap. The vision is to lead to a sustainable industry-academia partnership joint talent development and R&D Initiatives relevant for Industry 4.0.

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