Why Skills Training Is The Need Of The Hour?

Educational institutions and the industry must join hands with the support of the Government to create a holistic eco-system where skills can be developed, nurtured and honed.

The other day, while reading an article on the challenges of addressing skills gap in the IT industry, a line about how 'technologies are as good as their human operators' stood out to me. We think, talk and write about a lot of technologies, but it is crucial to also keep our focus on the driving force behind it all - i.e. people.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that on average, 42% of the skills demand for jobs across all industries will continue to change between 2018 and 2022. The WEF says that the private sector is a leading stakeholder in managing this transformation via collective action on future-oriented skills development.

Recent research shows that a large percentage of employees in India believe that their college education alone does not equip them with skills to make them effective at work and that they rely on their employers to provide them with ‘a culture of learning’, to stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape. COVID-19 pandemic also dictates that large-scale workforce skills be built more urgently than ever before as addressing the skill-gap issue has a direct impact on economic recovery across the world.

With automation, replacing human intervention, most skills taught at present could be transitory. To keep up with the pace of change, a dynamic curriculum is needed for the digital future. Despite many job roles requiring digital competencies, only a fraction of the current workforce is digitally native. For instance, AI 2.0 is going to stay and therefore young students and professionals should treat this an opportunity to grow and not be worried by some perceived threats.

Job markets of the future will require unique human qualities such as social intelligence, systematic thinking, imagination, innovation, creativity and improvisation to solve unexpected problems. Concurrently, the accelerated growth of innovative technologies such as Cloud Computing, Data Science, Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobile App Development, amongst others, requires professionals to have a very specific skillset. The current market scenario in India mandates that the youth keep themselves updated about future trends of employment and understand if a more specialized, skill-intensive, technology-based career would help them stay relevant.

‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with children for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. We all have a collective responsibility to raise our children, keep our organizations healthy and bridge the skills-gap together.

Educational institutions and the industry must join hands with the support of the Government to create a holistic eco-system where skills can be developed, nurtured and honed.

Students must be exposed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) early on to develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills they will need for the digital future. Some technology firms offer ‘Early Career’ programs for students who have passed Class 12, that helps them navigate a career in IT, while staying financially independent. Such programs offer students the opportunity to upskill themselves at work while gaining a degree from an accredited university. We acknowledge that everything cannot be learned in school and therefore, a strategy for skills development must be built within our industries and organizations. This is where corporations need to develop internal training programs or appoint external agencies to give employees the skills, they need to stay relevant.

People often say that the key to success is to be ‘in the right place at the right time’. It is even more important to show up ‘in the right place at the right time with the right skills.

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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