YOUTH, SKILL & AATAMA NIRBHAR BHARAT

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Skilling, Upskilling & CrossSkilling the Workforce is the only way to make Bharat Aatma

The last decade witnessed a growing number of sectors, industries, and companies adapt technology to grow or survive or both. In addition, the ongoing global pandemic proved to be a catalyst in speeding up the use of technology by people and industries who were sitting on the periphery.

NewAge opportunities will need a workforce that is crossskilled and with exposure to multiple disciplines

And, this trend of adopting the technology will explode as more and more conventional companies, such as food, retail, banking etc., morph into a technology company “because the customers are demanding that change”, says Arjun Pratap, Founder & CEO of EDGE.

Further, “the booming spend in the US is going to drive the IT boom in India, specifically in the tech-related jobs.” All this will push multiple sectors to “become reliant on technology.” Thus, tech jobs are going to be in demand both for software and hardware skills.

These opportunities will need a workforce with more than just one skill. The talent that is cross-skilled and with exposure to multiple
disciplines will meet the needs of NewAge opportunities.

In the past decade, numerous SMEs and startups, specialised in imparting customised multi-disciplined training to the growing
number of NewAge workforce, have mushroomed across the country.

According to Rohit Ghosh founder, SkillEdge, his startup offers a fintech program that combines financials with data analysts. This one skill course is assisting students to be job-ready for multiple careers such as investment analyst, credit analyst, market analyst etc. The startup also offers programs for engineering and non-engineering graduates that combines analysis and data visualisation. Such courses that do not differentiate between workforce based on their educational background is gaining currency with companies and trainers. The availability of multi-skilled talent creates a talent pool for tech-enabled recruitment companies such as EDGE.

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  Arjun says, "India's population is the youngest in the worlds," giving us a demographic dividend, where the average age by the year 2022 will be 19 years. However, the question is, how to "unleash that power to the rest of the world, because the young minds are looking to do amazing things" questions Pratap. Preempting this scenario, EDGE was formed in 2013, with a seed fund from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), to provide career guidance, career advisor to every individual on the planet. Today, EDGE claims to have nearly "10 per cent of India's IT services population on its platform." Companies will shift toward technology as businesses pivot their model due to "the fourth industrial revolution driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI)." According to Pratap, the emerging tech boom is "presenting an opportunity to skilling companies' to "be part of the revolution using AI and automation" while bridging the skill gap. To bridge the skill gap, startups and SMEs work with students and industries in urban, semi-urban, and rural India by creating awareness about the upcoming needs and trends in career advancement. According to Rohit Ghosh, CEO of SkillEdge, skill is "knowledge multiplied by practice" for a sustained period." The other vital components for skilling are "receiving feedback on performance" and be "able to measure the impact." SkillEdge is "India's first Edutech platform" that "prepare students, from tier two and three cities, in a techno-commercial role within 20 weeks. According to Ghosh, his company's vision is to ensure candidates; on day one are job-ready or industry-ready. However, he cautions, skill cannot and should not be acquired on "the likes of YoutTube" or other stand-alone "online platforms". Such mediums, at best, are for gaining awareness and not necessarily for skilling. That is why academic-based skilling is vital as it tells you what and how much to learn based on the industry needs, and your academy syllabus can be mapped to it, feels Rohit. Trainers have kept pace with changing times, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. New tools, such as webinars, blogs, and events, are being used to impart knowledge, moving away from the traditional classroom format. Another fast emerging trend in skilling is the need to keep content short. Social media initiatives such as Instagram shorts, YouTube Shorts etc., has made millennials less comfortable to long training or classroom session. Thus,entrepreneurs like Ghosh have designed shorter training programs. For example, his startup organises a 20 minutes long weekend program called Skill Pe Charcha, which explores tropics trending in the market to benefit future employees. The whole spectrum of skilling, upskilling, cross-skilling etc., can be a boon for working professionals and entrepreneurs alike. Shubham Mahajan, CEO of Kubic Online, shares an incident wherein- a local tutor from Patna, Bihar, achieved 10X business growth by adapting technology and re-skilling and up-skilling himself. He says there is tremendous growth opportunity in the unorganised EduTech sector. Local tutors are using technology to reach a higher number of students in diverse geographies. Numerous such possibilities within Edutech space can create both entrepreneurs and jobs. What is required is the will - as Shubham says, "will hai to skill hai." Mahajan advises youth to be mindful of what they seek -jobs or skills. Because "acquiring skills will help in long-term," whereas securing "jobs helps in are short term." Having realised the need for aptly skilling the future workforce, the government of India has incorporated the needed flexibility in the new education policy- a step in the right direction. The new draft policy would allow youth to pick and mix subjects as per their interest and industry needs.