The global pandemic has brought about transformative changes in our lives and professional landscape. Today's workplaces demand highly focused and specialised skills that drive productivity and efficiency to new heights.
Within India, smaller cities are experiencing rapid growth, fueled by a burgeoning population of young graduates. However, a growing disparity between academia and industry is becoming increasingly apparent, particularly in these urban centers. Institutes are churning out degrees without adequately equipping these graduates with the necessary skills for future employment.
The discourse has shifted from a mere comparison of skills versus degrees. Instead, the emphasis lies in distinguishing between a "skilled" and "unskilled" workforce. While education and grades may serve as indicators of workplace performance, it is ultimately the possession of relevant skills that holds true value. Employers are increasingly recognizing the significance of skills, transcending the traditional focus on grades and degrees.
The unemployment could rise due to lack of awareness and the required skills that the new industries want. With the advent of new ages business, industries and technologies like AI and analytics, we are seeing colleges and traditional education system has struggled to keep up with the pace with these changes in meeting the talent requirements of such industries. So, there is a wide skill development and employment gap today.
The idea of project-based learning and on the job, internships have never been so relevant than today. To corroborate the same, some of the colleges are dropping the conventional way of learning and making learning more hands on and experiential for students to be better skilled and equipped with the required learnings, which would eventually help them with their prospective employers.
With National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) taking on the task of bridging this gap, there are a lot of firms coming up with in house academy and learning centres to bring youth at optimal learning curve to deliver on the work needed to be done in today’s challenging times.
Central and state governments have made some remarkable efforts by launching free courses and degree programs and joining hand to partner with the private sector to bring the youth to the level of employment.
However, large part of employment and jobs are still concentrated towards large cities. We need to build new global tech hubs in tier 2 and 3 cities, which would not only reduce the burden of high population in the larger cities but also would help smaller cities to develop and get access to untapped talent.
In times, where internet cost is amongst the lowest in the world, and its penetration into the interiors of India has made some of the ed tech startups to deliver new educational programmes across the globe, mentorship programs, career counselling, and developing competitive skills available to a young learner in the remotest of the villages, is turning up to be a blessing here.
In the knowledge economy like India, acquiring and honing relevant digital skills in the global job market for advanced tech skills such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and wireless technologies etc. would not only make us at par with our global counterparts but also would take our country leap ahead with new generation technologies and products that could solve some of the key global issues at hand.
To avoid significant skill churn in the coming years, we need to quickly reform our education system with more practical and hands on learning starting at an early stage and at a much faster pace. Vocational skills, apprenticeship degree programs, on the job internships and close netted collaboration with colleges and industry can be a good starting point.