Article: How continuous learning is reshaping the workforce

Skilling

How continuous learning is reshaping the workforce

As automation disrupts industries, strategic upskilling with technology is key to building a future-proof workforce, believe experts.
How continuous learning is reshaping the workforce

Ahead of Youth Skills Day 2024, UNESCO-UNEVOC reports that approximately 44% of workers' skills will face disruption in the next five years. Upskilling is expected to transform significantly over the next 5-10 years due to rapid technological advancements, evolving workforce demands, and the increasing importance of lifelong learning. These shifts will not only impact individual career growth but also reshape industries and redefine the global labor market.

Sauvik Kumar Batabyal, Assistant Professor, OB and HR, International Management Institute, New Delhi, suggests upskilling the workforce needs to be strategically designed where it can address the concerns surrounding the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’, keeping it in tune with the industries’ requirements in the future.

“Companies utilizing generative AI, machine learning, simulation, gamification, augmented and virtual reality to provide tailored and customised upskilling experiences to their employees, will be in a better position to reap the benefits. The future is going to be data and technology-driven. Hence, it is the onus of the employees to stay curious, keep up with the trends, and continuously upgrade themselves,” says Professor Sauvik.

Bite-sized learning to dominate

The constant technological advancements are impacting every industry and the auto industry is in constant flux, driven by it. “To stay ahead of the curve, upskilling our workforce is crucial,” notes Navpreet Singh, DGM-HR, JCBL Group. Singh emphasizes bite-sized learning modules delivered through AI platforms to help employees learn new skills. “This will allow them to learn new skills quickly and conveniently.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Nameesh Sharma, Head - Human Resources, KRBL India, believes that with the advent of AI and other technological advancements, employee skill sets, and functional competencies would need to be highly specialised. “Constant upskilling of employees would be required in areas like strategic decision making, creativity & innovation, and leadership & management with the increased use of online and micro-learning experiential platforms.” He believes that upskilling would be marked by the integration of technologies, interdisciplinary acumen, and enhanced focus on softer skills and competencies.``

Upskilling: An ongoing process

Gone are the days when lengthy training programs were sought after and people took breaks from their careers to pick up an upskilling program. Navpreet Singh highlights that upskilling will become an ongoing process integrated into the workday. “The focus will shift from acquiring specific job skills to fostering adaptability and lifelong learning. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity will be paramount as automation takes over routine tasks. Traditional ways of learning may not always reflect the skills needed. Alternative credentials, like badges and micro-credentials, will showcase the specific skills employees possess, making them more competitive. By embracing this future of upskilling, we can ensure our workforce is adaptable, future-proof, and ready to drive innovation in the ever-evolving automotive industry,” explains Singh.

Within the next decade or so, we will see greater demand for agile ed-tech tools that help employees learn on the go and prepare them for new roles, says Daniele Merlerati, Chief Regional Officer APAC, Baltics, Benelux at Gi Group Holding.

“More skilling programmes will focus on machine management (conducting) and maintenance. For example, technicians who understand the work of robots used for process automation will have a leg up on their colleagues who continue to focus on manual processes. We are in the age of the worker-learner. It will become standard for people to go through 3-4 upskilling phases during their professional careers,” notes Daniele Merlerati.

For Rahul Dhamdhere, CMO, KidZania India, upskilling in the next 5-10 years will likely become more immersive and experiential. “Today, the skills needed to succeed are changing at an unprecedented pace. The environment is constantly evolving, and one must adapt to these changes to keep up with the learning curve and move beyond traditional learning methods. People must embrace dynamic approaches to skilling to ensure that our workforce is adaptable and future-proof. By investing in our employees’ development, we equip them with invaluable educational and facilitatory skills.”

Nishant Chandra co-founder Newton School of Technology calls upskilling a present necessity. “To truly excel in today's dynamic world, continuous upskilling is essential. Something about evolving with the times and staying ahead. Think of it like transitioning from a regular phone to a smartphone—once you make the switch, there's no going back.”

In the creative economy, people need to be creators or users of technology, says Charu Malhotra, Co-founder and Managing Director of Primus Partners.

“To be able to use emergent tech - logic, process thinking, problem-solving, and creativity are prerequisites. The skilling ecosystem should look at ability-based industry certification, and logical aptitude tests as entry tests and eligibility for courses. The Education ecosystem needs to transition from rote learning to a competency-based curriculum and to introduce future-facing skills or emergent tech as a discrete subject from not later than grade 6, which are aligned to NSQF levels and NCrF credit banks.”

Shikha Gupta, Group CHRO, Luminous Power Technologies, sees upskilling in the energy storage sector as more dynamic and multidisciplinary, driven by rapid technology integrations and shifting industry needs in the next 5-10 years. “The key to professionals joining the industry will be embracing continuous learning and adaptability to thrive in this evolving landscape. In-house training programs and partnerships with specialized providers to ensure the workforce is abreast with new knowledge domains will become the norm for every organization. Increased reliance on sophisticated energy management, R&D, and smart grid technologies will become essential for skill development in software development, data analytics, and systems integration,” concludes Shikha.

Keen to hear more from Shikha and other leaders? They'll speak at TechHR India on August 1 and 2 at Leela Ambience, Gurgaon. Find out more here. 

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Topics: Skilling, Learning & Development, #HRCommunity, #TechHRIN

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