'Digital Skill Champions Program' initated by NSDC and WhatsApp aims to fuel skill development and create entrepreneurship opportunities for youth. Through this program, school and university students would be coached to imbibe digital and online skills that would culminate with WhatsApp and NSDC awarding ‘Digital Skill Champions’ certification. The course is based on a module-format, is comprehensive and intensive in imparting knowledge about important aspects of the online ecosystem, equipping students with technology-based learning on campuses across tier 3 and 4 towns and cities throughout the country.
As a recent report by Amazon Web Services highlighted, "India will need nine times as many digital workers by 2025." It is not only the booming IT sector that demands more availability of digital skills but there is a great need for more digital workers even in the non-technology sectors such as manufacturing and education.
Shivanth Thukral, Director - Public Policy, WhatsApp- India said, “We are honoured to be a part of NSDC’s mission to skill India and to take shop floor readiness training to the last mile. As India embraces digital innovation and entrepreneurship, it is imperative that the youth today are made aware of and educated about how they can upskill themselves and take charge of their presence online."
But how could 'Digital Skill Champions Program' help curbe the skill challenge?
The partnership identifies two broad areas of collaboration: WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) and WhatsApp Business App Training sessions.
WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy: As part of the Digital Skill Academies, young adults from tier 3 and 4 cities will be trained on critical aspects of digital safety and online privacy. These digital academies will deliver safe technology-based learning among the youth and train them on taking charge of their safety online as they embark on their professional journeys. The initiative will beging with a pilot across 50 campuses in five states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The program will be imparted through WhatsApp’s project implementation partner- InfiSpark.
PMKK and WhatsApp Business App Training: WhatsApp will conduct training sessions to familiarise Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra trainers with the WhatsApp Business app. The training will cover modules on leveraging benefits of the WhatsApp Business app and to make small business entrepreneurship aspirational for young skill seekers. The trained PMKK community cadres will further manage and administer the WhatsApp Business app training to youth aspiring to become small business entrepreneurs.
It has been time and again discussed how educational institutions do not reflect updated digital skill needs. To upskill the current and emerging workforce in these skills in demand, additional initiatives are required. It is encouraging to see businesses and government coming together to tackle the skilling challenge.