Accenture, Cisco and Quest Alliance are teaming to equip 1.5 million youth across India with skills for the digital economy. As part of a year-long collaboration, the organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Directorate General of Training (DGT) within the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to offer a digital skilling program to all students enrolled in industrial training institutes (ITIs), and doing ITI courses via the government of India’s Bharat Skills portal.
The three organizations have also signed MoUs with the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar and Assam to roll out a comprehensive blended learning program, which will cover more than 100,000 students from 227 ITIs across these states. The training modules will include online self-learning via the Bharat Skills portal as well as in-classroom training.
The skilling program, which will be expanded in a phased manner to ITIs across other states in India, includes tailor-made curriculum with modules for digital literacy, career readiness, employability skills and advanced technology skills such as data analytics.
The in-classroom program will deliver more than 240 hours of training to impart skills for digital literacy and fluency; workplace readiness, including creative problem solving and use of data in decision making; and career management skills, including the cultivation of a growth mindset and the ability to identify and plan career journeys. The online module is optimized for mobile phones to enable on-the-go self-learning, and the toolkit also includes train the trainer resources.
“The digital economy is creating opportunities — with artificial intelligence alone estimated to add more than US$1 trillion to the Indian economy by 2035 — yet an unintended consequence of advanced technologies is further marginalization of people, as humans and machines work side by side,” said Kshitija Krishnaswamy, director of corporate citizenship at Accenture in India. “The key to continued socio-economic growth in the digital economy is large-scale skilling of those at the greatest risk of displacement, enabling them to use advanced technologies to further their growth. Our collaboration with Cisco and Quest Alliance is part of Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative, which aims to create employment opportunities by leveraging digital innovation. So far, we’ve skilled more than 500,000 people in India, and by partnering with the ITIs, we hope to have a positive impact on lives that could be most disrupted in the digital economy.”
Harish Krishnan, managing director of public affairs and strategic engagements at Cisco India and SAARC, said, “Digitization is accelerating the transformation of every industry in India. With the majority of our skilled workforce coming from the vocational sector, we need to ensure that the students in ITIs are digitally fluent and well-equipped to enter the workforce. Digital skilling has been one of Cisco’s top priorities, and with this partnership, we are taking our portfolio and partnerships to the vocational sector. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Accenture, our global channel partner, to our social programs.”
Aakash Sethi, CEO of Quest Alliance, said, “Quest’s strategic goal over the next five years is to equip 1.2 million youth with critical life, work, and digital skills as they transition into the world of work. Linear job trajectories are no longer the norm, and our work with youth in ITIs serves to hone their 21st-century skills like digital fluency, self-learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. It is these skills that will help youth thrive in the 21st century. Building collaborations of this kind between the DGT, the government of India, Accenture and Cisco is an integral part of the Quest mission.”