World Youth Skills Day is being celebrated today to raise the awareness of the youth of India regarding the importance of skills development. This year’s focus is on how in the post-pandemic world the youth of the country will have to be equipped with digital skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions. Furthermore, with organizations rapidly increasing the rate of digital adoption in the ‘new normal’ it has become all the more imperative to have a skilled workforce.
In six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a global economic crisis including massive unemployment, as a huge amount of work either stopped or moved online. As societies reopen, one of the key steps needed to foster a safe and successful economic recovery is expanded access to the digital skills needed to fill new jobs. Here is what industry leaders have to say on the importance of upskilling in the post-COVID era:
Lakshmi Mittra, VP – Center of Excellence (CoE) and Clover Academy, Clover Infotech
The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown has introduced organizations and its employees to new way of working. Digital and soft skills that were once considered as add-ons, have suddenly become a necessity. To survive in this new normal, organizations need to train their employees in skills such as cloud computing, emerging technologies, virtual collaboration and communication to equip employees to function seamlessly in the remote working model. That’s not all, now with many large organizations planning to incorporate work from home in their operational model, it has become imperative that educational institutions such as schools and colleges introduce their students to virtual learning environment and train them in digital skills to create a foundation for them to thrive in the future work culture.
Kishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal
COVID-19 has presented challenges that have made us revisit our plans on multiple fronts, one of them being the way we train and equip our employees. As work from home becomes a necessity and with fewer number of employees available at factories and offices, there is a clear and urgent need to train, upskill and reskill our employees. Companies will now have to work strategically with respective department heads to chalk out the most effective plans that ensure maximum efficiency and workflow continuation with the least amount of disruption. This also works to the advantage of employees, especially the youth, as they will gain access to smarter, more efficient ways of working and enhancing their skillsets. I'm sure most companies would be looking at the current situation as an opportunity to create innovative solutions that are a win-win for all concerned.
Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft
Microsoft is deeply invested in creating a digital skills ecosystem that prepares India’s youth and workforce for jobs of the future. Our recent announcement to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in the COVID-19 economy is a strong step in that direction. Microsoft has partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to provide digital skills to over 1 lakh youth in India over the next 12 months. Our vision for skilling is creating a connected ‘system of learning’ that empowers everyone to pursue lifelong learning. We recognize that no company can close the skills gap alone. Sustained progress will require a renewed partnership between stakeholders, and we are working closely with the public, private, and non-profit sectors in India to create a vibrant skilling ecosystem in the country.