Time is Right to Explore, Upgrade and Create the Future Workforce
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India is the youngest country! a country where more than 62 per cent of its population falls under the working age group of 15 to 59 years and out of which more than 54per cent of the population is below the age of 25, one should definitely brag about it. Hold on! is being the youngest nation good enough? Having the maximum number of millennial and skilled people would give us better bragging rights. While this young population represents 'demographic dividend' and presents us with one of the biggest opportunity at the moment, we are also someone where 75per cent of our engineers are unemployable and each time our car breaks down, we struggle to find a trustworthy mechanic. A situation which is quite paradoxical. This disequilibrium points out towards our failed efforts towards bridging the skills gap.
Are Youngsters Really Aware of Schemes Under the Skill India Mission?
A recent work by the Observer Research Foundation and World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed that 70per cent of Indian youth is not even aware of the schemes under the Skill India mission. The same survey also suggested that 76per cent of the respondents were reported having shown interest in pursuing skills development training. Here let's face the elephant in the room, we have not realized the true potential which skill training holds and failed to reach out to the masses. The primary cause being our approach towards addressing the supply side and not the demand side.
Since the beginning, our policies have been concentrated towards addressing the supply side by creating infrastructure, sourcing and distribution of funding, the framing of the curriculum and so on. However, amidst this, we've failed to take cognizance of the ground reality and ended up not focusing on demanding what is actually required. As a result, we are basically living in a world where we have more doctors but less number of skilled nurses and supporting staff. We have more cars on road but less skilled auto technicians to repair them. We are building smart cities and great infrastructures but then again availability of trained and skilled people is less. And to fill this gap, we need to start looking forward to making our youth employable and not employed. For that matter, we also need to start looking at making our youth the future employer.
Taking it to the Grass Root Level
Going back to the Work by the Observer Research Foundation and World Economic Forum (WEF) which suggested 76per cent of the respondents showed interest in pursuing skills development training is a gold mine of sorts’ situation. Now, we just need to reach out to them and get the best out of our unique demographic dividend, but how? It’s time that skill education reaches out to the people in the grassroots. One would argue that the job market in Tier II and III cities are not that lucrative then what would make it work. Here is where we need to start looking at skill education as an effective tool in developing future entrepreneurs and not just a pathway to getting jobs. The day this is being realised by the masses, Skill India missions’ success will have a trickledown effect on other government initiatives like the Startup India, Digital India and Make in India. A collaborative effort among all the stakeholders holds the key to making this happen.
At the same time, as we enter the age of algorithm, a reinvention in approach will be the need of the hour in imparting skill education and bridging the existing skill gap. Primarily to make our workforce future ready and not a workforce with skills that have become obsolete. Sectors like Auto, Industrial safety, Healthcare, Hospitality and Aviation are going through a rapid transition and the training also needs to be in sync with the present scenario along with a closer look into the future, on what can be expected. We’ve have achieved success in creating a workforce which was ready for the IT boom some years ago and we have the potential to achieve similar things in other sectors too. So, let’s explore, upgrade and create the future ready workforce through Skill Education. The time is just right!