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Navigating Technological Disruption: Upskilling the Workforce to Be Future Ready The educational revolution began in the early 2010s, witnessing the emergence of B2C learning, fueled by widespread internet access. The digital revolution brought knowledge to our fingertips, ushering in the era of online learning

By Nikhil Barshikar

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Technology has played a pivotal role in reshaping our world, touching all aspects of our lives. Yet, nowhere has its impact been more profound than in the realm of education, which now finds itself at the forefront of technological disruption.

The future is marked by constant evolution, and to prepare we must embrace this transformation proactively. Traditionally, education has followed a linear path: school, college, master's, and a job. However, the breakneck pace of technological advancement has made room for more than just the well-worn route.

This transition is driven by various factors, such as the rapid march of technology, the fluidity of job roles, and game-changers like the recent global pandemic.

The educational revolution began in the early 2010s, witnessing the emergence of B2C learning, fueled by widespread internet access. The digital revolution brought knowledge to our fingertips, ushering in the era of online learning.

In India, this shift in the educational landscape also revealed a stark reality: a significant skills gap in the job market. Industries, including media, government, finance, and technology, recognised the urgent need for upskilling.

Between 2017 and 2021, the edtech market experienced unprecedented growth, propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the adoption of online learning. This period saw a "creative disruption" within the education sector, where innovative EdTech solutions replaced traditional models and transformed the landscape.

This tide turned the focus away from degrees and toward practical, industry-aligned skills. The pandemic underscored the fact that skills crucial for today's jobs can become obsolete in mere years, reflecting the dynamic era we live in.

Hence to stay relevant, there was a need for professionals to continuously update and adapt their skill sets, much like regular check-ups for their knowledge and abilities.

Today as the job roles evolve with the technological wave, a shortage of skilled professionals has become apparent. Recent data shows that 51% of employers struggle to find qualified talent, while 55% of organisations acknowledge a significant skills gap among their employees. Also a staggering 54% of graduates were deemed unemployable in FY 2021 due to a lack of the right skill set.

This is where EdTech companies play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges posed by technological disruption. They bridge the gap between existing skills and the evolving job market requirements.

For example, Imarticus Learning offers a wide range of data-driven, specially curated courses/programs designed to align individuals' skills with the ever-changing demands of their respective industries.

These courses provide an ongoing professional development journey, ensuring that the workforce remains adaptable and well-prepared to meet the challenges of this rapidly evolving landscape. A remarkable 84% of employees attribute their improved job prospects and career trajectory to upskilling.

Today, educational institutions are no longer rigid structures dispensing standardised knowledge. They have transformed into dynamic facilitators of learning experiences, connecting learners with invaluable resources, mentors, and industry partners.

Looking to the future of education, exciting prospects await, particularly in the integration of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for immersive learning experiences. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise education by engaging multiple senses, making learning more interactive and effective.

Furthermore, we stand on the brink of a new era with decentralisation and blockchain-based learning credentials. Learners will have the power to build portfolios showcasing their knowledge and competencies, moving away from sole reliance on formal degrees, offering a secure, verifiable, and shareable digital ledger to display their skills.

In the years to come, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will not only provide personalised recommendations but also create AI-driven mentors tailored to each learner's unique pace, preferences, and capabilities.

The future of workforce upskilling requires us to embrace the technological disruption within education. To prepare for a rapidly evolving world, we must embrace skills-based learning, leverage immersive technologies like AR/VR, adopt blockchain-based credentials, and harness AI-driven transformation in collaboration with innovative organisations such as EdTech entities.

By riding the technological wave, we can confidently navigate the disruptive waters, ensuring that our workforce remains adaptable and well-prepared for the future
Nikhil Barshikar

Founder and Managing Director, Imarticus Learning

His fifteen year career spans a variety of roles within Investment Banking, all of which culminated in the founding of Imarticus Learning, a leading player in Investment Banking & Data Analytics education. He began his career in the Corporate Finance division of the erstwhile Lehman Brothers at New York, following which he moved to Mumbai to set up Lehman's India operations. He has successfully managed large Operations, Technology, and Project teams at Nomura. His in-depth Investment Banking experience, ranging from strategic design to risk-free transition while handling large people driven organizations, has given him an excellent appraisal of the dilemmas faced by Financial Services and Analytics Consulting firms. This enables him to develop tailor-made strategies and solutions.

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