Need for upskilling in the corporate arena

15 May, 2019

Dr. Pramath Sinha, MD, 9.9 Education and Board of Governor Palava Institute elaborates on how the companies will need to step in to train people to skill, up-skill and re-skill themselves to make themselves competitive and future-ready…

Today, according to the latest CRISIL report, over 18M people are joining the workforce each year and yet employers find it challenging to hire the right person. Despite the abundant supply of talent, there are 76,000 vacancies in jobs requiring Data Analytics skills and 1,40,000 vacancies in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data jobs.

According to the EY Future of Jobs in India report, by 2022, 46% of the global workforce will be deployed in jobs that either doesn’t exist today or require radically changed skill sets.

The pace of changes in technology, the deep specializations required and the need for solving problems at scale, are only some factors contributing to this acute problem. Exacerbating the issue is the cognitive, social and emotional skills required in the modern workplace which is in a huge deficit.

We start with the premise that today, more than ever, employees need to unlearn and relearn at a much greater pace than ever before in the history of work. Learning needs to shift from a “one-shot” activity to a continuous, life-long process. The “Company man” culture, where people would spend their entire lives doing the same thing in the same organization, is dying out, as no career path, no role, no skill is going to stay the same or relevant for the duration of one person’s entire career.

Education institutions are not in a position to respond to these fast-changing needs. Companies will need to step in to train people to skill, up-skill and re-skill themselves every few years, if not months, to make themselves competitive and future-ready. They will need to combine dynamic, relevant and contemporary curriculum, world-class faculty with learning flexibility and holistic development of employees while also ensuring tangible outcomes. This is a big ask, but it can be achieved if companies focus on an outcome driven, collaborative and futuristic approach to learning. Let us expand on these further.

Companies should adopt an outcome-driven approach to upskilling their employees with learning and development programs that not only show immediate results at the workplace but also drive tangible outcomes in the lives of their employees and help them progress in their careers.

The need of the hour is also to bring industry leaders, academic experts and experienced practitioners together on one platform to collaboratively create offerings that directly address the needs of the company and the industry. In order to provide holistic learning to the employees, companies need to bring multiple perspectives to the classroom. One source is not enough.

In addition, it is crucial for companies to keep track of the evolving needs of their industry. In this rapidly changing economy, it is important to prepare professionals for tomorrow and build for the future. Flexibility in the customization of courses and programs, the pedagogy followed, and the mode of learning becomes important. There should be room for a dynamic curriculum, a blend of online and offline mediums, an apprenticeship-based model, and whatever is to come tomorrow.

The Palava Institute, a venture by the Lodha Group, is centred around solving this very problem of upskilling in this fast-changing world. It aims to become a Learning & Development centre of excellence for enterprises. It will create a reliable pool of hard-to-find talent with competencies in emerging areas allowing companies to focus on their core business.

The primary focus of the Palava Institute is to develop skills in new age technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud Computing and Data Analytics where there is a tremendous demand for talent. Needless to say, the institute will complement that with a whole host of programs centred around the key 21st-century skills that teach people how to communicate better, how to collaborate better, how to work in teams better, and how to develop their self-awareness and leadership skills.

With their dynamic customized programs, innovative learning methodologies, and industry-academia collaboration, the Palava Institute will bridge skill-gaps, foster change, and help build careers of the future.