Guest AuthorSreekanth K Arimanithaya

Skilling for growth: for individuals and a society

By | Sreekanth K Arimanithaya | Global Talent and Enablement Services Leader, EY Global Delivery Services

Earlier this week I was on the panel of the India Global Forum (IGF) boardroom on education and skills in the Indian context. To put it in perspective, India is expected to reach a population of 1.5 billion by 2030. We are a predominantly young country with a developing and growing economy. The right skilling infrastructure is more critical than ever if we want this burgeoning workforce to power our growth as a nation. 

 The gigantic question looming before us is – how do we convert education to knowledge? Optimize this knowledge into skills? And monetize skills as a currency – for both individuals and the society? How can we create labor-intensive opportunities to engage the skills?

While the government does have programs like Skill India, we must join hands as corporates, think tanks, and individuals. Some of the thought-provoking ideas were:

  • Skill to scale. Looking at the Indian IT space as a story, we can see the rapid ascent in the skills contribution market globally. So the question is – can we replicate it in scale? Can we do this across industries? 
  • Discover India. The hinterland is where India truly is. So for skilling to be effective, it has to be democratized. Job opportunities are concentrated in a few urban centers and are the primary reason for urban migration. It is a socio-political-economic imperative that we decongest our job market and spread more evenly. 
  • Skill-based education system. In India, we strongly prefer educational courses over skill-based coursesAs the mic-economy matures and as technology fueled skill shifts are happening at a fast pace, the importance of the latter increases. Organizations today look for specific skills, and they are increasingly looking for cross competencies. For example, an HR professional today will benefit from understanding Agile methodologies as much as someone in project management. 
  • Internationalization of curriculum. It is almost a chicken and egg question on do skills create opportunities or vice-versa. I believe skills let you tap into opportunities when looking at widespread implementation. For example, increased tech literacy led to widespread proliferation across the business. Today tech is not a solution; it is an ecosystem. It is equally important that the skilling initiative is relevant globally to create increased mobility.
  • Continuous learning. How do we build a culture of learning where investing in adjacent skills is a norm? For long, we have defined success as the point of getting a job. The fact remains that that is the starting point and not the end game. It is important to continuously learn, invest, and build on your existing skills portfolio.
  • Government support on apprenticeship. We have ministry skills doing extensive work on the ground. Building synergies will only strengthen the effort.

Imagine if, as a nation, we have a natural resource we could keep upgrading to a higher value? Skill is one such thing. Skills when met with opportunities can be transformational for both the individual and the society.

These were my first thoughts from the IGF Boardroom as it strongly connects with my personal purpose to advocate skills as currency to positively impact lives. As you may know, IGF is an agenda-setting forum for international business and global leaders. It brings together corporates and policymakers to address the pressing challenges across sectors and geographies. To be the change, I believe we will all have to come together as #PeopleledbyPurpose.

Republished with permission and originally published at Sreekanth K Arimanithaya’s LinkedIn

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