Skill gap hinders job readiness of India’s youth

Developing soft skills and integrating technology in learning will help the youth become more employable.

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The World Youth Skills Day (15th July) signifies the importance of learning and development to enhance skills amongst the youth. With technology advancing at rocket speed, the youth are unable to keep pace with it. The result is a skill gap in the field of technology and many other areas, where technology is widely used.

The same issue found a rightful place in Budget-2019 too. It addressed the need to focus on the area of skill development, apprenticeship and corporate learning among the youth. In addition, the budget professed a need to reform the educational institutes and make learning more skill based.

There is an urgent need to improve the skills required to make the youth population more fit for tech-related jobs in the field of information technology, such as AI, IoT and more.

Aadesh Goyal

“The advancement of technology has been disrupting business models and revamping the employment landscape in India. With over 50 per cent of young population, it is imperative to build a skilling system that not only enables the youth to adapt to changing skill requirements but also provides new opportunities for the next generation”

Addressing the issue of skill gap created by advancement in technology, Aadesh Goyal, CHRO, Tata Communications, says, “The advancement of technology has been disrupting business models and revamping the employment landscape in India. With over 50 per cent of young population, it is imperative to build a skilling system that not only enables the youth to adapt to changing skill requirements but also provides new opportunities for the next generation.”

“It’s exciting to witness the increase in employability from 33 per cent in 2014, to 47 per cent in 2019 as per the India Skills Report 2019,” adds Goyal.

Undoubtedly, skill gaps can be bridged when there is a joint effort focused on learning, right from the academicians to businesses and the government. We’re certainly moving in the right direction. The 2019 Budget has taken this into consideration and highlights how important it is for our youth to gain new-age skills in areas, such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data, 3-D printing, virtual reality and robotics in order to secure lucrative jobs.

A Sophos report launched on World Youth Skills Day highlights that ‘Only eight per cent Indian IT managers believe they have a skilled team to respond to cybersecurity incidents.’

Kishan jain

“At Goldmedal, we have introduced initiatives to skill our employees through programmes where they are provided with skill development training sessions. Additionally, the employees that work at our manufacturing facilities have to undergo a rigorous training programme on a consistent basis, to keep them abreast with the latest technological advancements in the industry”

Avinash Prasad, VP, managed security services, Tata Communications, agrees and sees skill gap in areas, such as cyber-skilled professionals and cyber-aware workforce. He feels, “In view of the current environment with increasing cyberthreats, it is important that we develop a strong cybersecurity eco-system, a critical component of which is cyber-skilled professionals as well as a cyber-aware general workforce.”

“The reality is that we are facing an acute shortage of cybersecurity experts, with currently around 30,000 cybersecurity vacancies in India. According to estimates, this may grow to 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings globally, by 2021. Hence, to better prepare for a more complex and challenging cybercrime scenario that will face all businesses, it becomes imperative to address these challenges head on, with a sharp focus of the industry being on skilled cybersecurity professionals,” adds Prasad.

Similar views are shared by Kishan Jain, director, Goldmedal Electricals, who thinks that India is a country where about 65 per cent of the population is under 35 years of age. And therefore, it is imperative that we provide our youth with the right skillsets required to make them job ready. The Government of India on its part has been focusing on skilling India’s youth through initiatives, such as Skill India and the National Skill Development Mission under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

Avinash Prasad

“In view of the current environment with increasing cyberthreats, it is important that we develop a strong cybersecurity eco-system, a critical component of which is cyber-skilled professionals as well as a cyber-aware general workforce”

Jain emphasises, “At Goldmedal, we have introduced several initiatives to skill our partners (electricians, dealers, and so on) through programmes where they are provided with skill development training sessions. Additionally, the employees that work at our manufacturing facilities have to undergo a rigorous training programme on a consistent basis, to keep them abreast with the latest technological advancements in the industry. We believe that all these initiatives will go a long way in preparing our youth for the future.”

Incidentally, many employers have also shown concern that employees lack necessary skills to perform jobs. There is enough evidence to point out that the skills picked up in graduate and undergraduate programmes are not enough to make the youth job ready.

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