UnLtd India launched its first Learning Journey – meaningful events aimed at developing result-driven and actionable thought leadership to enable individual and organisational transformation. Skilling Matters – Adapting to a Shifting Paradigm was hosted in partnership with J.P.Morgan on March 20, 2018. This event addressed two vital aspects of the Skilling Sector – Collaboration and the Role of the Skilling Sector in self-employment & entrepreneurship building.
The by-invitation only event was attended by 95 people from across policy-makers, corporates, skilling organisations, and budding social entrepreneurs.
India is poised to have the world’s largest workforce with 12 million youth between the ages of 15-29 being added to the talent pool every year for the next two decades. However, only 1 in 20 are equipped with formal skills. As UnLtd India currently works with a large portfolio of social entrepreneurs in the skilling sector, addressing this very issue, this was the first choice among the topics to be discussed for engaged thought leadership.
As Anshu Bhartia, CEO UnLtd India, stated in her opening address, “The very nature of skills has changed”. While efforts are being made to develop a skilled workforce through training, the top challenge in skilling is the lack of career counselling as a precursor to training, coupled with the mismatch between demand and supply in the labour market, post placement counselling, and the changing face of skills. Deepening the crisis, 25-30% jobs people are being skilled for are at risk due to technology. For this pool of resources to translate into a channel of strength for India, there is a growing need to reimagine, redefine and review the shifting paradigm of skilling and jobs in India.,
Kalpana Morparia (CEO, South and South East Asia, J.P. Morgan) and Carol Lake (M.D for Corporate Responsibility, International Markets, J.P. Morgan) opened the evening by sharing their views on collaboration, self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Carol Lake beautifully articulated how collaboration will pave the future success in the skilling market. “Collaborating with businesses, nonprofits, and community partners can reduce risks and provide more effective remedies. Collaboration brings together sector experience, training experience, funding, networks and open roles to one approach thereby increases the chances of success and collective learning.” She also highlighted that “Collaboration is not always easy. It calls for a high degree of trust and transparency.”
The first panel discussions moderated by Rahil Rangwala (Director India Programs, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation India) reinforced that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have the potential to be the largest job creators. The panel discussed how strengthening the entrepreneurs with leadership skills can help business grow while increasing localised employment. Though entrepreneurship is not a subject to be taught, it can certainly be enhanced through collaboration that brings together sector experience, training experience, access to networks and collective learning. The experts on the panel agreed that entrepreneurial thinking should be promoted at the school level, supplemented through robust college educational frameworks, and followed by creating a supporting eco-system. Such efforts should be collectively taken up as a national agenda.
The second panel, moderated by Naghma Mulla, COO EdelGive Foundation highlighted the importance on how multi-stakeholder collaboration will ensure optimisation of resources and sustain impact of skilling initiatives. At the macro-level, the Skill India initiative by the Government of India, although ambitious, requires coordination between skill trainers, monitoring, evaluation & learning consultants, recruiting organisations, etc. to provide seamless execution and technical support. This coordination is imperative in order to provide a holistic curriculum to the trainees; a curriculum that is designed to adequately meet current market job requirements. Thus, organisations/entrepreneurs providing skill training & development should form strategic partnerships and alliances with employers. The panel discussed how the private sector can bring in the capital, the civil society can bring in the technical expertise while the government can bring in the regulatory power in order to make tangible change in skill training and development. The panel also emphasised that such alliances should be broad and not limited to inter-country collaborations. Building strong relationships is the key to creating a workforce that is ready for global markets.
Skilling a country of a billion people is not an easy endeavour. UnLtd India, along with other organisations, is paving the road by building a stronger network of businesses and social entrepreneurs who can work together to bridge the existing gap and make a real difference to the lives of countless people.