The COVID 19 Pandemic and the lockdown represent an unprecedented challenge for skill development institutions. The current situation is affecting learning at all levels but especially skill programmes which are imparted through classrooms/labs and through experiential learning. With 62% of India’s population in the working age group (15-59 years) and more than 54% of the population below 25 years of age, the government of India has a massive mandate for skilling of youths. Most skill development programmes are organised through training partners and In the current context the training partners involved in imparting training will not only be facing huge challenges in imparting training but there will also be a placement loss for candidates. The skill development programmes will now have to be imparted digitally and this in turn opens a lot of opportunities for the start-ups specially the Edu-tech start-ups. Since most skill development programmes are not conducted on a digital platform, the Edu-tech start-ups can come up with innovative skilling models of how skills can be acquired remotely. There will be need for more virtual centres with the use of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Opportunities will be there for exploring possibilities of interactive (live streaming) and static (recorded video lectures) to be made available for ITI/NSTI/students by ITI/NSTI trainers. There will also be need for online portal/helpline where youth can enquire about in demand skills and how they can be acquired. There will be a need for digital platforms for Career guidance through online aptitude tests facilitating in stream selection, deciding on ideal career, providing personal mentoring and counselling services, including psychological counselling
The existing training partners need to now implement skill training that can be acquired remotely with the usage of innovative education models. There is a need to reprioritize the skill initiatives and identify focus sectors as mentioned below for assessing skilling requirements and identifying emerging jobs.
- Healthcare has a high job creation potential .The emerging and high potential jobs would include Quarantine Facility Management, Emergency medical technician, Medical Laboratory Technician, General Duty Assistant ,Mental Health Counsellors ,Nutritionist and Diet Assistant (immunity counselling)
- The BFSI sector has medium job creation potential. Job creation possibilities are there for Insurance sales, Debt Recovery Agents, Life Insurance Agents, SME lending, Online Banking Executive, Forensic and Cyber Security Experts. There will be opportunity for re-skilling and up-skilling.
- The Telecom sector will have medium job creation potential and emerging high potential jobs could be there for Field Maintenance/Transmission Engineer, Sales Executive (Broadband),Customer Care Executives, Optical fibre Technician, Handset Repair Technician
- While the construction and real estate sector has low job creation potential, there is likely to be job potential in sanitization job roles in construction sites, Labour Safety Inspectors, Smart Machine Installers (IOT product installation in new buildings
- IT and ITES and BPO sector has opportunities for re-skilling, up-skilling .Job potential will be there for Networking Engineer, UI Developer, Android /IOS Developer, Domestic IT helpdesk attendant, Media Animation Developer, CRM Domestic Voice
In the context of COVID 19 Pandemic, the Skill Development Ministry will soon roll out its plans for strengthening the skilling eco-system but taking a cue from the transformation happening in the educational sector, the start-ups can seriously start looking at the opportunities that this sector is throwing open
The present situation reminds us of the period of demonetisation when advisories were circulated to go for online payments as far as possible for all purchases. Initially the idea of online payment was criticized from different corners, stating that India with 70% of the population in rural areas, online payments will not be a feasible option. Things have moved and India in 2018-19 registered a 51 % rise in digital transaction. The present challenges in the skills space can be converted into an opportunity by collaboration between skill sector specialists and start-ups .Innovate learning modules can be developed and with limited physical infrastructure, more youths can be skilled. In this time of crisis, a well rounded and effective educational practice is what is needed for the capacity building of young minds .It will develop skills that will drive their employability, productivity, health and well-being in the decades to come and ensure overall progress in India.