Wadhwani Foundation for empowering the youth with 21st Century Employability Skills

The theme of World Youth Skills 2020 i.e. ‘Skills for a Resilient Youth’ is set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resultant challenges are plenty with a rise in unemployment, digital becoming the new normal and adapting to new-age learning based on relentless advances in technology like mobile technologies, AI, Machine Learning, green energy, drone technology etc., becoming a must.

Wadhwani Foundation is focused on empowering the youth with 21st century employability skills to enable them to command family supporting wages through on-demand, AI-enabled access to high-quality skilling. The Foundation is also focused on integrating skilling with shop-floor training for vocational careers and enables employers, vocational trainers, and academic Institutes to adopt employability programs for superior outcomes.

Dr Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation on WYS Day said, “With half of India’s population of 1.3 billion under the age of 26, and 12 million youth turning 18 every year, India is experiencing a massive demographic dividend that will last until 2055. This could make India a global HR powerhouse provided we fill the gap between the skills Industry desires and what academia is producing. In the COVID-19 times, digital has become the new normal, and video and mobile will play a key role in providing cheap, reliable, scalable, and effective learning solutions to solving the skilling problems. Wadhwani Opportunity, an initiative of the Foundation, has developed multi-media enabled technology solutions while integrating online/in-class 21st-century employability skills and self-learning pedagogy that can reach thousands of students simultaneously through our cloud platform. The theme of World Youth Skills Day 2020 is – Skills for a Resilient Youth – and I have full confidence in the resilience and perseverance of the Indian Youth who will tide over the COVID-led crisis with grit and determination. My message to the youth is that the current pandemic-led crisis provides an unprecedented opportunity through the new normal of digital learning and exploiting the emerging skilling avenues.

According to reports, India is likely to have the world’s largest workforce by 2027. Hence, it is important to integrate a  skilling program into the curriculum right from the school stage to address the looming fracture in the skills supply chain arising due to the marked disconnect between the academia output and the industry requirements. This will enable India to meet the aspirations of the youth by preparing them to enter the future workforce.

Soft Skills or employability skills is the buzz in the global skills domain today. The reason is simple. While hard or technical skills can be acquired and taught, soft skills have more to do with character, relationships and personality.Therefore, employers see soft skills as key tointerpersonal relations, fostering employee retention, improving leadership, and building a meaningful culture within the organization.