“Experience is a good university, but the fee is high,” goes the popular adage. However, when it’s about learning at the speed of change, not all employers can afford the time, resources, and costs of learning through experiences alone. Thus, for swift learning on the job, employers are turning toward various skilling programs and across L&D departments, conversations about the need for crafting programs to advance employees across agile project turfs are galore. The benefits are two-fold; first, today’s futuristic employers want to proactively gear up their teams for upcoming projects and clients’ changing requirements. Second, it paves a stable path for careerists wishing to move ahead.
Employee skilling has many faces: reskilling, upskilling, e-learning, short modules, and so forth and the approach of an organization varies when it comes to how they deliver these programs. However, the use of latest tools and technologies for providing learning should be at the convenience of employees and never at the cost of ongoing projects. When asked about their learning strategies, the L&D head of a new age services firm quipped, “How does one eat an elephant? Bite by bite. Long-term courses do have their place, but this is specifically about targeted micro-modules or ‘bites’ that support employees on specific project requirements.” So therein lies the answer; from e-learning solutions, video streaming services, and cloud platforms to online certifications and digital skilling frameworks for massive open online courses (MOOCs), technology is the common denominator that pushes the learning continuum.
Today’s new-age technologies whet the appetite of freshly-minted professionals. They’re eager beavers who are attuned with the market and are acutely aware of the need to differentiate themselves in a competitive environment. The landscape is teeming with talented job applicants who have a range of options to choose from, and they’re mindful of the area they want to specialize in. In a sense, their exposure to new technologies and career options is at an all-time high when compared with candidates a decade ago.
The advent of innovative learning initiatives to train the existing workforce in niche technologies and domains is a surefooted path to building a competent workforce. However, on the one hand, a talented pool of applicants is in the waiting; on the other hand, a lacuna persists between the market’s demands and their corresponding skill requirements from job applicants. This mismatch is hurting companies and prospective job applicants alike.
To bridge this gap, technology firms are offering training programs in specific skills by partnering with government institutions, trade bodies, not-for-profit societies, and educational service providers. Take, for example, NASSCOM, National Skill Development Corporation, ICT Academy, and others who partner with top technology firms to prepare a skill-based curriculum. This kind of a partnership model serves the needs of a rapidly changing industry by ensuring that students are “in the know” when it comes to new-age technologies (AI, ML, Big Data, Analytics, and the like). Not just technical skills but also soft skills, communication, and writing skills. Therefore, these initiatives ensure that applicants are career-ready even before they start marketing their skills to employers — a win-win situation for all.
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