Published: 15th July 2020
World Youth Skill Day: Focus on upskilling and reskilling in times of COVID-19
TVS Motor Company runs an internship, and recruitment programme, Utkarsh, to work with reputed engineering colleges to minimise the gap and promote internship opportunities
India has the advantage of a large young working-age population which can power the country’s transformation from a developing economy to a developed one. The country is projected to be home to 20% of the global working-age population by 2025 with 64% of the population among working age group. Hence, India is set to become the youngest in the world by 2020 and such a ‘demographic dividend’, makes it crucial for companies to harness its true potential
Making talent industry-ready
The manufacturing sector has been battling with skill gaps for a long time as aspirants struggle to keep up with the technological transformations, and shifting landscapes. The automotive industry in India, comprising of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and auto component manufacturers, is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the country, contributing to close to 7% of the national GDP. As the industry employs one of the largest work-force in the country, it is imperative to have future-ready manpower who can keep pace with emerging technology trends like smart connectivity, big data, automation and electric vehicles.
The Government of India aims to skill 40 crore people by 2022 through its ‘Skill India’ programme. Companies need to support this initiative by addressing the growing need to enhance the quality of skill training in the industry and build relevance into the current skill development programs. This can be done through various programs in association with educational institutes which can serve as a stepping stone of making candidates industry-ready. Industry association with ITI institutes brings in the right balance of knowledge, on the job experience, and evaluating new advanced techniques towards building talent.
TVS Motor Company runs an internship, and recruitment programme, Utkarsh, to work with reputed engineering colleges to minimise the gap and promote internship opportunities. Relevant industry challenges are incorporated in the pre-final and final year curriculum of student interns. The company has also associated with engineering, and diploma institutes to provide industry-relevant curriculums.
Learning with COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked transformation in the workplace due to evolving marketplace, changing business models as well as the accelerated push to adapt to digitisation, automation and virtual workspace. With this ‘new normal’ in place, companies must rethink their broad ‘skilling agenda’ to include skills which will play a crucial role in the organisation’s recovery business model. The first step to do so is to identify the skills which will be required in the evolving workplace, and then map skilling programs aligned to it. Skills (both behavioural and functional) to have developed prominence in the last few months can be categorised as follows:
• Digital adaption: Candidates must be educated in building digital skills which can help them operate in an entirely remote workplace while being aligned to a company’s ecosystem. Companies are expected to weave in digital models for the future. Apart from basic digital hygiene, this is also a good time to up the functional capabilities of aspirants by skilling them in emerging technologies such as AI, Big Data mining, analytics among others.
• Adaptability to Innovation: A cognitive skillset which will enable candidates to adapt faster to changing trends, engage in problem solving, and help them think on their feet. This will help minimise panic, create sound project management alterations to meet evolving requirements. The inculcation of such creative skills will be the hallmark of the inevitable dynamic future we are all looking at.
• Strong social and interpersonal skills: In the age of working from different corners of the world, building strong social skills will help employees create trust with their colleagues. Strong onboarding programs for new recruits, and interns to help them easily understand the company culture, and build relationships with team members. This will help deliver successful long-distance collaborative projects.
• Emotional Intelligence: These are unprecedented and dynamic times as the world grapples with COVID-19. Going forward, one of the key business requirements will be the development of Emotional Intelligence or EI. In the world of business, EI can aid individuals and teams to better comprehend the behaviour of their stakeholders and accordingly maximise performance as well as engagement.
• Student for Life: The future is full of possibilities and therefore learnability is a virtue to be imbibed by all future recruits. As a life-long learner, candidates must consistently work to update themselves and equip with the latest trends. Map out skills which will stand the test of time and keep developing and enhancing other skillsets which make one best suited for the evolving roles in the industry.
The Institute of Quality and Leadership (IQL) at TVS Motor Company maps out the skills required for the future, and during the pandemic has utilised the opportunity to liaise with relevant platforms/subject matter experts to roll out skill building programs for employees to upskill themselves. For role related competency gaps, the company has recently adopted digital learning with the introduction of Virtual Instructor Lead Training (VILT) with both functional, and behavioural programs.
The success of such initiatives has reaffirmed our belief that – companies should look at playing a pivotal role in both skilling potential talent as well as ensuring that their existing workforce is always relevant, and a benchmark for the industry.
The author of this article is R AnandaKrishnan, Executive Vice President – Human Resources and Information Technology, TVS Motor Company