Quest Alliance Releases White Paper on the Future of Jobs and Skills in India

New Delhi: Quest Alliance, in partnership with Tandem Research and supported by Microsoft Philanthropies, released a white paper on the future of jobs and skilling in India, in the wake of rapid automation and digitization of life and work.

The main focus of this white paper was to raise awareness and drive conversation around 21st century skills set needed in India as well as enable educators to address critical gaps in the quality of education and skills training in the country. The white paper comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued a clarion call for increasing digital literacy across the country and is in line with his vision of increasing technical skills among rural and semi-rural youth.

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Speaking at the release of the white paper Mr. Aakash Sethi, Executive Director, Quest Alliance said, “Across the whole spectrum of the industry, skill profiles are undergoing rapid changes with technological advancements which create a rising demand for enhanced digital capabilities. With the advent of new technologies like AI, Blockchain and IoT, reskilling of young professionals is critical. In our constant endeavour to promote digital literacy in India, we have trained more than 40,000 youth in the last 2 years in over 100 centres spread across 13 states in the country.”

He added, “The white paper which we launched today covers all the broad aspects including the present scenario of the job space, technological displacement, future of current jobs, and steps that need to be taken to make the current youth future ready. At Quest, our vision is to orient and enable youth towards career development with the required skill sets for the 21st century and bridge the gap between the current situation and what will be required in coming years.”

Ms. Manju Dhasmana, Director – Philanthropies, Microsoft India said, “We are in the midst of unprecedented social and economic transformation and today technology is infused throughout jobs across every employment sector. However, a defining challenge of our time is ensuring that everyone is included in the benefits that technology can bring. This requires that we change the way we educate young people with digital skills and the way we train our current and future workforce. Microsoft’s goal is to ensure all young people are future-ready and have access to the ITC skills today’s and tomorrow’s employers’ demand. The whitepaper launched today focuses on the need to educate the youth as well as to enhance educator capacity. We are proud to have partnered with Quest Alliance in this and look forward to help the ecosystem address critical gaps in the quality of education and skills training in the country.”

Dr. Urvashi Aneja, Founding Director of Tandem Research and lead author of the white paper, said that the research for the white paper ‘Skilling for the Future’ is part of Tandem Research’s Future of Work and Learning program, which examines issues of automation and labour displacement; employment conditions; inequities in labour markets; and the economic empowerment of women. At Tandem we are particularly interested in identifying and shaping relevant policy pathways for India. We work at the intersection of technology and society, analyzing the social dimensions of technology transitions.

Key insights derived from the research stated that foundational knowledge and meta-skills will continue to be important in order to facilitate learnability. It was also found that data sciences will be critical for seizing digital economy opportunities. Humanistic, communication, and creativity skills will become more valuable, especially in the service sectors. The whitepaper also stated that mere digital literacy will not be enough and fluency is the need of the hour. Skill programs involving design and delivery must also address gender based exclusionary practices. These skilling initiatives will be targeted at building meaningful careers, as opposed to mere specific job profiles.

Through their partnership with Tandem Research and supported by Microsoft Philanthropies, aim to integrate the key findings from the white paper into its programming and strategic planning for the next 3 year period.

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