Showcasing the Futureskills Platform in Presence of the UK Government

The key messaging of Marshall Goldsmith’s management bestseller, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is now well entrenched. The present age, avowedly characterized as the digital revolution, is upon us and we have to act fast! Which means – getting the right talent in place to optimize on the new opportunities provided by this age. Simply put, it’s not about doing the old things infinitely faster with greater precision, but doing new things which have disruptive consequences in business as much as it does in our personal lives. And most importantly, we need people to do these things – who are equipped with very different skill-sets.

NASSCOM has identified these new areas as AI, VR, Big Data & Analytics, IoT, RPA, 3D Printing, Social & Mobile, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security. We did this about a year back when we initiated the re-skilling drive which runs under a formal and well-defined structure now – the prestigious and forward-looking Futureskills Project.

Relentlessly and leaving no stones unturned, the secretariat has leveraged every forum imaginable to drive home this unambiguous messaging. In India, there are very high potential opportunities for 1.5 – 2 million people in the next 4 – 5 years in next-gen tech (these 9 areas) which will open up 55 new job roles which will require 155 distinct skills to fill them up. In a way, it’s a sneak preview into the future of employment. As Mr Shivendra Singh, Vice President, Global Trade, NASSCOM pointedly mentioned in his opening remarks: Within a 15-year time horizon (2010 – 2025) the share of digital revenue will grow as much as ten times – 4 to 40%. It is way beyond a whopping jump and the time is now for upping the ante.        

Decidedly this time, we were ready with a detailed plan – a tech-enabled modus operandi of sorts – on “how” this can all be achieved without dropping the ball but most importantly, meeting our primary objective of employment generation. The latter is really the sine qua non and the key differentiator from similar constructs which already exist.

The President of NASSCOM, Ms Debjani Ghosh was hosting Rt Hon Matt Hancock, SOS DCMS, UK Government and his delegation in a closed-door Roundtable, in the presence of select NASSCOM members.

The stage couldn’t have been more influential and impactful!

This meeting had a special significance because it was held in the wake of the India-UK Tech Alliance on 18th April 2018, which was one of the key first steps taken towards the signing of the MOU on Futureskills between NASSCOM and techUK (UK tech Association). In a first of its kind experience, the NASSCOM – techUK MoU was mentioned in a joint statement by the Prime Ministers of both countries. Also last month, the NASSCOM President and the Global Trade Chief had met Rt Hon Matt Hancock, who showed great keenness to work with the apex body on the UK-India Tech Partnership,

Clearly, getting the Secretary of State, UK Govt. and his delegation to travel to India, marked a seriousness of intent and a most encouraging beginning. The NASSCOM Prez and the senior NASSCOM leaders were suitably excited as they extended a warm welcome.

The Opening Remarks made were unanimous on certain key points of reference: the UK with 17% share is our second largest market; it’s an age driven by innovation; equally the need for collaboration was a most pressing one; and of course, ideas around re-skilling formed the bulwark for future engagement proposed. Suitable statistical references were sought to underpin the immediate need for action or else supply-side bottleneck loomed largely. Hence, the time was just ripe for furthering the UK-India ties and particularly leveraging the Futureskills initiative.

Amit Aggarwal, who leads this prestigious project (Futureskills) under the Sector Skill Council auspices, held us in thrall as he explained to us the remarkable facets of this platform. Or, in his own words – “unravelling the mysteries”.

Let’s see how.  

  • It is open to Tech UK & NASSCOM Member companies.
  • Three-fold objective: In the next 1 – 2 years, the participants should be reasonably informed to carry on an intelligent conversation on any of the 9 areas chosen. Or even multiple ones. But more importantly, at a level higher, it should have enhanced employability in next-gen technologies. Undoubtedly, employment generation is at the core of its vision. Finally, Level 3 is about skilling in-depth with the aid of best tech providers.
  • Call it the 1.0 version if you will, and for now, it’s being partnered by 30 NASSCOM member companies.
  • The “Talent Supply Chain” of today is most different from what it was in the 90s. How do we drive it? Importantly, can NASSCOM catalyse and lead this change?
  • This platform is an industry utility which will accelerate the re-skilling journey which will enable India to be a global talent hub and ultimately, the talent partner of choice.
  • Primarily it has a B2B focus but in due course, it can be suitably expanded to include individuals and touch the B2C bastion as well.
  • The target audience: 4 million employees who work in Indian IT.
  • It’s a marketplace of sorts for deep-tech so there’s a surfeit of choices.
  • Unarguably, Q.C. is an important area – over time standards and processes will get firmly established.
  • The platform is built in a way to customize training which will address diverse needs in the same discipline. For instance, the application of Data Science here may be very different from what it is in the US. It’s a dynamic platform!
  • Learning is a journey and not a destination. Augmenting the formal process of learning, the platform also enables an informal mode to ensure it’s not just a one-time exercise. It doesn’t allow skills to get rusty.     
  • Finally, it was left to Matt Hancock to share his thoughts. He seemed very enthused about the whole idea and reiterated the criticality of re-skilling in the digital age. What really caught his attention was the fact that NASSCOM has come out with a concrete action plan which seeks to address on-ground reality. In addition, he was most keen on expanding G2G outreaches to explore new areas of collaboration, which was very encouraging. The significance of data security was not lost on him, as he emphasized on the GDPR regime which will soon come into operation.

A two-hour session which brought to the fore so many new ideas, but in midst of the congeniality it was not to be missed: The UK & India share a unique bond and that can be immeasurably leveraged for the future.   

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