Shaheen Khan, Founder & CEO, CEDP Skill Institute, India

In addition to 12 years of professional experience in the Education Industry, Shaheen has hands on experience in the field of learning and development. She is a master of NLP and certified coach. Since the inception of CEDP, Shaheen has been effortlessly working towards providing training to the youth in a holistic manner. With a mission is to ‘Empower the Youth of India with job-oriented courses,’ Shaheen has contributed significantly towards the National Mission of ‘Skill India’ to modernize and revitalize the existing skill education system that had lost its vigor and become rusted over time. Shaheen’s previous experiences include Kaya Skin Clinic and IBM.

 

The era of Industry 4.0 has already begun where the industry has widely adopted information technology, material sciences, production technologies, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics and many advanced tools to improve the productivity and quality. This rapidly evolving world has a major impact on the current workforce and the education system. According to the World Economic Forum, “The fourth industrial revolution will make 75 million jobs obsolete by the year 2022. But also create 133 million new jobs, a net gain of 58 million.”

As all the industries will eventually get evolved, we will be experiencing that a lot of jobs will become obsolete and make way for job opportunities which are in sync with the time. Thus, formal and updated skill training is imperative to keep up with technological advancement and globalization. If we provide industry-relevant skills, it can give impetus to our efforts of skilling India and making the youth employable.

For instance, electric and driverless cars are touted to be the next thing in the automotive industry. For the same, a workforce who is accustomed to servicing these cars will be in high demand and be relevant in the job market. Similarly, various globalization factors would also enable the creation of more job opportunities.

The GCC countries are expected to have a booming the tourism market in the upcoming years, which will have a trickle-down effect on the hospitality industry, and it will be well poised to create a lot of job opportunities in the sector. Thus, creating a requirement for a skilled workforce which is ready for the hospitality sector. Moreover, along with skilling, focused efforts towards re-skilling and up-skilling would be critical to staying relevant.

While earlier professionals and graduates could rely on the industry to upgrade themselves with new machines, now the hired employees are expected to work with smart technology. In this scenario, industry leaders and academicians hold a responsibility of transforming the education system and generating the efficient workforce. But first, we need to understand what the new industry demands. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the new employees need to hold specialized knowledge with a fundamental understanding of the industry. Hence, to meet this expectation the education system needs to adopt more skill based specialized course.

With technological advancement, new job functions have emerged that needs to be catered. Hence, new curriculums and reskilling should be introduced at the university and institutional level. In India, we do have the infrastructure but what we lack is a holistic approach towards skilling. The development programs around skilling in India have not been up to par.

Our country faces a unique paradox. In a country where it is estimated that close 1.5 million engineers pass out every year, finding a decent plumber who can fix your sink is a difficult task at times. The current roadblocks being faced by the youth today in terms of skill development is that we have only managed to focus on the supply side of things rather than the demand side, an outdated curriculum that is a knowledge-based education rather than a skill-based one.

As a society, we have low social acceptance of vocational training, delays in channelizing funds for skill development, little standardization and credibility of certification. All this having a trickledown effect on the employability factor of our youth. As a result, we are basically living in a world where we have more doctors but a smaller number of skilled nurses and supporting staff. We have more cars on the road but less skilled auto technicians to repair them. We are constantly focusing on achieving formal education and often neglecting the need of the hour of having skilled workers.

Time and again industry stakeholders have pointed out towards India’s problem of the substandard education system. Except for the IITs, IIMs and a handful of other reputed institutes, most institutions are unable to provide education that would get the students suitable jobs. At the root of the problem is ignorance to development of a curriculum which designed as per industry needs.

Taking cognizance of this at CEDP Skill Institute with the help of the 800 strong partner brands we’ve successfully developed curriculums which addressed the employers’ needs and make the students employable as per the job requirement. This has enabled us to be a part of more than 15000 success stories through our students who’ve been placed at various companies within the country as well as in the abroad. We strongly feel that a collaborative effort among the institutes, stakeholders and employers will effectively tackle the problem of employability.

As per All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), in 2016-2017 close to 3 crore students enrolled themselves in the undergraduate programme. Even if we consider a total of 70 percent must have passed out of it as graduates, we are looking at close to 1.7 crore students looking at entering the workforce and the rest 35-40 lakh students pursuing further studies. In such a huge pool of job seekers, at times it becomes difficult for hiring managers to differentiate between candidates, as most of them have basically the same set of qualifications in their respective sectors. Its skills that can help one in a significant way.

While job-specific technical skills are important, landing a job is about much more than ticking off boxes; in these days it’s more about demonstrating the soft skills that make you a viable candidate across jobs and industries. Soft Skills are important to basic job skills because they help to bring forward an individual’s best self to the employer and create an impression on them as well. Without these associate skills, all the practical knowledge a person has will not be of any use.

For example, a young professional doing a presentation may have immense knowledge on the topic, but may lack the skill of making an eye-catching PPT. Or, a person who is going for a job interview is extremely qualified for the job but does not know how to articulate and put his or her point across because of his average speaking skills. Such problems are faced by the youth time and again. Even though they are skilled in different aspects, more importance needs to be given to soft skills as well. Once this is done, we can accommodate conceptual and personalized learnings, driving student engagement.

With regards to technical upgradation and digital reforms, education is one of the last industries to undergo extensive change, holding on to antiquated methods and practices. However, with the recent increasing gap between supply and demand in the workforce, now the time has come to create a second wave of institutions, where the education trend must be in parallel with the industrial demands. Industry needs higher educated people who are skilled and who can drive our economy forward. Following this, the role of academician has become much more challenging where their profile has broadened from a classroom lecturer to a professional and an industry expert.

Looking at the industry demands, academicians must move beyond the traditional teaching method and practice upgraded tool in the classroom. At CEDP Skill Institute, we hire industry professionals who are well versed with the current technology and aware of the future tools. This has enabled us to make several advancements in our curriculum, laboratory, classroom, kitchens and so on. Further to this, we are working towards bringing in Virtual reality in day-to-day training methods. For instance, transporting the students into a hospital setup or hotel kitchen right from their classroom for their respective training is very much possible. If you have the technologies at your disposal, why not make the most of it?

I believe students are aware of the business environment, which is under rapid evolution, influencing the employment scenario globally. To make the cut, students should embrace the concept of lifelong learning, as just having a formal education degree will not be enough to have a successful career. Enrolling for industry-relevant skill courses and upskilling courses will not only aid you in getting a job but also make a pivotal contribution in excelling in it right from the start. Furthermore, students should also focus towards acquiring soft skills, which are not industry-specific, but it trains you on things like digital literacy, creative problem solving, critical thinking and the ability to work with a team and so on. (As told to the editor)

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