“We want to work closely with GTA and empower the youth in Goa”

Sonia Kuncalienkerspeaks to SrideviSira, National Lead, NASSCOM FutureSkills, regarding the memorandum and their plans for Goa

NASSCOM is the premier trade body and chamber of commerce of the tech industry which focuses on accelerating the pace of transformation of the industry to emerge as the preferred enablers for global digital transformation. FutureSkills Prime is a NASSCOM initiative to enable thousands of IT professionals to be future-ready by creating a culture of continuous learning, collaboration and co-creation. FutureSkills Prime is an extension of the B2B offering launched in 2018, called NASSCOM FutureSkills. Recently, FutureSkills Prime signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Goa Technology Association (GTA) to provide much needed skill-set revamping for its associates and nurture talent on emerging technologies

Sonia Kuncalienker: FutureSkills Prime clearly bridges the gap as we see emerging technologies evolving so rapidly, that constant skill-set upgrade is the need of the hour. How did this initiative take shape?

Sridevi Sira: This initiative is driven by our dream to ensure that India stands as a global leader in the technology space. As we march towards making that dream a reality the ultimate need to ensure that industries across the globe see merit in India as their IT destination – this will be possible when we have the right talent pool.

Under the aegis of NASSCOM, a Skill of the Future Workgroup was set up, with representatives from the industry to understand the implications of the disruption caused by technology.

Led by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a research was conducted to understand the shape of future skilling/reskilling initiative that will be able to deal with the wave of digital disruption. The research identified the technologies poised to grow tremendously, associated job roles and corresponding skills required for those technologies.

FutureSkills thus focuses on 155+ skills spanning across 70+ job roles on 10 emerging technologies.

SK: FutureSkills Prime was launched in November 2020, at a time when the Covid pandemic was on the horizon. Since that time, online has become the very model of education, even at the primary level. How have you geared up for this change?

SS: We had experience of how online learning happens, through our B2B platform, and we have nurtured about 500K learners from both industry and academia on our B2B Platform. It was not very difficult to align to the change; we just needed to bring forth the importance of moving into online mode of learning so that time (a precious element) is not lost for any user. The pandemic will move away and it will pave way for new ways of business models. Changing business needs will call for changing resource pool which is ready to embrace the work and just keep moving with pace – this is precisely our communication to the segment – and fortunately tough times have taught us that we cannot rest – we need to pick our strength to run ahead. We are all set to be a $1 trillion economy by 2024 and nothing can hold India back.

SK: Do you partner with other organisations for taking this ahead?

SS: Yes, this is a collaborative effort – industry experts’ curated content is made available for learners.

SK: Please share the response that you are getting across India, with some success stories if possible.

SS: We have over 4 lakh learners signed up on our platform, approximately 1.3 lakh learners enrolled into courses, over 2.6 lakh learners have secured their digital badges, as well. Some of the universities have recognised the merit of these industry backed courses and have advised students to take them up and step ahead in their career.

SK: Do you undertake on-demand courses, if a particular organisation requests for it?

SS: This is more of a platform, which hosts relevant content for learners and is backed by the IT industry and Government of India. The courses map the standards that are approved, and the outcome of the learning is to demonstrate that the learner is industry aligned or industry ready. We have not made provisions for on-demand courses. However, if the industry needs a particular skill, they will find it on the platform since our industry experts are always ensuring relevancy.

SK: What are the fees and other modalities of these courses?

SS: The cost of the programs are listed under each course and the Government incentive benefits are clearly called out on the course tile.

SK: Do you see any particular course or group of courses getting more demand from the IT professionals?

SS: Almost every technology is hot technology with huge demand – cyber security, AI, cloud, data analytics, IOT and of course, professional skills development courses.

Sridevi Sira with Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and Goa Info-Tech Minister Jennifer Monserrate and members of Goa Technology Association at the GTA Awards Night held recently

SK: Are any plans to complement this online education route with actual physical courses, as India unlocks? Do you see any specific benefit or otherwise in any such route?

SS: Frankly speaking, as a nation, we are in a phase of change and the pandemic has taught us to learn to live in a blended mode – so even in education, physical courses are not in for replacement. We need to understand and accept that there will be a perfect blend of online and offline modes of learning – we must embrace new ways of teaching and learning. Such blended learning enriches the opportunity for a learner to increase their horizon of learning – today boundaries (for learning) have started to fade away – any time and anywhere learning gives a learner a huge opportunity to collaborate and learn and also find innovative ways to demonstrate the learning.

SK: You were in Goa especially for signing the MOU with GTA. Tell us about this synergy…

SS: We have great plans for Goa, along with Goa Technology Association (GTA) we are taking up skilling goals to create a future ready talent pool in Goa.

During the event, you have seen how companies are already highly invested in Goa and such amazing work on IOT and cloud is already happening here. We want to work closely with GTA and empower the youth in Goa to acquire skills and nurture talent so that organisations find local talent and Goa finds a big space in a gig economy.

This is also in line with IT Policy of Goa, which envisions to actively support about 10K advanced IT skilled Goans across emerging technology domains.

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