What can organisations do to bridge the skill gap amid the COVID crisis?


By Rajeev Kaul

India has one of the fastest growing manufacturing economies, with a young workforce of 830 million people. The young workforce is aspiring and ambitious, however, lack skills to maintain India’s global competitiveness- despite the advantage of this demographic dividend.

The skill gap is more evident in the country’s manufacturing industry. With modern technologies revolutionising the industry, the skill gap is only expected to further widen. Current skillsets will eventually become redundant in order to pave the way for a workforce that is empowered by the digital transformation witnessed by its organisation.

Workplaces need to respond to this new technology centric order and widening skill gap by nurturing specific skillset in fresh recruits while simultaneously upskilling/reskilling existing workforce.

The Indian government aims to address this and has set a clear agenda to develop the country as a business and manufacturing hub with ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ and ‘Digital India’. However, these initiatives require contribution from private companies to truly transcend the existing gap and address the demand for globally competitive skills.

Solving India’s biggest skilling challenge

Organisations must make learning and development a key priority for their business. This requires investment and consistent efforts to upskill employees with the changing business dynamics. This level of preparedness will help organisations seamlessly welcome any new wave of technology or processes without any disruption.Future forward organisations have created knowledge centres to train and hire fresh college graduates. Especially in manufacturing, this will provide graduates an opportunity to explore their career options in a niche sector like aerospace while learning directly from industry veterans.

Additionally, India’s young workforce believes that skill development is integral to their career growth. The workforce today, irrespective of demographics, aspire to be a part of an organisation that nourishes their talent and upgrades their learning curve- making it a great place to work for. The millennial workforce evaluates their opportunities in an organisation before joining or even applying a job.

Need for skilling in aerospace manufacturing

While the lack of skilling deters India’s manufacturing growth, it becomes further disadvantageous for the aerospace manufacturing industry. The industry is responsible for building aircrafts, they religiously follow a ‘zero error’ policy. Given the novelty of this niche and aspirational sector, there is a dearth of aerospace-centric education and vocational training in engineering colleges leaving the industry with widening skill-gap.

The skill development for aerospace manufacturing needs to be done marrying synergies between the industry and academia. At an academia level, while colleges have a structure for theoretical knowledge, there is a need to focus on the practicality of these skills. This is where the industry needs to ensure the young talent is trained to be job-ready.

On the other hand, with the rapid technological advancements and narrowing turnaround time, the need for relevant skills has become more important. It therefore becomes the organisations responsibility to ensure their workforce stays upskilled through focused workshops. An extended focus on skilling of engineers and other shop flor workers frequently is necessary to deliver high quality parts and meet customer expectations.

The futuristic skills world

As the next generation of workforce is being prepared to handle the manufacturing challenges of tomorrow, organisations must create functional skilling ecosystems to ensure business growth and continuity.


The author is the MD & CEO of Aequs.



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