While most of calendar year 2021 was focused on revival of businesses, amidst this focus on getting back to normal, companies continued their investments in upskilling and reskilling their workforce. Neeti Sharma, president & co-founder, TeamLease EdTech, shared with FE that, in 2021, investments in upskilling saw 18-25% increase. Sectors where these investments have gone up are IT, e-commerce, logistics, BFSI, pharmaceuticals, edtech and industrial engineering, among others.
“Companies are not only upskilling for technical/domain-specific skill sets but also for soft/communication/behavioural skills,” Sharma said. “In fact, for senior leadership/managerial roles, the focus was more on improving emotional intelligence.”
While on one side companies acknowledged the importance of investing in skilling, 2021 also made blended learning more acceptable. “Skilling was largely anchored by digital learning platforms and these interventions improved the learning process by 15% and also improved learner participation by 20%. Gamified learning and AI and machine learning become more prevalent in the skilling process,” Sharma added. “In 2022, investments in skilling will further grow by 12-15%. The pandemic has taught employers the importance of having a multi-skilled workforce with interchangeable skills, and hence the efforts towards upskilling will be stronger in the coming years.”
At the same time, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed to scale upskilling. “Majority of companies, close to about 75%, still prefer traditional classroom model of skilling,” Sharma said. “There is a lack of robust digital infrastructure in the country. There needs to be focused investments in this arena, as digital is the way forward and digitally-integrated blended learning makes learning accessible, cost-effective and interactive.”
She added that to further boost the skilling ecosystem, we also need policy reforms like inclusion of vocational skills in elementary/HEI education, more universities coming forth to provide degree apprenticeships (on-the-job learning) and relaxation in UGC guidelines for blended learning.