NASSCOM Foundation hosted the second webinar of its #TechForGood eSeries supported by JP Morgan on 19th March 2021, dedicated to promoting responsible business practices across the ecosystem. The webinar was a virtual launch of its special report 'Understanding the Return on Skills Training Models in India', in collaboration with Sattva and supported by JP Morgan.
“While the country has made large-scale investments in jobs and skills, there is a lack of in-depth research, evaluation, and skill-gap analyses to guide investments. The report launched today will help funding and skills-development organizations arrive at data driven investment decisions and enable us to truly leverage our demographic dividend,” said Madhav Kalyan
, CEO, J.P. Morgan, India.
Leading industry experts decoded some of the highlights of this report and answered some pertinent questions related to skill training in India, a country pegged to be home to the world’s largest workforce over the next couple of years.
Be it Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna - the government’s flagship skill development program that reached over 72 lakh youth - or the 328 companies combined efforts to launch 775 skill development projects; there is a clear intent to skill and upskill the youth of the country. However, so many questions on the ROI of skills remain unanswered, including:
These were some of the burning questions that the esteemed panellists discussed during the hour-long webinar.
Transition to Success
The interactive virtual session started with an inspirational keynote speech by Ms Maneesha Chadha, Head of CSR & Philanthropic Initiatives APAC, JP Morgan. She set the context by lauding the skill training organisations and their supporters, who came together to ensure that young people severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were not left behind.
Ms Chadha explained how the skill training ecosystem in India rose to the equation and innovated to stay true to their commitment to providing a better future to the country's youth. Whether it was to move training online, students negotiating with parents to have access to smartphones, teachers training themselves to talk on the screen, or matching the curriculum with the sectors that were hiring, these efforts were in line to help youth make the transition from the world of education to the world of work.
Implementing the Right Strategies
The panel discussion was moderated by Mridu Bhandari, Editor, Special Projects Network 18. Ashwini Saxena, CEO, JSW Foundation, opened the session highlighting the critical drivers of ROI for skill development models. These include bridging the gap between what is required and the training being delivered, the scaling of training programs, the inclusion of a female workforce, and recognising the importance of prior learning and moving informal training to a formal method.
When asked about maximising the ROI of training programs, Monisha Banerjee, CEO, Anudip Foundation, spoke about looking at various strategies, including repurposing budgets, mobilising labour, and promoting the concept of shared premises.
Dealing with Uncertainty
Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy, Co-founder, and CEO, Sattva, said, “The biggest shift though is how over 75% partners adapted swiftly during the pandemic, with digital becoming a huge part of their programs. Digitisation, digital skills, and the digital nature of delivery improve the ROI, and I think in some sense, the pandemic was the right push for us to put the house of cards in better order with digital training so that the impact can be much higher.”
Rahil Rangwala, Director India Programs, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, seconded Mr Murthy, while explaining why the blended model of training is here to stay. Rangwala stated that the necessity caused by the pandemic has led to a shift in user behaviour, and most of their partners have embraced digital training programs.
Learning to Measure Progress
Mr Rangwala said, “The labour market is different, and jobs are not homogenised. It starts by accepting that variation will be there. Four things result in variations, including the sector of the job, demographic of the student, geography, and scale of operation.” These factors also impact the way the ROI is measured both in the long term and short term.
The webinar was successful at galvanising the conversations around the ROI. As said by Mr Murthy during the discussion, “The purpose of the study was not to standardise the ROI but make the ROI discussion very contextual, deliberate, and data-centric.”
Watch the full webinar below:
This is a partnered post.