The Covid-19 outbreak refused to be just a public health crisis; it has shocked the global economy. The pandemic’s impact has been far reaching. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy indicates that over 10 million people lost their jobs just in the second wave of Covid-19.
As many as 97 per cent households have experienced decline in income since the pandemic began. This situation warrants an assessment of how we can reskill youth for jobs.
Backed by success in mass vaccination, our country is on the path of economic recovery. The World Bank sees India growing 8.3% in the ongoing financial year. The International Monetary Fund expects the Indian economy to grow at 9.5% in 2021 and at 8.5% in 2022.
As our economy recovers, we will need to reskill and equip our youth with competencies that are sought after in the post-covid world so there is ample quality talent that to support economic recovery.
We must do all we can to reskill the youth to enable broad-based participation in the job market in the post-Covid world, where new skills are in demand and the way of work stands altered. India’s reputation as a service sector powerhouse is intact and the sector is getting a new lease of life.
Service sector jobs are aspirational and provide ample opportunities for learning, career development and lateral movement.
Youth prefer service sector jobs and see them as a segue into building a career. The services sector requires youth who are trained in skills such as English language proficiency, basic computer dexterity, personality development, soft skills, and retail management, among others.
The non-profit sector in India is playing a key role in driving access to opportunities for skill development in these areas for underprivileged youth. From cushioning our vast populace from the shock of the pandemic to skilling the youth for jobs, India’s non-profit organisations have worked tirelessly for the past year and a half to alleviate human suffering.
Now more than ever, the country’s non-profit sector requires more convergence with other stakeholders such as corporates and governments.
We must all work together to help the youth through carefully designed, targeted interventions meant to train them in skills that can get them employed gainfully.
Solutions for skilling the youth range from classroom training of modules to e-learning programmes. E-learning programmes and virtual classrooms modes have emerged as popular and effective mediums post pandemic as it allows learning as per one’s pace, convenience of time and place.
Many non-governmental organisations have led the creation of extensive training modules for skilling the youth. This includes e-learning modules. Such is the quality and impact of these skill training modules that they are being implemented in the curricula of mainstream universities, which are tying up with Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) for supplying them high quality training material.
The Government of India has designed and implemented programmes such as Skill India which aims to train 400 million people in different skills by 2022. These programmes need active participation of youth, particularly those from the marginalised backgrounds. And non-profit organisations are enabling just that to happen. Civil society organisations are driving population scale change in skill development for poverty alleviation, social justice and wider socio-economic impacts.
Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) have experience of delivering impact on the ground. They have strong on-ground networks and an acute understanding of just what will work to deliver impact. These strengths of CBOs complement the sheer reach of the government and the resources of corporates to effect large-scale impact.
The author is co-founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation titled “As economy recovers from Covid shock, reskilling youth is the top job”. The opinion expressed in the article are author’s own.