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#WYSD: Why we need to give our youth the possibilities to dream

July 19, 2022

Ina Bajwa   

Senior Director, HR, Tata Communications

Every July 15th, the United Nations General Assembly celebrates World Youth Skills Day to continue the dialogue between a range of individuals, including youth, employers’ and policymakers. In this blog Ina Bajwa explores the importance of providing youth with the skills for success.

Increasing the employability of our youth has always been important, but it is critical today , especially now, when the youth come of employment age in one of the most challenging global talent landscape of our lives – a global pandemic that has weakened the economy, social security, and education systems alike.

Research from World Economic Forum found that young people find current education models lacking when it comes to helping them be employable.

“They expect more on-the-job and holistic learning, balanced between technical and power skills.”

While we think about education institutions as the first point of solution, companies have a significant part to play in the equation to bring education that increases the employability quotient. We have heard many enterprises having established training programmes that are focused on holistic skill or role requirements. Through Tata STRIVE, our Tata Group initiative, we address the critical need to skill India’s youth for employment, entrepreneurship and community enterprises.

“Tata STRIVE equips youth from underprivileged backgrounds with a diverse set of skills, with the sole aim of bridging the gap between vocational education and industry needs; and in the process, giving our youth the possibilities to dream and think big for themselves.”

The question of skills shouldn’t stop at those entering the workforce. There are many young people who have been in the workforce for 4-5 years and have to be re/up skilled as the nature of their jobs have drastically changed. For example, as cyber-attacks become common (phishing attempts in India alone have increased by 667 percent), the need for cybersecurity experts increases.

“Hiring new talent is always an option but investing in existing workforce that requires re/upskilling across skill proficiency levels will increase the employability quotient of existing workforce. And this can happen on a continuum.”

At Tata Communications, about 75% of our workforce is Millennials or Gen Z, and in line with their expectations, we launched Talent Central last year, which is an intelligent AI-based platform that generates rich insights from across our talent ecosystem for our employees to re/upskill themselves on roles they aspire for/new skills they are keen to learn that can get them prepared for taking up critical roles in the company.

The only way to create sustainable skills programmes is by involving young people themselves and continuing to engage with them, listening to their views and understanding the challenges they face in the current programmes today.