Industry News Skills Development

New-age jobs: Skilling the workforce for Industry 4.0

Corporates, too, are facing a widening gap between the skills needed by them and the expertise provided by their workforce.

The 21st century will be remembered in history for the onset of Industry 4.0. India, along with the US and China, is expected to be among the front runners of Industry 4.0, creating new economic opportunities for the workforce.
According to the Deloitte report ‘Preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, 79% of youth respondents confess they had to go outside of ‘formal school’ to learn requisite skills. So, to begin with, the Indian education system should focus more on exploring academic-industry collaborations, and lay more emphasis on practical training. Lifelong learning will play a prominent role in remaining relevant, and the role of soft skills, including creative and critical problem-solving and interpersonal skills, cannot be underestimated. A life cycle approach must be adopted in skill development programmes—from the aspirations of people before training, to counselling and following up with the beneficiaries during their employment.

Corporates, too, are facing a widening gap between the skills needed by them and the expertise provided by their workforce. They need to put in place a strategic plan much ahead of the timeline by which they need those skills. Learning strategy should be aligned to organisational strategy to prepare the workforce for this change. Technologies such as AI will create opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures, either by enabling more efficient access to the suppliers and markets through the platform economy, or enabling new opportunities for dispersed manufacturing and remote working.

According to the Manufacturing Global Expert Survey 2018, India enjoys an edge over Brazil and China in setting the Industry 4.0 agenda. However, a majority of Indian enterprises digitising the manufacturing process remain stuck in ‘pilot purgatory’. They fail to integrate the digitisation process at a scale where one can reap economic benefits from it. The economy requires a mindset shift to focus on enhancing the existing asset base rather than acquiring additional capital expenditure. One must draw inspiration from European countries, especially Germany, wherein the integration of automation with contemporary systems has resulted in a giant leap towards workforce efficiency and productivity.

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