Remember the mortar and pestle our grandparents once used to grind spices? And the sound of rock against rock with the aroma of ground spices wafting through the house?

Cut to 2020. The mortar and pestle have now been replaced by a modern mixer whirring away with the click of a switch. Like the mortar and pestle in the kitchen, traditional skills in the Indian workforce are also rapidly losing relevance. And just as the mixer has replaced old-fashioned techniques, skills are also evolving to keep pace with the changes in the workplace.

The need for upskilling and reskilling is upon us. In just one decade, mankind has moved from Industry 3.0 dominated by computers and automation to more cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing in Industry 4.0.

This transition from man to machine is pushing existing skills out of the window and leading to the adoption of newer, more relevant competencies to meet industry demands.

A World Bank study says that by 2022, more than half of Indian workers will require reskilling to meet the talent demands of the future. The education sector is no exception. To keep up with global markets, the Indian education industry is also applying technology like never before to revolutionize the way individuals, institutions and industries learn. The modern learner—whether in school, college or at work—is no longer burdened by the need of a physical trainer or to sit in a classroom.

Technological changes have created a whole new set of skills in the business of learning. With the evolution of easily-digestible, blended and personalized learning techniques that connect computers with mobile phones, learning requirements are now directly addressed with remotely-accessible, smart learning solutions such as webinars, infographics, online courses and podcasts.

The shift towards concept-based learning is enabling individuals to embrace program-based applied skills for future jobs. Among the competencies for the 21st-century professional, the ability to learn ranks highest. Some of the skills the modern professional needs today are critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication.

A LinkedIn Future of Skills report says innovation and creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, flexibility, communication, leadership and people management are the skills employees in India say will be very important to the future of work. While technical skills occupy the larger chunk of skills needed in the future, 60% of employees feel that soft skills are important for career progression.

Additionally, technology literacy, information literacy and adaptability skills will need to be sharpened if our workforce is to remain relevant to the evolving global workplace. According to a McKinsey 2018 report, India is one of the largest and fastest-growing internet/digital markets in the world, with 560 million internet subscribers and 12.3 billion app downloads.

One-sixth of humanity lives in India and as a nation contributing its skilled manpower to businesses and industries around the world, we are responsible for the future of work in the world. In the next 10 years, you or I could be at the helm of global technological innovation, could we not?

At Harappa, we are on a journey to upskill and empower every individual learner, team, institution, organization and eventually the industry with the necessary skills and habits to build successful, productive, and agile individuals who, in turn, will craft global economies. Are you ready to power up?

Veda Nadendla is Senior Associate, Marketing & Communications, Harappa Education. 

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