Nasscom’s education initiatives

By : |July 4, 2007 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: India offers a unique combination of attributes that have established it as the preferred offshore destination for IT-BPO, abundant talent pool being the key one.

From India’s young demographic profile (an inherent advantage), to its vast network of academic infrastructure that churns out 3.1 million graduates annually, to its English-speaking workforce, the country offers an unmatched mix of human-power benefits to organizations.

Despite the strong fundamentals (of a disproportionately large talent pool), already there are growing concerns about parts of the existing available talent pool being unsuitable for employment due to a skill gap.

It’s become imperative to enhance the Indian talent pool to maximize the industry’s potential and enable the sector to further catalyze the country’s galloping economic growth rate.

To address this challenge, Nasscom and the Indian IT-BPO sector have taken the lead in ensuring that requisite remedial actions are undertaken – well in time – to avoid any form of a talent crisis.

Nasscom has over the last few years created a major workforce development platform and launched several initiatives, in partnership with the Government and academia that aim to bring positive changes to the Indian education system and its orientation towards building employable students.

The Pyramid approach

Nasscom has taken the employment pyramid approach to better understand the industry’s skills requirement and create specific education and development initiatives basis that approach; most recent being working with Ministry of HRD to set up new IIITs and Finishing schools and extending Nasscom Assessment of Competence (NAC) to IT services sector.

The base of the pyramid represents simple technical skills (including entry level jobs in the BPO industry and vocational jobs like networking, hardware maintenance, etc.).

The middle stands for skills which are mainstream and account for the majority of the existing shortage in the industry, while the top of the pyramid, represents high-end technology skills (in areas such as bio-informatics, embedded software, product architecture, DSP, VLSI, program management and multimedia convergence), which are niche today, but will become mainstream in the near future.

One of the biggest human-power challenges being faced at the level of higher-end education is the paucity of Ph.Ds and research scientists. Currently, post-graduate education is lagging behind undergraduate learning, with barely a handful of takers for the top-of-the-line Ph.D programs.

To set up new IIITs

Nasscom has been working with Ministry of Human Resource Development on a proposal to create “top of the pyramid,” highly specialized professionals with skill sets in emerging, “on-the-horizon” technologies that are not yet mainstream. These will typically include research in areas such as banking, insurance, analytics, remote sensing, water, agriculture, energy, transportation, environment, geosphere, natural sciences, nanotechnology, healthcare, networks and mobile computing, image processing, and cyber security, among others.

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) with support from Nasscom and the IT industry has recommended the launch of five new IIITs (Indian Institutes of Information Technology), based on the Public-Private Partnership model, by the year 2008. In all, the Ministry of Human Research and Development aims to set up around 20 IIITs over the next few years.

The middle level of the pyramid represents the skills which are most commonly required by the IT services segment. It is also the market that is expected to face the largest skill shortage and a number of NASSCOM initiatives have been focused at this level.

The bottom of the pyramid

In order to develop entry-level human-power, especially for the BPO industry, and equip them with relevant hard and soft skills that ensure employability, Nasscom has launched a key endeavor, the NAC.

NASSCOM’s Assessment of Competence (NAC) – NAC was launched as an industry standard assessment and certification program to ensure the transformation of a "trainable" workforce into an "employable workforce" hence creating a robust and continuous pipeline of talent for the BPO sector.

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