India’s large population of young men and women has often been described as a “demographic dividend", but this dividend has to be earned, and it’s not going to be easy. Why? Consider this: Over 12 million students graduate every year with the hope of a job, but only 40-50% are employable, and only 1-1.5 million additional jobs are created every year in the organized sector. This significant gap in skilling and employability needs to be addressed immediately.
But where should we begin? With university curriculums unable to match industry requirements, a starting point will be to consider alternative skilling platforms aimed at making entry-level candidates job-ready. One model that deserves attention is boot camps, which provide intensive 2-3 month training in functional skills. They have just started mushrooming. But we have a long way to go. Globally, boot camps have emerged as popular training models, with enrolments growing 1.5 times in 2017. There are almost 100 boot camps across US and Canada, with attendees getting 10-20% pay hikes post-completion. Employers see boot camp graduates as more employable. They also get an opportunity to evaluate applicants on relevant skills through real-time projects.
We believe that a blended delivery model—an intensive, facilitator and industry-led offline training coupled with an online ‘supplement’ and active career support—will work very effectively for skilling our youth and making them job-ready. Additionally, peer-to-peer learning, live projects, internships and interactions with industry experts, will enable graduates to gain hands-on knowledge and boost placements.
Given our global experience, we feel that if implemented correctly and scaled smartly, boot camps have the potential to create massive impact and be commercially successful in India.
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