Davos: Indian IT companies TCS and Infosys have joined a global drive for tech reskilling of 1 million workers in the first ever such IT industry initiative. The initiative, whose founding partners also include Accenture, CA Technologies, Cisco, Cognizant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Pegasystems, PwC, Salesforce and SAP, aims to bring competitive training content together on one platform to serve the greater good.
The initiative will be targeting 1 million people for training and resource opportunities on the World Economic Forum SkillSET portal by January 2021. The IT Industry Skills Initiative was launched here by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to meet the global skills gap challenge and address job displacement arising from automation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The initiative was conceived by the Forum’s IT Governors community under the chairmanship of Chuck Robbins, the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cisco.
“We need responsive solutions and coordination from all parts of society—governments, citizens and private industry alike—to re-envision an educational system based on lifelong learning that can fully prepare workers for the jobs of the future," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum. “This initiative is a clear example of industry leaders taking concerted, collective action to address a major social challenge at scale."
According to a World Economic Forum report on workforce reskilling, one in four adults reported a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they need for their current job. Therefore, enabling and empowering workers to transform and update their skills is a key concern for businesses and societies across the globe.
The coalition has created a free platform of online tools to streamline the process of reskilling adults. The initial iteration of the portal will be available in April 2018. The coalition, which continues to add members, will be working over the next few months to develop tools and processes intended to address many of the barriers that prevent adults from reskilling or successfully completing trainings.
The initiative will initially target the US market, with plans to scale to other geographies and build industry and public-sector partnerships in 2018 and beyond. Under the chairmanship of Mike Gregoire, CEO, CA Technologies, the coalition will report on progress at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019.
Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza said: “The workplace issue of the 21st century is a worldwide shortage of qualified technology talent driven by a massive skills gap, which we must address together on a global scale. “The pace of technological change has education systems struggling to keep up in delivering learning experiences that are relevant, immersive and readily available as workers seek to expand their skills."
He also said the future of talent development depends on new models, ways of thinking and initiatives like this one that engage individuals as lifelong learners and provide them with opportunities for continuous reinvention.
Infosys CEO Salil Parikh said, “Our relevance, in an increasingly digital future, will depend on our ability to learn and evolve lifelong at the pace of technology. Democratising digital literacy is an essential first step to make technology a force for good that moves us all forward."
TCS chief Rajesh Gopinathan said with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, enterprises are leveraging the combined effect of emerging technologies to transform their businesses.
“Employees will also have to transform their skills and adopt newer ways of working to participate in today’s opportunities that are as enormous as in any of the previous generations. It is important for enterprises to make investments in reskilling and upskilling employees and prepare them for digital-age careers," he added.