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Indian Government Launches Digital Upskilling Programme

FutureSkills Prime, a platform under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and NASSCOM, has launched a digital upskilling incentives programme. FutureSkills Prime is an end-to-end re-skilling or up-skilling portal to foster innovation and talent in the country. According to a news report, the move will go a long way in funding the ambitions of eligible learners by enabling them to navigate careers in emerging technologies. The dynamic, AI-enabled platform will respond to the rapidly changing needs of the market.  The platform will focus on bridging the talent gap at the entry-level and train India’s existing workforce in emerging technologies.

The FutureSkills Prime programme offers globally competitive curriculums, aligned with the industry, and approved by the government. It emphasises online learning (with no geographical barriers) to promote the democratisation of learning across India. It supports equitable learning and employability prospects for all. It allows a candidate to take a diagnostic test that provides information to aid their training and career-related decisions. An official stated that the platform should not be seen “just as an entry-level skilling platform but as a continuous dynamic ladder of skilling, upskilling, and rescaling. The outcomes and measures of upskilling are really about career progression.” The platform will also look to onboard specific skill sets and job roles from other verticals such as fintech and healthcare to the new requirement for hybrid professionals.

The platform also offers badges, ‘skills passports’, and a ‘learners’ ledger’ that are unique to the platform and lets the learner record their skilling journey. Furthermore, it provides blended learning modes, faculty development, formative assessments, and learning analytics. FutureSkills Prime ensures a comprehensive competency framework that addresses all skill levels, the news report stated.

An industry analyst noted that the pandemic has compelled the world to look not only at digital skills but business transformation, which ultimately means that technology is the glue binding the new world together. Under the incentives programme, potential learners can upskill in ten of the most in-demand areas of advanced technologies. The programme covers foundations and deep-skilling courses across technologies, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and augmented/virtual reality. While the FutureSkills Prime platform offers numerous industry-handpicked courses and pathways, many of them free of cost, the incentive programme will help candidates train in paid technical courses while being reimbursed on completion.

Employees in IT and non-IT firms, young professionals looking for a career in emerging technologies, central and state government employees, autonomous bodies, interns, and apprentices, are eligible for the programme. The government will provide an INR₹ 8,000 (US$107) reimbursement or 50% of the course fee for the deep skill courses, IN₹3,000 (US$40) or 50% of the course fee for the foundation courses, and IN₹3,000 (US$40) or 50% of the course fee for the bridge courses. Learners can sign up for the incentive scheme on FutureSkills Prime within 60 days of completing the course and clearing the assessments.

India’s demand for digital talent jobs is currently 8 times larger than the available talent pool and is expected to rise to twenty times by 2024. By FY2024, the demand for professionals in emerging technologies is projected to increase by 38%, while an increase in employed talent remains at 29%.

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