The Economic Times | By J Vignesh | ET Bureau | 25 April, 2016 |
BENGALURU: The Innovation Acceleration Program from Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, led Anupama Subramanian, the executive HR director at Willis Towers Watson, to believe she could play a more transformative role. That is how she shifted to this company, six months ago. Senior executives like Subramanian and youngsters are increasingly turning to digital education platforms to gain new skills and stay relevant in the changing market. “With the emergence of a strong startup culture in India, which requires specific key skills to fit in and be of value in a small team, re-skilling has been made much more important. We have heard from many of our learners that employers are increasingly receptive to job candidates who have gained online course certificates from high quality universities,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO, edX. Online stock brokerage firm Zerodha actively looks out for courses that are relevant for its employees. “As and when we come across courses that we think is something our employees need to know, we encourage them to take it up,” said CEO Nithin Kamath.
MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) like Coursera and edX were under the scanner for their low conversion rates, but have now come up with cohort groups and messaging platforms to connect students with each other and platforms like Simplilearn and Emeritus are charging the customers, thereby bringing in the required push to complete the course. The companies say technology-related courses are most in demand. In India, we see a disproportionate interest in technology-related courses. Among our 10 largest countries, Indians are most likely to enroll in courses related to computer science and data science,” said Rick C Levin, CEO, Coursera. Take for example, Zeeshan, an android developer. He did not get placed during the campus recruitments and took up an android programming course on Simplilearn. “These days everything is on app, so I took the android programming course and landed with a job in a startup,” he said.
Money is no longer the talking point as the companies sponsor employees or employees are ready to pay for the sake of career opportunities. “The biggest challenge was, people were not willing to pay, but now they have begun to realise that it’s an investment,” said Krishna Kumar, CEO of Simplilearn. Accenture sponsors its employees to upgrade their skills. “In our learning curricula designed for specific business domains, industries and talent segments, we incorporate and sponsor employees to undertake online and virtual higher education and certifications relevant to their roles,” said Parag Pande, MD, Human Resources, Accenture (India). The digital platforms like edX and Coursera have already tied up with leading colleges. Udacity, which recently set up its centre in Bengaluru, plans to do the same. “We have seen huge interest among university students and are currently in talks with few institutions to understand the best way to take this forward,” said Vardhan Koshal, country manager, Udacity, India. The next big push for these digital platforms are tie ups with both startups and companies, so as to co-create relevant curricula. “In about six months’ time, we will be launching a PG diploma in digital business and ecommerce. What we might do is to partner with Amazon or Flipkart. They might bring in expertise on ecommerce and how their models in India and other markets work, and we will deliver the main content,” said Ashwin Damera, Executive Director and member of the Academic Board of Emeritus. – Courtesy