UK-India Skills Showcase Webinar 6th December 2023

UK – India Skills Showcase 2023

Just like so many other countries, India grapples with developing a skills workforce. India is not alone in its quest to close the gap between industrial demands and skills and training provision.

On Wednesday 6th December 2023, in conjunction with the Department for Business and Trade, the UK High Commission in India and the Government of India, the UK Skills Partnership delivered an Online UK-India Skills Showcase and Dialogue.

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements and dynamic global markets, the collaboration between nations becomes imperative to address the evolving needs of industries. The webinar between the United Kingdom and India served as a significant milestone, delving into the current skilling priorities for industries in alignment with the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) in India. This cross-border dialogue aimed to foster a mutual understanding of the challenges and opportunities in skilling, laying the groundwork for a collaborative approach to meet the demands of the 21st-century workforce.

Understanding the National Education Policy 2020:

The National Education Policy 2020, introduced by the Government of India, envisions a holistic transformation of the education system to cater to the needs of the rapidly changing global landscape. One of the key pillars of NEP 2020 is a focus on skill development, aiming to make education more practical and industry-oriented. The policy emphasizes the integration of vocational education and hands-on learning experiences, preparing students to thrive in diverse professional environments.

Exploring Skilling Priorities:

The UK-India webinar brought together government officials, skills experts, policymakers, and industry leaders to discuss and analyse the current skills priorities for industries. The presentations and discussions revolved around identifying skill gaps, understanding emerging trends, and formulating strategies to align educational curricula with industry requirements. The speakers highlighted the importance of fostering innovation, adaptability, and digital literacy to meet the evolving demands of various sectors.

“While India is the most populous country, it is also the fastest growing economy among the G20. From an economic, social & political perspective, two of its priority areas to stimulate growth are education & employability. With globally acknowledged expertise in these domains, it is an opportune moment for UK’s skills, solutions and service providers to leverage the Indian market potential and work together to solve skills gaps / employability issues.”

Mr K T Rajan, Cluster Head – Technology, Innovation, Education & Skills at the Department for Business and Trade – South Asia, British High Commission, Bengaluru, India.

There is no doubt that skills development is a major priority for India and the UK. Through strong partnership skills and training providers in both countries can achieve great things together and really make a massive impact to society, employers, education establishments and individual students. Technical and vocational training is a first choice, every time choice. Never a second choice or bad choice.

Jonathan Ledger, Skills and Professional Bodies Specialist at the Department for Business and Trade, London.

Huge thanks go to all of our supporting skills and training providers for sharing their expertise, advice and offers. Presentations covered a wide range of industrial based skills and training including accountancy, new energy vehicles (NEV), tourism and hospitality, BTEC qualifications, Music and the creative arts and more.

You can download PDF versions of presentations from this webinar:

In the United Kingdom, technical and vocational skills development is a cornerstone of the education system, aiming to equip individuals with practical competencies relevant to specific industries.

The UK government, in collaboration with educational institutions and industry stakeholders, has various initiatives to promote high quality technical and vocational education. Apprenticeships, for example, play a pivotal role in combining on-the-job training with classroom learning, providing individuals with a direct pathway into the workforce while meeting the skill requirements of industries.

Awarding Organisations

The UK boasts a robust network of awarding organisations that play a crucial role in designing and accrediting world-class technical and vocational industry-based qualifications. They work closely with employers, private and public educational institutions to develop curricula that align with industry standards. Qualifications and certifications offered by awarding organisations validate the skills and knowledge acquired by individuals, providing a nationally recognised and standardised measure of competence and capability. Many Awarding Organisations also offer a range of tailored and endorsed non-regulated qualifications direct to industrial partners.

Training Provision

Further Education (FE) Colleges and independent Private Training Providers deliver high quality vocational education and training. They offer a diverse range of technical and vocational courses, qualifications, apprenticeship programmes, and hands-on learning experiences for almost any industrial sector. They collaborate with employers to tailor their curricula to industry demands, fostering a seamless transition for students into the workforce. The emphasis on practical skills, industry placements, and real-world projects means that students are work ready to undertake specific roles within the labour market.

Chartered and Professional Bodies

Chartered and professional bodies and , representing various professional sectors, play a crucial role in setting standards and promoting excellence in vocational skills. These bodies often collaborate with educational institutions to ensure that vocational training aligns with the expectations and requirements of specific industries. Through accreditation and certification processes, Chartered Bodies contribute to the credibility of vocational qualifications, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of individuals holding these certifications. The involvement of chartered bodies in vocational education emphasises the connection between academic learning and professional practice.

Skills Technology Provision

The United Kingdom is home to a dynamic landscape of technology providers actively engaged in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) skills space. These technology providers play a pivotal role in enhancing the delivery, accessibility, and effectiveness of vocational education.

Technology providers in the UK have been at the forefront of incorporating simulation and virtual reality into TVET. These immersive technologies offer realistic, hands-on experiences, especially beneficial for technical and practical skill development. VR simulations provide a safe and controlled environment for learners to practice and refine their skills before entering real-world scenarios.

Important Takeaways:

  1. Industry – Skills Provision Collaboration: A recurring theme in the discussions was the need for stronger ties between skills and training providers and industry. Collaborative efforts were emphasised to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, ensuring that students are better prepared for the workplace.
  2. Digital Transformation: The webinar underscored the paramount importance of digital skills in the contemporary job market. As industries undergo rapid digital transformation, there is a growing demand for a workforce proficient in technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
  3. Lifelong Learning: The concept of lifelong learning emerged as a critical component in the skilling landscape. Participants acknowledged the necessity of continuous upskilling and reskilling to stay relevant in a world where job roles are evolving swiftly.
  4. Inclusive Skilling: Discussions also touched upon the importance of inclusive skilling initiatives, ensuring that diverse segments of the population, including women and marginalised communities, have equal access to quality education and training opportunities.
  5. Global Perspectives: Participants shared global perspectives on skills initiatives. Insights from the UK offered valuable benchmarks and best practices, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of effective skilling strategies on an international scale.
  6. Emphasis on Soft Skills: Beyond technical expertise, the discussions underscored the importance of soft skills in the contemporary workforce. Both the UK and India recognised the need for cultivating skills such as communication, critical thinking, and adaptability to enhance overall employability.
  7. Public-Private Partnerships: Speakers and contributors highlighted the significance of fostering strong public-private partnerships in driving skilling initiatives. Collaborations between government entities, educational institutions, and private enterprises were emphasised as instrumental in creating holistic skilling ecosystems.
  8. Addressing Future Facing Skills Challenges: With the advent of Industry 4.0 and other technologies, presentations delved into how skills priorities are evolving to meet the challenges posed by automation, artificial intelligence, key enabling technologies and other transformative technologies. The discussions aimed to identify strategies for preparing the workforce for the jobs of the future.

This UK-India Skills Showcase webinar not only addressed immediate skills priorities, but also delved into broader aspects of global collaboration, soft skills development, public-private partnerships, and strategies for navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and future-facing skills.

Next Steps and Future Collaboration:

The session ended with a commitment to develop further collaborative efforts between the UK and India in addressing the skills priorities outlined in the NEP 2020. Potential avenues for joint initiatives will explored to strengthen the ties between the two nations and enhance the employability of their respective workforces.

Pearson BTEC qualifications are being offered to students across India, to prepare learners for a successful career in industry with hands-on practical learning. Our Pearson BTEC qualifications are offered at Universities, Colleges, International Schools and Private Training Centres in various states in over 30 Pearson approved Centres as we look to we expand our presence quickly. Working with partners, such as the National Skill Development Corporation International (NSDCI) Pearson hopes to initiate the adoption of vocational qualifications across India.” Annabel Lawday, Strategic Lead – Stakeholder engagement, HE and International Workforce skills team, Pearson.

I was very pleased to be part of the UK Indian Skills Showcase for AAT as we are keen to explore this potential market. It was a lively and well attended session, and we will develop new contacts and opportunities because of the event.” Tim Dawkins, International Development Lead, AAT 

We are really looking forward to collaborate with more India teaching institutions, to upskill talented students with CTH vocational qualifications for working in the Hospitality & Tourism industry.” Steve Beckworth. Director of Marketing and Business Development, Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality – CTH.

I am delighted that NPTC Group of Colleges was part of the UK Government Department for Business and Trade’s UK-India Skills Showcase Dialogue conference. During this important event, NPTC Group’s India Associate, Gagan Aggarwal, highlighted our experience and steadfast commitment to promoting excellence in skills training within India. We are dedicated to advancing green skills and technology, raising the bar for teacher training, and equipping future trainers with the necessary skills through our comprehensive programmes.” James Llewellyn, Director of Worldwide Operations, NPTC Group of Colleges

“RSL has worked in India for over a decade, providing high quality creative arts qualifications across music, dance, drama, public speaking and vocational qualifications. Our success is built upon our approach of listening to our customers and developing qualifications that are industry relevant and territory specific.” Nathan Theodoulou, Director of Product & Marketing, RSL Awards Ltd

Why the focus on skills development?

The question of “why bother” addressing skills and training priorities and aligning education with industry needs? High quality technical and vocational training can have a massive impact on society, industry, education institutions and learners.

Economic Growth – A skilled workforce is a driving force behind economic growth. By investing in education and skilling, nations can ensure that their citizens are equipped with the competencies needed to contribute meaningfully to various industries. This, in turn, fosters innovation, productivity, and overall economic development.

Global Competitiveness – In an interconnected world, nations compete on a global scale. A well-skilled workforce enhances a country’s competitiveness by attracting investment, fostering technological advancements, and positioning the nation as a hub for innovation and talent.

Labour Market Alignment – Aligning education with industry needs ensures that graduates are job-ready. This reduces unemployment rates, addresses skill gaps in the workforce, and facilitates a smoother transition from education to employment.

Adaptability to Technological Changes – The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by rapid technological advancements. Skills initiatives help individuals adapt to these changes, ensuring they can participate in and contribute to industries evolving with automation, artificial intelligence, and other disruptive technologies.

Social Mobility and Inclusivity – Skills initiatives contribute to social mobility by providing individuals with the tools to uplift themselves socioeconomically. Inclusive skilling strategies also address disparities, ensuring that diverse segments of the population have equal access to opportunities and resources.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship – A skilled workforce is more likely to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Skilled individuals are better positioned to create and lead startups, contributing to a culture of innovation that can result in the development of new products, services, and industries.

Lifelong Learning Culture – Developing and updating skills is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process. Fostering a culture of continuous learning ensures that individuals remain adaptable and resilient in the face of evolving job market demands, helping them stay relevant throughout their careers.

Global Collaboration – Addressing skills priorities also opens avenues for international collaboration. By sharing best practices, insights, and resources, nations can collectively work towards global challenges, creating a network of skilled professionals capable of addressing shared issues.

Social Cohesion – A skilled and educated population contributes to social cohesion. It promotes understanding, tolerance, and a shared sense of purpose, fostering a society that is more capable of addressing challenges and working together towards common goals.

Investing in technical and vocational skills and aligning skills education with industry needs is not just about individual success, but is fundamental to the prosperity and well-being of nations. It ensures a sustainable and resilient future, where citizens are empowered to contribute meaningfully to society and the global community.

Click here to see more information about all aspects of the UK Education system, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

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