Mumbai : Ronnie Screwvala has presented Larsen & Toubro (L&T) with a plan to upskill the 14,000 people that India’s largest engineering firm is laying off, an initiative that could mark a turning point for the country’s jobs market if it’s accepted.
L&T is shedding employees in record numbers due to digitization and productivity enhancement, it has said.
The programme will be run through UpGrad, an online higher education platform that offers courses in product management, data analytics and digital marketing. Co-founder Screwvala is best known for setting up media company UTV Group.
“Our core at UpGrad is that while technology-driven disruptions will create redundancies, it will create even more opportunities and with the right learning and training we can upskill individuals for future jobs,” said Screwvala. “The L&T announcement triggered us to act on this and this initiative is the first of its kind in India and globally. Both organisations and individuals need to take this issue head on with a sense of urgency.”
An UpGrad team will work to ensure relevant placement or jobs once the upskilling is done. The assessment and gap analysis will be free while the online course of one to three months will be a paid programme with scholarships. It will also involve one-on-one mentor-ship and assessment.
“It will be a test case for us where we will gather a critical mass (of people), conduct gap analysis and based on that design a learning experience that will enable a shift in career planning,” Screwvala said.
L&T declined to comment on the proposal. The central government has emphasized the need for skill development to equip Indians for complex tasks as jobs increasingly demand expertise of a higher order.
The UpGrad programme looks to become part of this ecosystem. “If we can do it as a model on that scale it will be the best way for us to prove our programme,” said Screwvala.
“Even if we don’t get a positive response from L&T, we will still go ahead with our plans.” The UpGrad team has also contacted some of those laid off through LinkedIn and recruitment agencies.
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