Context: With 1.2 billion people and the world’s fourth-largest economy, India’s recent growth and development has been an extraordinary achievement. Fostering greater levels of education and skills will now be critical to promoting prosperity in a rapidly globalizing world. However, while primary education has largely been universalized, learning outcomes remain low and too many secondary graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market. This has resulted in a youth unemployment rate (10.4 per cent) that is three times higher than the total unemployment rate.
Implementation of programme/ initiative: Skills to Succeed empowers educators and educational institutions to incorporate new technologies into their teaching and learning. The programme targets disadvantaged learners aged 16-25 and provides them with real-world skills by bringing together rigorous research, interdisciplinary partnerships and innovative technologies to deliver curriculum content. Accenture in collaboration with Quest Alliance (a programme of the International Youth Foundation) and with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are the main implementers of the programme. Quest aligns its efforts with the Government of India’s education and skills development policies and priorities, generating positive synergy. Skills to Succeed is focused on five main sectors that Accenture’s research indicated have the maximum potential for employment; business process outsourcing, hospitality, retail, construction and microenterprise. Accenture has provided Quest Alliance India with more than US$950,000 since 2009 to carry out work related to enhancing young people’s employability in India.
Main challenges: Developing meaningful demand-led training programmes is a complex task, as is equipping individuals with market-relevant skills, for which there is no universal solution. Each individual has a unique set of needs and personal obstacles to overcome, similarly the skills employers demand vary significantly by location and sector. Accenture and Quest were faced with many such issues when developing Skills to Succeed and were able to surmount these obstacles by providing tailored solutions and continuous adjustments.
Results achieved: Skills to Succeed has provided more than 3,000 disadvantaged youth with relevant career and workplace skills to help them secure decent work and avoid precarious employment in the informal sector. Quest Alliance also engages national and state governments in policy dialogue to improve educational quality and relevance over the long-term. Their efforts have increased the capacity of stakeholders to incorporate new technologies into educational plans and policies.
Moving Forward: Accenture and Quest Alliance plan to implement market-relevant strategies across India as well as other countries around the world to close skills gaps, address local market needs and improve scalability by leveraging technology. They will also continue to work in line with national priorities set by the Government to ensure long-term success.
Replicability: Skills to Succeed has already equipped more than 250,000 individuals around the world with the skills they need to get a job or start a business. The success of this initiative shows that the practices outlined in this programme can be replicated in other contexts and on an even larger scale. Key to the success of the programme has been extensive preliminary research and planning along with the application of new technologies to education and training. The combination of international expertise and local knowledge have been critical to the success of Skills to Succeed.
Date: November 18, 2016