…You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us,
And the world will be as one
This best-selling single by John Lennon revolutionized the ‘70s when he imagined a world without any boundaries. A world devoid of barriers that divide people and humanity. Thought so simple, yet so very powerful. It spoke to the heart of millions and found an expression in Imagine. I am sure it will fill your heart and make your day, once you check it out online!
And such dreams are timeless classics and have driven visionaries, leaders and philanthropists through ages. Dr Romesh Wadhwani chose to dream of a world where human potential is amplified; entrepreneurship thrives, and jobs are created by the millions. His aspirations today have become an inspiration for many, and they have become a part of this movement. A movement that is accelerating economic development in emerging economies of South Asia, Africa and Latin America!
The job creation landscape in India is littered with stark facts. Last quarterly survey by the Labour Bureau showed that India has never created so few jobs, since the survey started in 2009, as in 2015: Only 1.35 lakh jobs compared to more than nine lakh in 2011 and 4.19 lakh in 2013 in eight labour-intensive industries (the only ones that are surveyed). These figures are particularly alarming since almost one million new people enter the job market every month. What’s more? By 2020, about 60% of India’s population of 1.3 bn will be in the working age group of 15-59 years. If not for skills and entrepreneurship, India’s demographic dividend may soon turn into a demographic disaster.
At Wadhwani Foundation, we aim to reverse this negative trend through sustainable partnerships with the Government, building targeted networks and creating technology solutions. Consistent with the vision and aspiration of its founder, Dr Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundation works to advance skills development and entrepreneurship education backed with research, policy and innovation capabilities to support the key end goal of creating jobs.
Through its pioneering work in creating the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), it has helped shift the thinking of a job seeker to become a job creator. And this aspiration has helped create 2000+ companies already, employing 10X folks. The Skills Development Network (SDN), drives another fundamental shift from what do you know about to what you can do. And this is empowering another set of folks to attain economic independence after high schools, making vocational programs more acceptable amongst students. It’s not the curriculum but practicum that has been brought under focus. And the programs take a holistic approach focusing on the lifecycle and measures objectively a number of folks getting into active employment.
With validation of the framework in place, the Wadhwani Way has further sharpened these programs, and actively working with the Government, both at the Centre and the states, to support the vision of making India the largest skill-pool in the world. It is leveraging technology, platforms and global business practices to accelerate program delivery, make skills future-proof, modernize learning aids and most importantly make it an inclusive way of working with all stakeholders to enhance the level of impact.
It is not another program. Not another initiative for sure. But a movement that puts a laser sharp focus on the outcome of high-value jobs that provide decent support for a family of four for 25 million by 2022! I invite you to join this movement if you are not already. Your thoughts to create jobs and change lives would be a good starting point. Let’s do it together!
Suman Sasmal is MD-India and SE Asia, Wadhwani Foundation