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How AI can revolutionize employment readiness

Throughout India, many institutions are attempting to provide youth with the skills and competencies needed to secure a successful career. Unfortunately, the rapidly changing jobs market poses an enormous challenge: Major trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), renewable energy, and the rise of the gig economy are disrupting traditional jobs, and experts expect that the pace of such change is likely to accelerate in the coming decades.

In this landscape, preparing youth for the future requires a new approach to skilling. No longer is it sufficient to train a job seeker for one narrowly defined job role. Instead, learners must be armed with a robust set of future-ready, cross-functional skills and an orientation towards lifelong learning so that they can adapt to the rapidly evolving jobs landscape.

The Employability Skills Challenge

Many youths applying for jobs lack the skills that they will need to be successful at work. Indian employers consistently bemoan the fact that their freshers lack key employability skills such as communication, collaboration, customer-centricity, critical thinking, and digital literacy. Indeed, employers now are demanding ever greater digital literacy, as they also need workers to be comfortable using AI to accomplish tasks in the workplace. The unprecedented pace of the ongoing tech revolution further complicates matters by widening the gap between what students learn in school and colleges vs. what employers really need!    

However, gaining employability skills can pose major challenges for job seekers in terms of resources, costs, and time constraints.  Access to quality training programs is not uniformly available, leaving many without the means to pursue necessary skill enhancement. The cost of specialised courses and certifications can be prohibitive for a large section of the population. Moreover, time restrictions pose another challenge, making it difficult to allocate an adequate number of hours for further education and skill development.

Leveraging AI to Bridge Gaps

At the same time that AI has disrupted the job market, the smart deployment of AI holds enormous promise for revolutionizing skilling. Well-designed platforms can use AI to offer highly personalised learning that respond directly to learners’ personal goals and interests. A young person interested in health care, for example, can gain critical communication and collaboration skills in the context of patient care, rather than learning those skills in the abstract. This kind of personalization is much more engaging and motivating, which in turn accelerates skill acquisition.

Further, the best AI-powered platforms can adapt learning materials to the pace and complexity that best suit each learner’s progression. This approach moves away from the “one-size-fits-all” model, allowing for a more personalized learning experience. With the help of a 24×7 personalized AI tutor, learners can grasp concepts at their own pace, ensuring a deeper understanding and a solid foundation for future learning. Indeed, the best AI tutors pose interesting questions to the learner and use “Socratic guidance” to provide encouragement and support when the learner faces difficulties.

AI also holds enormous potential for giving students exposure to real-life scenarios that require them to build and demonstrate skills. A survey by Bournemouth University reveals that 65% of academics believe that students lack opportunities to apply graduate-level skills and gain industry exposure. This perception is supported by students and employers alike, with only 37% of students confident in the relevance of their training. By mimicking real-life challenges and scenarios, AI can enable learners to put theory into practice, thereby solidifying their learning while enhancing critical problem-solving abilities essential for navigating today’s rapidly shifting job landscape.

Beyond education, AI can enhance job searches by matching skills with suitable career paths, forecasting job trends, and suggesting networking opportunities. Additionally, AI-based tools such as resume builders and interview simulators can improve job application outcomes, making candidates more appealing to employers. Indeed, these kinds of tools can be exceptionally beneficial for youth who might not otherwise have access to high-quality 1-on-1 job counselling services.

But Will AI Really Be Beneficial?

Despite all of these potential benefits of AI, one major question remains:  Will the best AI learning tools be available to all learners and therefore democratize skilling, or will these tools be available only to a subset of learners and therefore exacerbate inequalities?

We do not yet know the answer to this question, but we are hopeful that the most forward-thinking developers of AI learning tools recognize the importance of enabling widespread access by all learners, not limited by financial circumstances. Indeed, this inclusive approach to AI-supported skilling is crucial for building a diverse workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the future.

Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning

The traditional view of education being purely academic and ending at graduation is outdated. In the ever-evolving job market, continuous learning is crucial. Recognising this, India’s New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 establishes an educational framework where vocational training is not sidelined but seamlessly integrated with mainstream education. This approach encourages students to engage in vocational courses alongside traditional academic paths, ensuring they acquire a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. In this context, AI emerges as a pivotal tool for facilitating skill development from an early stage, effectively transforming the educational landscape to meet future employability needs. Later in the employment journey, AI-driven learning platforms also can upskill employees in advanced skills such as leadership and can help workers who are displaced due to economic disruptions gain the skills they need for new jobs.

In conclusion, the journey from education to employment is no longer a simple journey from A to B but a dynamic and complicated expedition that demands agility and continuous learning, all of which can be powered effectively by AI-driven tools. By transforming challenges into stepping-stones for innovation and success, AI doesn’t just prepare us for the future; it integrates us into its very fabric, ensuring that as the world evolves, so do we, equipped, empowered, and ever ready. This is not the end of the journey but a new beginning, a clarion call to action for a workforce that is resilient, versatile, and future proof!

Source: Educationworld

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