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Unlocking Potential: Empowering the 5G Workforce in India

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By Pinkesh Kotecha, MD and Chairman, Ishan Technologies

India’s journey towards embracing the transformative power of technology, particularly in telecommunications, has been nothing short of remarkable. With one of the swiftest 5G rollouts globally, our nation has brought high-speed connectivity to millions, catalysing progress and innovation across sectors. Initiatives like Digital India, coupled with collaborative efforts between government and telecom giants, have catapulted India onto the global stage as a beacon of technological advancement.

However, as we celebrate these milestones, it’s crucial to recognise the need for nurturing the human capital that will sustain India’s 5G future. Rather than viewing it as a challenge, let’s see it as an opportunity to cultivate new-age skills that will drive our nation’s progress.

Embracing new age skills
In the midst of our technological leap forward, there exists a significant demand for skilled professionals in areas such as network optimisation, cloud computing, and robotics. Reports indicate a shortfall of nearly 2.4 million skilled individuals, highlighting a gap that needs our collective attention. What further adds to the challenge is that 33% of the key network engineering and operations roles lack the future skills to address emerging innovations.

The mismatch between academic qualifications and industry demands highlights the crucial need for an agile, industry-oriented approach to education. Educational institutes have recognised this necessity and have begun offering a plethora of new-age skills courses. However, its essential to understand that reskilling is equally vital for existing employees to retain their positions amidst the shifting technological landscape. As technology continues to reshape the dynamics of various industries, continuous reskilling becomes imperative to ensure the workforce remains competitive and adaptable.

Bridging the talent gap together
Addressing the talent deficit in the telecom industry is a collective endeavor. While reports highlight the existing gap, they also paint a picture of optimism. India has the potential to close this gap by 2030 through strategic reskilling and hiring initiatives, leveraging talent pools in Tier-II & III cities and universities. With the economic significance attached to 5G and India’s aspirations to contribute to 6G standardisation, a skilled workforce plays a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of these technological advancements. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, is actively engaged in addressing the talent gap through initiatives such as on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships. The window of opportunity is short, but the growth potential is immense.

Empowering the workforce for tomorrow
Furthermore, ICT companies are recognising their role in shaping the future of their workforce. They are
increasingly focusing on upskilling their employees in emerging technologies like 5G and its use cases,
IoT, Cloud, AI/ML, addressing specialised projects and other related services. The emphasis is on establishing new training labs and Centers of Excellence (COEs), that offer skills and courses relevant to the current times and evolving technologies. These proactive initiatives require substantial investments to ensure that employees are equipped with the latest skills. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, companies that prioritise the upskilling and reskilling of their employees will stand out in the
dynamic and competitive times that lie ahead.

Paving the way for talent resilience
As India continues its journey towards 5G excellence, addressing the human bandwidth challenge is paramount. It’s not just about filling the gaps; it’s about empowering our workforce to thrive in the digital era. Through collaborative efforts between government, industry, and academia, we can pave the way for a resilient and skilled workforce that drives India’s technological progress on the global stage. Let’s invest in education, let’s invest in upskilling, and let’s invest in the future of our nation. Together, we can unlock the full potential of India’s 5G future.

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