Flipkart Foundation’s ‘Future of Skilling in India’ Conference Paves the Way for Innovation and Inclusion in India’s Workforce Landscape

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Delhi: The Flipkart Foundation, to collectively look at a solution-oriented approach towards the opportunities for new age skilling, organised and hosted a conference recently, titled ‘Future of Skilling in India’ at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The conference brought together key stakeholders from the development sector, including NGOs and Foundations and other key private and policy-level players. As a cornerstone of the Flipkart Foundation’s mission, the event aimed to foster meaningful dialogue, share perspectives, and draw attention to the inclusive, effective, and accessible nature of skilling and entrepreneurship in the country. The discussions further emphasised the role of the social impact sector in driving sustained development in India.

Underscoring the importance of creating social impact through skill development and the inclusion of marginalised groups in the workforce, the conference featured significant insights, starting with a keynote address by Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Executive Chairperson, LabourNet and Impact Officer at Sambhav Foundation. She elucidated the evolving nature of blue and grey-collar work, stressing the urgency of upskilling. Speaking on the importance of equity, inclusivity, and gender equality, she also emphasised sustainability and the integration of eco-friendly alternatives in the learning ecosystem. 

A panel discussion on the ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Future of Skilling and Entrepreneurship’, moderated by Joel Fernandes, Chief of Partnerships & Strategy, TeamLease Education Foundation, further addressed several critical aspects of skill development. It included Rajiv Sharma, Founder and chairman at Empower Group of Companies and Empower Pragati, who emphasised the challenge of prioritising immediate job placement over the value of skill development. Adding to that, Rajan Bahadur, CEO – Tourism & Hospitality Skill Council of India (THSC), stressed the importance of investing in resources for the future, particularly in localised jobs and upskilling efforts. Further, Prashant Sinha, Executive Director at PwC, provided insights into changing job roles in technology-driven environments, touching upon the need for improved training and technology adoption. Additionally, Aakash Sethi, Founder and CEO at Quest Alliance, underscored the significance of recognising localised trends and addressing the misalignment between aspirations and available opportunities.

In a fireside chat on ‘Making Skilling Inclusive, Effective, and Accessible,’ moderated by Parul Soni, Founder and Global Managing Partner of Thinkthrough Consulting, Founder and Secretary General of Association of Business Women in Commerce & Industry (ABWCI), the discussion explored challenges and opportunities that women face in the workforce. Kanta Singh, Deputy Country Representative – UN Women India, highlighted how women are missing from senior leadership positions, attributing that to the lack of access to information, quality training for women and investments in their needs at the workplace. Adding to the discussion, Tinni Sawhney, CEO at the Aga Khan Foundation, spoke about promoting inclusion and diversity in rural areas through safe spaces and vocational training. 

Ashika Tiwari, a participant beneficiary of the ‘Digital Literacy and 21st Century Skills for Employability’– a programme by Pratham Infotech Foundation, run in collaboration with the Flipkart Foundation – shared her inspiring journey at the event. From earning Rs. 1000 through tuition classes to becoming the first in her family to work in the corporate sector, her story exemplified the transformative impact of the initiative on her life.

The event concluded with Dilip Chenoy, Chairman, Bharat Web3 Association, who also helmed various leadership/strategic roles across FICCI, NSDC, SIAM and CII, offering nuanced insights on the measurement of skilling outcomes and the necessity of tailored training based on individual backgrounds. 

In addition to the discussions, a digital compendium was unveiled at the event, highlighting the Flipkart Foundation’s efforts to facilitate an inclusive, equitable, empowered and sustainable society in India. The conference also saw an exquisite display of handmade, sustainable products by some of Flipkart Foundation’s partner organisations – Mitti Cafe, All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) and Pinkishe Foundation.

Sharing his views on the discussions that unfolded, Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, said, “In this gathering of diverse voices and perspectives, we recognise the strength that lies in our collective efforts. It’s heartening to witness the commitment of speakers who are actively contributing to positive change through their varied experiences and insights. We extend our gratitude to each participant for their valuable contributions to this dialogue. It is through the collaborative spirit and shared wisdom present in this room that we can truly address the complex challenges our societies face today.”

So far, Flipkart Foundation has worked with underserved communities across Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to serve, support, and empower unskilled and underprivileged sections of society in various sectors, to ensure maximum reach and sustainable impact.