Dignity of labour = respect for skills: A note as NSN completes one year today

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May Day greetings to all! As National Skills Network – NSN completes one year today, I wish to share some tiny bits of info that may help you know us better.

When I published my first brief note on connecting May Day with learning, skill development, performance and dignity of work, labour, exactly a year ago, I did not have a clear idea about how to involve more people in sharing knowledge and expertise. But I continued to write on various aspects of work, jobs, careers, training, skills, vocations, performance, productivity etc to share my thoughts and action points through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I was happy to see the response to my write-ups though they are more like thinking-aloud-type-of –things coming from my corporate experience, focused research, academic background and professional interactions with people in the industry.

National skills network May DayFew months later, I realized that there’s so much happening around the skill space in India and the news and events need to be collated, organized and shared in a simple and systematic manner. That’s how the NSN Bi-weekly News Digest came about. The first news digest was published in  September 2015 and today the same is continued through the newsletter – Skill Times.

NSN: India’s first online media platform for skill development and vocational education

As the response to NSN was positive and the need for it to improve became stronger by the day, in February 2016, we decided to explore more creative ideas to enhance the NSN experience. Thus, it evolved as India’s first online media platform dedicated to skill development, training and vocational education with a belief “each skill is important and has its own value”.

This helped me in connecting with more people, talking to them and writing about their positive impact in the form of Skill Story , Skill Talk and Resources. And Skill Times continues to get subscribers from all parts of India.

This week, we are launching a contest for schools and colleges in India to sensitize them about vocational education and appreciate skill development. Here’s more on Vocation in Vacation Contest 2016.

Why NSN?

The only reason for me to pursue and persevere with NSN is to connect with as many people as possible and share the impact of their work, challenges and learning from various skill-based training and vocational education initiatives in India. I strongly believe that facilitating visibility and voice can go a long way in encouraging, appreciating and improving the quality of our deliverables, simultaneously enabling an ecosystem.

And, of course, sustained marketing is a much-needed thing in skill development and vocational education.

Why me?

Yes, let me answer this question since many people ask me how, why and what I am doing in this space. Well, my formal educational qualifications and work experience apart, I have been researching skill-based training for various trades and non-manual skills for several years now. I wanted to add a chapter on skill development in my book on e-Learning. But, due to some constraints from the publisher it was not possible to do so. Later, I explored mobile apps as a good way to train people in various skills, particularly those who are low on literacy and need knowledge and info while they are on the job. Again, this turned out to be a difficult task as I was on a full-time job. I continued with my exploration in this area and wanted to put all my skills, knowledge and experience together to create something that helps me achieve my goals and plans for skill based training and higher education in India. NSN has a bit of all this in it.

  • Being initiated into vocational training during my school days, for instance, the value of typewriting skills as this was one compulsory skill to get a job – I can appreciate how important it is to balance our formal learning with different skills. In 80’s, for many middle class families in India, sending kids to typewriting classes and getting them certified was a must! This was much before the computers took over.
  • My doctoral dissertation in education – curriculum studies and M.Phil in creative writing strategies have equipped me with loads of ideas and action plans that can help training and skill development activities in India, along with my passion for digital story telling and an appetite for digital content that never satiates 🙂
  • And, more than two decades of work experience in MNCs and academics really prepared me to apply all that I learnt and help larger community – through communication, marketing and learning facilitation.

Jobs don’t give many opportunities to do various things that excite us, or somethings that we crazily care about; perhaps, we need to create those opportunities for ourselves!

I wish to thank my friends and family who’ve been with me all through and helped me form a team that makes NSN work! And thank you contributors, participants and well-wishers for all the motivation, encouragement, suggestions and feedback. This really means a lot to NSN!

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