The outbreak of COVID-19 has an impact not only on all our lives and health but also on the labour market and training sector. Training institutes and schools have been closed and, therefore, practical training became almost impossible to continue. At a time like this, remote training has greater importance than ever before. To ensure the continuity of the skill training programs at various locations in India during the crisis, the SkillSonics CONNECT digital learning and collaboration programs were extended. Due to previous experience with digital learning strategies and programs, remote training solutions could be implemented without much delay.
SkillSonics trainers have taken up remote welding, electrical, mechanical, and automation training via video calls and exercises provided for self-study and have introduced simulation tools. The biggest challenge the trainers faced was the poor internet connectivity and access to electricity in some regions, as well as the lack of infrastructure in the homes of the apprentices. As most apprentices don’t possess a laptop or computer, they joined the lessons with the use of their smartphone. Other challenges were additional responsibilities (mainly for women) and difficult circumstances at the homes, mainly at homes of apprentices coming from socially disadvantaged families. In response to these challenges, the trainers also started recording online sessions to provide tutorials, so that apprentices were able to study in a more flexible way.
SkillSonics CONNECT – Digital Learning during COVID-19 crisis
The remote training was introduced in the training institutes run by SkillSonics in Kerala (Marian Center of Art & Craft TSSS, Trivandrum), Tamil Nadu (Schaeffler Technical Enhancement Program STEP, Hosur) and Maharashtra (Sandvik Skill Center, Pune), as well as in training centers located in partner companies like ABB. The new learning style was adopted quite well by both, trainers and apprentices. This, however, should not belie the fact that the most important part, the practical training, could not be conducted at this time, and needs special attention after re-opening of the training classes.
On the other hand, trainers also discovered digital training methods, which can later be transferred to the classroom, like the pre-scripted and recorded tutorial. It ensures that nothing is skipped and can be used by apprentices for repetition.
Further digital offers introduced by SkillSonics were digital short-term programs and webinars, including 10 technical sessions with more than 1000 participants from about 20 corporates. Among the participants were shop-floor workers and apprentices, but also managers and trainers. They took part in one-hour sessions and showed a high interest in gaining know-how and skills, despite or due to the lockdown period.
Webinar on Mechatronics
During the webinar on Mechatronics prepared by SkillSonics trainers Siddharta Reddy, Harshita HV, and Sriram BS, the participants gained knowledge about various streams of engineering and received an explanation of control systems. The main target groups were plant operations and maintenance technicians, therefore questions by participants were mainly of technical nature. Another seminar about Industry 4.0 covered topics such as the generation of automation, the evolution of the process control system, and the advantages of integrated operations. It was mainly attended by process engineers and plant operations managers, while questions primarily related to operations and transformations required to adapt industry 4.0. and were answered by the experts.
The high level of satisfaction shown in the anonymous feedback after the webinar, as well as the high number of participants (in almost every webinar the maximum number of participants was reached), both led to the conclusion, that effective lessons have been conducted. Hence, SkillSonics decided to organise another stream of webinars from 8th to 15th of May, focusing on manufacturing.
Related Article: Schaeffler India inaugurates vocational training center with SkillSonics as an implementation partner – Read More: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/schaeffler-india-inaugurates-vocational-training-center-with-skillsonics-as-implementation-partner/
The demand for short-term programs is tremendously rising, particularly for training courses that can be partly delivered digitally, and that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, cost-efficient, and in high quantity. In combination with practical training, it is key for effective training of a high number of apprentices.
Until the reopening of the training courses, SkillSonics focuses on short-term re- and upskilling courses that can be conducted remotely, the fine-tuning of theory-based webinars, as well as on the continuation of long-term courses. Training has been further developed to be offered as self-learning courses too, and online assessments have been created. Other SkillSonics CONNECT programs, such as the Trainer and Expert Network, will be extended to strengthen the digital learning and training opportunities.