“LAQSH Jobs Skills Academy provides training and certification opportunities to individuals seeking to enhance their skills in various sectors.,” Ms. Revathi Kasturi, Founder and CEO of LAQSH Job Skills Academy.
To learn more about the importance of vocational teacher education for skill development, re-skilling and up-skilling of vocational teachers, LAQSH’s teacher training program, online certification program on the Skills to Sparkle platform and more, we spoke with Ms. Revathi Kasturi, Founder and CEO, LAQSH Job Skills Academy.
Below are a few excerpts from our conversation. You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel.
Q. Please tell us more about the LAQSH Job Skills Academy activities, how your programs are designed, and What are the skills you prioritize?
A. LAQSH Job Skills Academy is a company dedicated to equipping individuals with the necessary skills to excel and be job-ready. With a 17-year history, the company initially aimed to address the disparity between available job opportunities and unemployed individuals by focusing on skill development. The belief was that providing individuals with the right skills would enable them to secure employment.
Over the years, the landscape has transformed, presenting new challenges where jobs have become scarcer and harder to come by. Although skilling efforts have picked up, there is still a long way to go. Adapting to this evolving environment necessitates exploring and revising business plans and strategies. When LAQSH was established, the approach focused on skilling individuals to secure employment.
As we reached out to individuals, we explored different ways to connect with them. This involved collaborating with the state government to engage with the unemployed, actively participating in job fairs, and establishing partnerships with corporations.
With the corporates, a two-fold approach was adopted:
- Addressing their specific needs by offering skilling programs tailored to their requirements
- Starting from the ground up by providing comprehensive training to individuals and placing them in suitable job roles.
Challenges in making the popular model work
We faced challenges with both approaches. We realized these models needed to be more adaptable. We adopted a step-by-step approach, focusing on making small contributions rather than solving the entire problem. We have become more realistic and grounded in our efforts, understanding that we aim to make a positive impact without expecting drastic transformations.
Q. What made you decide to start offering vocational teacher education?
A. One of the challenges we faced while focusing on skills alone was the need for more sustainability in project-based initiatives. We realized the importance of a stable strategy, ensuring a continuous workforce and meeting monthly payroll requirements. To address this, we focused on the school segment, particularly government schools, where the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) was implemented. We realized these initiatives were more sustainable and long-term, especially after being integrated into Samagra Shiksha.
After establishing a strong presence in the vocational training sector, we recognized the need to take responsibility for developing our vocational trainers across the country. Focusing on their skilling, upskilling, reskilling, and orientation became essential. This realization prompted us to expand our scope beyond student education and venture into vocational trainer education. We aim to ensure that both students and trainers receive comprehensive support and opportunities for growth.
Q. Can you provide more details on what skills or trades you offer in your vocational trainer education? Does it encompass technical, pedagogic, and non-technical skills?
A. We offer vocational trainer education in two key areas: domain-specific skills and pedagogical skills, often referred to as platform skills in the skills framework. While professionals in the industry possess technical expertise in their respective domains, they may need to learn about effective teaching and learning processes. Our program aims to bridge this gap by providing a grounding in educational practices. Few people perceived the program as only relevant to arts and similar segments. We understood the importance of the teaching-learning process and its valuable insights, leading us to incorporate education into our vocational trainers’ on-the-job learning actively. As a result, our vocational trainer education now includes platform and domain-specific skills.
Our vocational trainer education primarily focuses on service industry skills, such as,
- Financial services
- Beauty and wellness
These sectors offer numerous job opportunities and require a strong service orientation and customer-facing skills as core competencies for both students and trainers. We have expanded our scope to include additional segments like tourism and agriculture to cater to a broader range of industries. Our goal is to equip trainers with domain-specific knowledge across various sectors.
Q. How are the programs implemented? Are they conducted physically or in a blended learning approach incorporating technology?
A. The programs are implemented through an online platform called Skills to Sparkle platform. We offer certification programs for various job roles, including platform and domain-specific skills in sectors such as Electronics and IT. Interested individuals can visit the platform, explore the courses, and register online.Batches are organized periodically, and we also provide guidance and support throughout the certification process in collaboration with the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs).
We organize five-day practical workshops for school trainers to enhance their hands-on skills. These workshops involve collaboration with service technicians, allowing trainers to solve real-world problems using the necessary hardware and receive guidance. Combining theoretical knowledge from engineers and practical expertise from technicians enhances the quality of skills training. While online training and certification are crucial, hands-on learning remains integral to our approach.
Q. How can LAQSH Jobs Skills Academy enhance vocational teacher training to address challenges and make it aspirational in line with NEP’s focus on vocational subjects in schools?
A. The National Education Policy (NEP) has emphasized vocational education and is expected to thrive. However, vocational trainers across the country are dissatisfied with their pay, as the planned annual increment has yet to be implemented in many states. This ongoing challenge requires acknowledging the need for compensation increases. Additionally, while policies articulate training provisions, their practical implementation sometimes needs to be improved.
Also read: Teacher education programs for upskilling and career advancement https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/teacher-education-programs-for-upskilling-and-career-advancement/
We recognize the importance of staying market-relevant and adapting to changing trends, such as the impact of technologies like Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence (AI). By embracing these advancements without perceiving them as threats, we can enhance productivity and provide better opportunities for both teachers and students. Investing in teachers’ training and offering them a clear career path is crucial.