Enabling Discovery Powering Education Shaping Workforce

The Willie Innovation Advisory Council works closely with IITs and IIMs, and is working hard to bridge the gap between students in second- and third-tier cities through rigorous training. Bikash Gupta opened up about the WileyNXT initiative in a conversation with BW BusinessWorld.

WileyNXT offers professional education and learning activities that focus on Industry 4.0 and 4.1, with affiliates from premier educational institutions such as IITs and IIMs. Bikash Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley, WileyNXT and mthree spoke with BW BusinessWorld in India about the importance of ongoing skills development and the benefits of working under a brand name and many aspects of professional training including moving to Skills 4.1 while working in Industry 4.0.

From publishing to professional training, what has inspired the WileyNXT initiative?

Wiley’s business objectives are broadly based on three pillars of influence – enabling discovery, strengthening education, and building the workforce.

We have seen that there is a global technical skills gap, where jobs are growing and there are not enough qualified candidates to fill them, leading to unemployment. A credible industry report states that digitally skilled workers represent only 12 per cent of India’s workforce and the number of employees who need digital skills will increase nine-fold by 2025. In one of the recent surveys conducted by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), it was concluded that more than 50 per cent of Indian professionals need to adapt to the changing dynamics of the industry and improve themselves for employment.

It is Wiley WileyNXT that seeks to find sustainable ways to bridge this ever-expanding skill gap in emerging and new age technologies. Operated entirely by an all-female leadership team, WileyNXT builds a ‘self-reliant (self-reliant) talent’ and builds a future-ready workforce for the digital economy with the promise of 1-day job preparation.

Can you tell us about your course design?

WileyNXT’s educational science integrates design thinking and leadership lessons as part of all its courses to develop a trilogy of behavioral, functional, and technical skills among its students to address the aspect of respecting T-shaped individuals.

WileyNXT uses 3500+ business case studios from these leaders to drill relevant skills while creating concepts for labs, projects, case studies as well as digital courseware.

What is your recruitment process?

For college-to-career programs, students from Tier-2 and Tier-3 technology colleges with minimal opportunities are given the opportunity to be certified in WileyNXT’s technical courses and certifications. Upon completion of their certification, mthree, Wiley’s talent deployment solutions, helped them to find employment in leading organizations, including Fortune 500 companies.

Even for career-to-career programs, WileyNXT ensures that its students and candidates will not be overwhelmed. It provides support for #LearnToWin work to help students get closer to the right opportunity.

What role has the Willie Brand played in the success of your initiative?

The legacy of the global brand Wiley plays a key role in the success of our innovative bridge learning solution, WileyNXT. Familiarity with the global leader ‘Willie’ brings confidence and credibility to our customers, students and partners.

With publishing as the core of the Wiley business, we have a huge assortment of quality content and we also understand the students’ learning style quite well. Having been on the market for over two hundred years, we understand that only quality content with adaptive advice can help students in their academic or professional work.

In addition, Wiley has built a rich network with academia and industry leaders over the years, which has helped WileyNXT form a ‘Willy Innovation Advisory Council’.

WIAC is the guiding and approving body for learning solutions developed by WileyNXT. One goal of the Wiley Innovation Advisory Council is to promote the exchange of current industry insights and technology trends, to promote innovation and thought leadership and to collaborate in developing industry-centered learning and research frameworks and platforms for AI and indexing technologies. A sustainable industry-academy partnership reflects Wiley’s commitment to developing the collective talent and leading the relevant R&D initiatives for Industry 4.0, bridging the gap between academia and industry.

With the global brand Wiley’s reputation on the market and in support of the Wiley Innovation Advisory Council, WileyNXT programs have received approximately 10,000 candidates and students over the past two and a half years.

How do you create a sustainable model?

We plan to make our model sustainable by constantly identifying new and emerging technologies and skills demanded by industry and companies in the future. With our continued motivation to bridge the gap between academia and industry and to encourage skills and technology related to Industry 4.0, we feel we are on track. Our bridge learning model that combines education with career paths to high demand skills is not only beneficial for students but also a huge catalyst for closing the talent gap for Art 4.1, whose demand is increasing 5 times.

How do you scaling up?

For more than two and a half years, WileyNXT has certified 10,000 students and trained nearly 20,000 professionals in the Asia Pacific region.

WileyNXT courses are ‘Made in the India for the World’. Based on the widespread adoption and success of WileyNXT in India, Wiley is already working to expand WileyNXT worldwide, with a strong focus on APAC regions such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia.

Are you planning to expand into other technical and non-technical fields?

Our existing model provides upskilling solutions focused on Industry 4.0. WileyNXT’s unique curriculum combines a perfect blend of soft skills and hard skills to nurture the future workforce, ready to take on the challenges posed by fast-paced companies and business organizations.

Depending on the market demand, we will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the different needs of our students.

Why do you think the skill gap between academia and industry continues?

The gap between academia and industry is still wide due to lack of cooperation. Reducing the gap between the two requires more integrated partnership opportunities and models. The Willie Innovation Advisory Council is focused on bridging this gap. The vision is to develop a collaborative talent for a sustainable industry-academy partnership and lead to relevant R&D initiatives for Industry 4.0.

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