WhatsApp, NSDC launch initiative for skill development, entrepreneurship opportunities for youth

The partnership identifies two broad areas of collaboration — WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy, and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) and WhatsApp Business App Training sessions.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and WhatsApp on Thursday launched its Digital Skill Champions Programme that aims to train Indian youth on digital skills to make them employment ready.

The partnership identifies two broad areas of collaboration — WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy, and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) and WhatsApp Business App Training sessions.

Through this programme, school and university students would be coached to imbibe digital and online skills that would culminate with WhatsApp and NSDC awarding 'Digital Skill Champions' certification.

The course is based on a module format, is comprehensive and intensive in imparting knowledge about important aspects of the online ecosystem, equipping students with technology-based learning on campuses across Tier III and IV towns and cities in the country.

WhatsApp India Director (Public Policy) Shivanth Thukral said the company wants to be a "credible digital ally" to take various solutions like education and financial services to the last mile.

"With 400 million-plus users in the country, I think skilling is something we definitely must take up as a challenge...our product philosophy of remaining simple, reliable and secure is what helps solve for at scale," he said in a virtual event, and cited example of partnerships with Kolkata Municipal Corporation and HDFC.

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As India embraces digital innovation and entrepreneurship, it is imperative that the youth today are made aware of and educated about how they can upskill themselves and take charge of their presence online, he added.

"...we do not want to become the owners of this domain, but we want to become as much of a partner with everybody in this domain...whether it's the state, private sector or public-private partnership, we're looking at scaling across the country by partnership, that's our approach. (We are) a digital ally to this country, and doing everything which is good for India, as far as WhatsApp and family of apps is concerned," he noted.

Thukral said through this partnership, WhatsApp is committed to enhance the digital skills of aspiring entrepreneurs and empower the youth of our country to create a safe digital environment for all.

As part of WhatsApp Digital Skills Academy, youth from Tier III and IV cities will be trained on critical aspects of digital safety and online privacy. The initiative will kick off with a pilot across 50 campuses in five states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

The programme will be imparted through WhatsApp's project implementation partner, InfiSpark.

Under PMKK and WhatsApp Business App Training, WhatsApp will conduct training sessions to familiarise Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra trainers with the WhatsApp Business app.

India has about 15 million monthly users of its business app in India, and more than 50 million users globally.

"In a rapidly evolving digital world, NSDC aims to extend the scope of virtual learning for youth across India. The aim is to empower youth with new-age skills to make them employable and more productive in their work environment...This is a great time to be a job creator because we are essentially in a technological curve, which is rapidly changing and therefore creating many new opportunities," Manish Kumar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSDC, said.
Edited by Kanishk Singh