Education firms bet big on EV, IoT as futuristic courses
How are education technology firms preparing for the new auto era? Autocar Professional takes a look at how companies are betting on an intersection of EV and AI courses to steer the future of skilling.
As electrification picks up pace in the mobility sector in the country, education firms are looking to bridge a potential skills gap as demand is expected to outpace supply. This is an area that is beginning to get attention from private educational players like Byju's whose subsidiary Great Learning aims to offer three to four courses on electric vehicles in the next couple of years, to add to its current repertoire of work on disruptive technologies, which comprise half of its current offerings.
“Automotive is a field with subdivisions and each one of these functions such as batteries, electronics, computing, and thermal management is getting reskilled," said Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-Founder of Great Learning. The company started a post-graduate programme on EV design, towards the end of last year, which already has 200-300 learners, Nair stated.
He added that going forward, there will be an increased emphasis on data in the automotive sector stating that historically, this was a business function within this space, not necessarily an engineering or technical function. “Connected systems and battery technologies are for sure going to be immediate areas of focus, and down the road, we will look at integrating more IoT, connected devices, and data into the picture,” he added.
Data, data and more data
A recent Pearson report points to data that talks about how data processing, machine learning, and IoT will be the top areas of focus in India. This is a part of the Pearson Skills Outlook: Employee View, which polled 4,000 people in four countries (US, UK, India, and Brazil) to see what skills they were prioritising for their career development.
Ranjita Raman, CEO of Jaro Education concurs, saying that data analysis skills are imperative in this data-driven industry, to extract insights from vast data sets to make informed decisions. “Problem-solving abilities are crucial for professionals to tackle complex challenges creatively and come up with innovative solutions,” Raman says. “Our focus is on in-demand fields such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, cybersecurity, and sustainable energy. But technical skills alone aren’t enough. That’s why we are incorporating courses that teach essential soft skills like critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving,” Raman states, adding that not only the top companies, but even the professionals who have higher designations like Head of Marketing, Director, Deputy General Manager, and many such roles are taking interest in the course of EV, which is what motivated Jaro to explore a course on electric vehicles.
Entrepreneurs, researchers, product designers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, IT professionals, quality testers, infrastructure developers, charging station staff, e-cab owners and drivers, EV maintenance mechanics, personnel skilled in converting petrol or diesel-powered vehicles to electric, and sales and marketing staff are all predicted to create employment opportunities in the EV industry, according to studies conducted by Teamleases’ secondary research team.
Ed-tech courses: cruising the EV way
Clearly, super-specialisation seems to be the focus area for educational firms. For instance, Jaro Education is offering a course on Advanced Programme in Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology in collaboration with IIT Delhi. Besides this, Pune-based MIT World Peace University which is affiliated with UGC, offers a Post Graduate programme on ‘MTech by Research in eMobility’. This is a research-intensive multidisciplinary programme.
“Looking at the scope of futuristic education in electric vehicles, in addition to the existing state-of-the-art laboratory infrastructure with advanced hardware setups and software tools, we have a plan to set up a Centre of Excellence in eMobility at our university. It will facilitate the research, testing, and training facilities in the emerging areas of EVs,” says Dr Bharat S. Chaudhari, a Professor with Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, at MIT World Peace University. He goes on to highlight that fuel cell technology and hydrogen vehicles will be the courses of the future, besides focusing on Battery Management Systems, Power Converters and Motor Designs, EV telematics, Advanced Driving Assistance Systems, and autonomous vehicles.
Given the increasing importance of electric vehicles in the automotive industry and the push towards more sustainable transportation options, it’s likely that there is a growing demand for courses related to electric vehicles, says Raman, as Jaro plans to add one or two modules related to electric vehicles in the coming six to 12 months. The company cautioned that the long-term roadmap is subject to change based on industry developments, and rather than focusing on the number of modules, they prefer to prioritise the quality of each module and aim to continually modify and improve them.
Simplilearn is also working on building application-oriented projects and data sets for the EV industry which would then be included in the company’s programmes. The growth of home charging stations, batteries, and clean vehicle technology offers opportunities for professionals skilled in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) going forward, SimpliLearn stated. “To create better context and ability to apply these skills in the EV sector, Simplilearn is working on adding specific EV focused projects in its programmes across data science, machine learning, and other relevant domains,” says Kashyap Dalal, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Simplilearn.
Whereas educational firms are offering this bevy of courses, what is the outcome? Are people getting inducted into companies? Results seem positive, with Jaro Education’s Raman saying that their batches for the course on electric vehicles have seen participation from companies such as Mercedes, Ford, Jaguar, Bosch, MG Motor, Tata Motors, TCS, and Infosys. “The market response to our EV course has been astounding. According to the previous batch profiles, we have seen professionals across all the age groups participating in the EV course by IIT Delhi, in which the professionals with less than 10 years of experience constitute the majority at around 55 percent of the previous batches while the remaining 45 percent constitute of personas with 10+ years of work experience,” Raman notes.
“Every indicator of demand from customer or industry side points out that this is a huge area of upskilling and employment. Because if you think traditionally, all the other digital transformation areas have all largely been for computing branches within engineering, which is largely computer science and electronics to some extent, Information Technology,” says Great Learning’s Nair.
Career prospects of the candidates are also bright as 66 percent of learners are either able to get a new job or progress in their current organisation within 12 months of completion of the programmes. This is across a very large base of learners across courses offered at Great Learning. According to Teamlease’s secondary research team, the current EV platters (players) have hired more than 2,200 core employees in the past six months. Core employees are the ones on the payroll.
Phalgun Kompalli, Co-founder, upGrad says, “The electric vehicle industry in India is on the brink of exponential growth. Corporates and global brands are scouting for skilled talent that can interact with modern-day technologies within the e-mobility sector and drive higher business results. Under such evolving circumstances, it is critical for professionals to have their subject fundamentals clear and hone skills that will also allow them to understand and pre-empt market conditions. A few relevant yet niche skill sets around electrochemical storage, power electronics, electrical machines, and an understanding of different aspects of e- vehicle mobility could help freshers or even seasoned professionals get an edge, as these are also some of the emerging trends within the industry.”
He added that upGrad was in the market evaluation and research phase to be able to design a market-ready product in electric vehicles, backed by strong university recognition. From the growth perspective, MSDE has predicted that the Indian EV industry will go on to create over nine million job opportunities by 2030, he further stated.
Teamlease studies show that by 2030, Original Equipment Manufacturers are anticipated to launch more than 20 new EVs, which may increase the demand for analysts, product designers, and engineers with expertise in IoT, AI/ML, and EVs as well as knowledge of EV power-terrain. It also states that the industry will have a 42–45 percent increase in the number of jobs in the near future. All in all, companies are optimistic and pinning hopes on this emerging sector. “This is a space that opens up very favourable career outcomes for core engineering branches, which are mechanical, electrical, and automobile engineering. It’s great and we are very bullish on it,” says Nair.
This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's May 15, 2023 issue.
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