In an exclusive interview with Climate Samurai, Ashhar Ahmed, Co-Founder & Director , SkillShark EduTech shared about the skill Development start-up, idea behind, government’s policy, skill gap in the industry, combating pollutions and more. Here is the excerpt:-
Q. Share with our readers about your SkillShark, how and where it all started, what was the idea behind its name and formation.
Skill Shark is a skill Development start-up Co-Founded by EV Technocrats Akbar & Ashhar to upskill the future workforce in Sustainable technologies like Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energies etc. We passionately believe that attaining sustainability will not be achievable until Upskilling is focused as well.
While the entire Industry is racing towards achieving the EV Milestones with various products and services we are keen on smoothening the Skill Gap that will emerge in the transition to EVS.
It all started with a constructive debate between Akbar and Ashhar regarding the Transition to EVS. Wherein, one of the most noteworthy setbacks of this transition would be the job losses of millions who depend on the decades-old ICE Ecosystem and supply chains. That was the spark for SkillShark, started to address the Potential Skill Gap in transitions to EVs by strategic Collaborations with Engineering Institutions and OEMs.
Be a Shark in a World Full of Fish, This is our approach to training students that inspire the students to excel.
Q. India is currently facing a major skill gap and it is expected to rise post-COVID 19 pandemic, how does SkillShark look forward to abridge this gap?
Exactly, the COVID 19 Pandemic has amplified the potential Skill Gap and we are committed to address the same by developing curated Live Online/Offline training modules on EV Technologies through Industry-Academia collaborations and set-up e-Mobility Labs in Engineering Colleges.
We are glad to share the fact that since the start of Lockdown we have upskilled 0ver 5000+ students in EV and Signed Strategic MOUs with reputed Universities like Matrusri Education Society, KL University, etc.
Not only in India, but we are also actively participating in campaigns like EVs for Africa and upskilling the African youth as well. We are glad that our vision has been well received by the Industries and Academic Institutions Globally.
Q. What makes SkillShark Edutech unique and how different is its approach to implant the skills that EV Industry needs today?
We believe that Unemployability is a bigger problem than unemployment thus inspiring our trainees to be Sharks in a World Full of Fish.
We have adopted Concept Based Learning & Project Based Learning as our approach for Skill Development. That ensures 360 Degree development of our participants.
The Unique feedback that we have got from our 5000+ participants is something that makes us unique and pushes us further to deliver the best.
We have designed our programs for fostering Skills, Innovation & Employability.
Q. Who can participate in this skill development program offered by SkillShark, what is the minimum qualification required and how they are placed?
SkillShark’s training is open to Engineering and Polytechnic Students and entrepreneurs. Our training holistically covers the EV Fundamentals that will be followed by a series of courses on EV Business Models, Charging stations & other trending technologies.
To conclude, we can say students, faculties, research scholars, engineers, project managers, entrepreneurs & interested EV Enthusiast can join our programs. All they potentially need is a keen interest to learn. They do not require any prior knowledge about EVs. Any Person having a basic idea about Physics, Chemistry & Maths can easily explore our programs.
Q. The pandemic has wrecked spine of the auto industry globally; do you agree that the government’s vision of all-electric vehicles by 2030 is now a distant dream? How long will it take to make the vision come true?
Government’s EV vision 2030 is still achievable and the current EVWB models relieve a lot of players as well.
India is still not ready to accept EVs in the four-wheeler passenger vehicles but in the case of Logistics and commercials vehicles, EV’s are going to be the game-changer.
If we start focusing on creating an EV Ecosystem, then this vision can be achieved easily. When we talk about EV Ecosystem, it includes Power Generation, Grid Management, EVs, Charging Infrastructure, Supply Chain, Service, Finance, Insurance & Skilled Workforce.
Q. The biggest challenges associated with EVs are less range, slow charging time, battery life, and lack of awareness, how this can be addressed?
Battery swapping is currently deployed for E-Autos which is an amazing model that answers the challenges of range anxiety and charging time. And with the rate at which Ev charging stations are being deployed most of the challenges will be addressed.
Q. When we talk about electric vehicles the first thing that comes to our mind is “its environment friendly” how honestly these vehicles care about the planet?
Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions against the ICE Vehicles which is essentially one of the biggest forms of a contribution to Air pollution.
Although EVs still depend on the Coal based Electricity generated sources for charging. We believe that there is always the potential to upgrade the charging infrastructure to work with renewable sources. Which will not be possible in the case of ICE vehicles.
Q.Mining lithium for batteries, plus how they are charged, can affect an EV’s impact on the environment and they have been subject to criticism by environmentalists. Now the biggest challenge that adds up to this criticism is the recycling or handling of the batteries…. Do you think there is a policy in place for recycling in the country and the need of the hour is to train more and more young mind about handling and recycling?
Energy Storage, The system is a very critical part of an EV. So when we talk about ESS, there are various battery chemistries that are being used for EVs. While using various Battery technologies we have to keep exploring other sustainable, affordable & eco-friendly energy storage systems. Coming to Batteries,
We have to create awareness about the Life Cycle of the battery. Battery handling & Recycling are the areas that require attention along with EV awareness. In our programs, we have covered Battery Development Life Cycle & have shown the overhauling of various Lead Acid & Li-Ion Batteries. Definitely, we need a trained workforce for ESS Handling & recycling. Also, policies & regulations must be framed keeping in mind various propositions that can be emerged giving second life to the battery via re-charge, re-use & re-cycle model.
Q. Share your views on the current Electric Vehicle policy and what changes need to be made to support startups and increase job in this domain?
The E-Mobility vision of India started with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 & got executed with Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles. Presently, we have Central Policies & State Policies for EV Adoption. And we feel that these policies are significant enough to bring the EV revolution in India.
Current Policies have focused on EV Adoption (Incentives, Subsidies), (Direct/Indirect) Job Creation etc. Here the role of EV Players should be the creation of EV Ecosystem and deriving various Business Propositions in line with the policy. The current policy talks about Skill Development & Job Creation but In future, if we can include Fostering Skills, Innovation & Employability as a key point in the next iterations of the Policy, this will be of great advantage in realizing E-Mobility, Make in India, Skill India & Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
Q. Anything that we missed and you would like to add?
Our aim is to create a Learning & Technology Ecosystem Focused on Employability & Entrepreneurship Skills. If we look at today’s time in India, we have around 10K Engineering institutes/Colleges. Around 1.5 million engineers in India graduate every year from various colleges but most of them simply do not have the skills required to be employed.
And they end up choosing a different job/career sector. Un-Employability is a Bigger Problem than Unemployment. Our mission for Skill Shark is to foster Skills Innovation & Employability. Our major focus is on EV Technology currently, down the line we will be diversifying our skill development portfolio in Motorsports, AI, Data Science & Mechatronics & other trending Technologies too.