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SKILL UPGRADATION & TRAINING Upgrading & upskilling – Creating enhanced manufacturing

Feb 14, 2020

The manufacturing industry in India has the potential to emerge as one of the highest-growth sectors here. With the change in the face of manufacturing, the workforce needs to be upskilled and prepared for the future. During this period of change, right skills are the necessary antidote to emerge successful. With this Viewpoint, EM magazine seeks to throw light on how organisations are creating an ecosystem for skill development to embrace the future technologies.

Make the ‘learning’ interesting” - Kabir Bhogilal, CXO – Corporate Strategy, Batliboi

We have structured our training sessions to impart on-the-job training to our workforce to improve & upskill them to deliver quality output. We encourage/induce our workforce to make them aware and teach them new technologies & adopt the same at their workplace. We coax our workforce to move out of the ‘comfort zone’ of their present skills to learn new set of skills. We need to demonstrate the advantages they can get by upskilling themselves; once they see the advantages, they show willingness to learn new skill sets. Also, make the ‘learning’ interesting through games (wherever possible), live examples, videos, etc.

Colleges and private institutions need to upgrade themselves with equipment & instruments by which students can be taught the latest developments in technology. Institutions need to work closely with the industry so that students get ‘hands on learning’ of new skills and practices that are being used in the industry. They also need to encourage students to work on new projects and research. Institutions & the industry need to partner to have a ‘win-win’ situation. For every one year of college academic studies, students can work on live projects in companies for six months to understand the reasons and solutions for the problems faced by the industry. The initiatives by the government will definitely help the manufacturing industry, as the industry will get employable workforce which will be open to upskill further. Over and above, the existing government industrial training institutes that are imparting manufacturing skills can explore ways to facilitate college/institution partnership.

Go beyond campus interviews and recruitment drives - Arundhati, Managing Director, Plazma Technologies

Early into the industry, we learnt that in order to stay ahead of the technology and success curve. We need to keep innovating, and not only keep the technology we develop ahead of its time, but also the skill sets of our people. That tradition continues till date. Presently, we are in a tie-up with about 20 private colleges of Maharashtra and overseas, from where we select students and give them the exposure of our company. The main challenge is that the current syllabus is already over-packed with activities for most colleges, not allowing them the time/effort needed to put to the true skilling needs. Moving forward, industries and educational institutions need to find a common platform to communicate, share, engage and assist each other with. It has to go beyond campus interviews and recruitment drives.

I stay connected with a lot of colleges and have requested many to start a separate topic of ‘start-up funding’, ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘value intellectual property rights registration’ and ‘patents, copy rights and trademarks’. Although a lot of excitement is shown by the college administrations, the curriculum largely hasn’t changed. I feel this is affecting all of us as a society adversely and it is majorly left to the industry to recruit and train the new entrants. Each new government that is formed every five years has declared various initiatives, and only a few have, perhaps, availed those. If not kept simple, SME/SSI units do not have the bandwidth to follow-up for its lengthy compliance. Therefore, they mostly remain unutilised by the neediest industry sectors. It is about letting the industry know the benefits of these initiatives, communicating and having a dialogue with the industry about it.

Put thrust on practical training and add a generous dose of soft skilling - Arindam Lahiri, CEO, Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC)

At ASDC, we have created Industry 4.0-specific job roles so that the training for the same can be carried out to meet the needs of the industry. These qualification packs have been developed in consultation with the industry experts and have been validated by the industry. We hope these training programs become popular, as the industry adopts the same. Some of our key challenges for skill development have been – firstly, skilled jobs are not aspirational. Also, skill training is not aligned with the industry and there is a lack of credible assessments. We, in partnership with TCS iON, have embarked upon a digitised assessment process (both theory and practical). The entire process removes manual intervention to provide a rigorous, transparent and evidence-based assessment for the skilled trainee.

The employability of students graduating from Indian institutions have been a major cause of concern for the industry across domains. Not long ago, a report from McKinsey stated that only a quarter of Indian engineers are employable. According to an earlier NASSCOM report, only 35% graduates and 12% engineering graduates are employable. This is despite India having the second largest education system in the world, with more than 7,000 universities and 35,000 colleges. What the country is necessarily staring at is, while the industry is transitioning to a system based on advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, IIoT and CPS and embracing ideas of smart manufacturing, the workforce is largely unequipped to deal with the required skillset. It therefore becomes essential that the industry and institutions not only collaborate for job placements, but collaborate for education and skill-training across the 3-4 years of undergraduate college. Educational institutions also need to revamp their knowledge imparting system, put thrust on practical training and add a generous dose of soft skilling.

Government schemes, under the Skill India initiative, have catalysed the growth of the entire skill training ecosystem and has initiated a certain sense of competitive environment for skilled workforce. It has also promoted the WorldSkills competition to benchmark our skill standards against the rest of the world. The industry must take benefits of these schemes, which can fast track the internal initiatives of various organisations.

Promote ‘learning by doing’ method - M Krishnamoorthy, Senior Director - Training, IMTMA Technology Centre

At present, the productivity may be less due to lack of awareness of the emerging technologies by the user industry. As a training organisation, we train professionals on implementing Industry 4.0 and related subjects in order to make them aware. Since it’s interdisciplinary in nature, we impart training in related domains, which include mechatronics, industrial automation, sensors, robotics, etc, with hands-on practice. Many a time, organisations do not consider skill development as a priority due to budget and time restrictions. The industry should consider training/skill development as an investment and not cost, because the benefits realised through training are immense, resulting in productivity / quality improvement and enhanced customer delight.

The IMTMA Technology Centre is equipped with latest equipment digitally connected with CNC machines, CAD/CAM/CAE, CMM and metrology equipment, robots, automation training lab and other accessories necessary to impart hands-on training in automation, robotics and Industry 4.0. Our e-learning initiative, a web-based learning platform, wherein the courses can be accessed 24*7 from the desk, is also enabling learning to happen in flexible timings. Academic curriculum is theory-based and has less scope for practical work. Even if colleges have the machinery and equipment, the faculty is not well trained to use the equipment, and it in turn reduces the scope of practical work by students. Faculty development needs to be focused at colleges as one of the ways to prepare students for the industry.

This will enable the facilities available at the college to be used effectively for imparting practical training. Students should be guided such that an internship/project can be undertaken in the industry to help them gain the industry exposure. As an industry association, we collaborate with institutions in faculty development and student development programmes through industry visits, guest lectures, live demos of Industry 4.0-enabled connected factory, customised training programmes at the college, internships, etc. The government should focus on adopting measures for long-term benefits like updating the curriculum as per the industry needs, having a syllabus committee that comprise 50% academicians and 50% industry experts and building college infrastructure that promotes ‘learning by doing’ method.

It is important to create an industry-relevant curriculum - M Mohanan, President – Farm Equipment Business, Greaves Cotton

Our company is continuously working towards skill development, as this is the only way to meet the growing industry demands. We have launched the DEEP initiative under the government’s NEEM scheme (National Employability Enhancement Mission). As a part of this initiative, socio-economically underprivileged youth from local communities (in and around Greaves facilities – various factory locations) are shortlisted, trained and groomed. The talent pool is trained on fit-for-purpose vocational skills so that they can work independently or choose to join any other organisation outside Greaves, leveraging their learnings & skills acquired during the programme. Limited exposure to industry-relevant skills and theory-based curriculum are some of the key challenges with respect to skill development. Strengthening collaborations between academic institutions and the industry is the only way forward to bridge this gap.

Besides the reskilling initiative via DEEP/NEEM, our company has also tied up with RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru, under an incubation project to tap the talent pool & to train them on the upcoming EV technology. With the evolving technology and increasing need for innovation, it is important for academic institutions to upgrade themselves to create an industry-relevant curriculum for practical learning and provide more exposure to the current industry environment. This way, both the industry and the academic institutions will benefit from institutions providing industry-ready talent and, the industry saves time on extensive training and development.

We firmly believe in skilling the youth at the academic level, and we are working with few leading institutions to set-up state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence (CoE) for electric mobility labs to influence the future of mobility and to act as mentor platform for students to conduct cutting-edge research. The government has been introducing various skill development programmes and initiatives and have built an encouraging ecosystem for job-oriented industry-ready courses. The Skill India drive is a good platform for the youth to get skill-based training, enabling them to become industry-ready for the long run.

Embrace the electric revolution while maintaining technological superiority - Rahul Bagale, Deputy Director – Human Resources, Faurecia India

We are focusing on developing core skill sets including paint, IMGL & VR technologies in our organisation. Advancing Digital Management System (DMC) is one of our digital initiatives. Through Faurecia University, we upkeep our workforce not only to upgrade their technical skills but also behavioural skills, which is a blended Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), focusing on our value system. Shifting from BS-IV to BS-VI has also emphasised on learning of new skill sets. We aim to embrace the electric revolution (battery-powered, hybrid and fuel-cell electric vehicles), while maintaining our technological superiority in combustion engines.

Faurecia has behaviour skills matrix at all levels across the globe through our leadership competency framework. Our university addresses priority skills which individuals need. Developing our plant & program manager is the key challenge, which is addressed by customised learning. For workmen category, getting hands on product knowledge is a key challenge for entry level populations across different business units. Generally, we use our dexterity centres in all our manufacturing plants to upgrade them with a target of 16 hours per person. Focusing on development of team leaders & supervisors is another key challenge. We have designed four modules to take their skill sets to a global level. We are developing operational skill sets through an e-school, which includes practical exposure, campus visits, live projects, internships & placements, guest lectures, etc. These are interventions between industry-institution partnership. We are also focusing on recent graduates & propelling women empowerment. With overall 23% hiring in women category, batch of women graduates have been groomed for future roles. For India to reach US $5 trillion economy ambition, the government should take advanced steps to boost job-oriented skill sets of millennials, which is almost 47% of population & also take appropriate steps for changing skill gaps in the industry and reset the talent demand supply equilibrium in the country. India can also follow France on their international internship programme (VIE) policy, for international assignments of recent graduates to create a talent pool with global exposure.

The government of India needs to stay involved and invested - Prashant Deshpande, Associate Vice President – Education & Trainings, DesignTech Systems

DesignTech has set up a new business division named DesignTech Education, which is dedicated towards working with educational institutions and the government to set-up Centres of Excellence (CoE), to articulate new skilling courseware, that can help students learn new skill sets in the area of electro-mechanical engineering. We have set up more than 65 CoE across India to train students in this domain. Some of these centres are also industry-focused, such as automotive, aerospace, industrial machinery, etc providing industry-based technological and applications knowledge. A couple of challenges that we came across were with regards to finding the necessary investment to set-up these CoE/technology upgradation and inducting trainers who can impart knowledge and education to the students. To overcome these challenges, the government’s Skill India initiative has helped in partnering with the industry and to set-up CoE to train students on the latest technologies.

It also identifies execution partners, like DesignTech, that would look after the training and management of these centres. The changes in the curriculum do not correspond with the changes in the industry. Hence, colleges and educational institutes should partner with the industry, who can help them with setting up the right infrastructure and update their study curriculum. Engineering graduates today lack inter-disciplinary understanding. This should be considered by educational institutes while formulating and articulating their course curriculum. Colleges need to partner with the industry to help students gain practical knowledge through industry projects, internships, Centres of Excellence etc. The Government of India needs to stay involved and invested in regularly adapting and developing the right study curriculum and courseware for educational institutes. Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, advanced robotics, industrial automation, Big Data, IoT and many other technologies are paving their way rapidly into the industry, and this knowledge needs to find a place in the students’ syllabus. Continuing with their existing efforts and with the backing of right policies, push in finance and investments, infrastructure development and international trade, would help the manufacturing industry further revive and thrive.

Robust collaboration enables research and innovation - Meenu Singhal, Vice President – Industry Business, Schneider Electric India

With our smart factory in Bengaluru, we have set up a centre for skill development that showcases digital innovation and aims to prepare the people for further development and disruptive innovations in the future. As a company, we have taken several initiatives to address this skill gap in the country. We, in partnership with the Skill Development Institute (SDI), have established a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence (CoE) in electricity, automation and energy management at a campus in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. India is currently working towards becoming the ‘skill capital’ of the world. With demographic, technological and structural shifts transforming the nature of work in the country, the new entrants to the workforce must be trained, skilled and made employable. Various strategies such as skilling, reskilling and formal introduction to various skills that must be acquired have been reinforced. With India being one of the fastest growing countries in the world, the job market has witnessed a major transition with the presence of technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Machine Learning, that has disrupted the employment market. Companies today feel that graduates lack the skills, aptitude and proficiency required to cope with today’s challenges.

So, it is advisable to step away from the existing curriculum and instead, focus on research, innovation and promote hands-on learning, teamwork and entrepreneurial skills that will help them gain knowledge and understand the changing business dynamics. Colleges and private institutions can help by taking various steps like – helping students work on their cognitive skills, organising workshops, going beyond classroom training, providing collaboration with foreign universities, offering experiential learning initiatives, etc. The government initiatives such as ‘Skill India’ and ‘Digital India’ aim to develop the right skills to address the growing skill gap in the country, in context of the changing industrial landscape defined by new-age technologies. Industry-academia collaborations have reaped great rewards and augers well for the economy. A robust collaboration enables research and innovation for corporates by producing an employment-ready workforce. For universities, these partnerships will help create training facilities and internships for students and thus, groom them for a solid career foundation.

Image Gallery

  • Kabir Bhogilal

    CXO – Corporate Strategy


  • Arundhati

    Managing Director

    Plazma Technologies

  • Arindam Lahiri


    Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC)

  • M Krishnamoorthy

    Senior Director - Training

    IMTMA Technology Centre

  • M Mohanan

    President – Farm Equipment Business

    Greaves Cotton

  • Rahul Bagale

    Deputy Director – Human Resources

    Faurecia India

  • Prashant Deshpande

    Associate Vice President – Education & Trainings

    DesignTech Systems

  • Meenu Singhal

    Vice President – Industry Business

    Schneider Electric India

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