Gearing up to skill

Gearing up to skill

This clearly indicates an opportunity for the private sector. Till 2008, this market was catered to only by government-run institutions such as Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) and vocational training programs offered by different Ministries. In 2008, it was opened up to the private sector with the formulation of National Skill Policy, giving birth to IndiaCan Education (IndiaCan). It is a 50:50 joint venture between Educomp Solutions, a Gurgaon-based education company and Pearson Education, Noida, a global player in the education and publishing line. Located in Noida, Indiacan offers vocational training, Eten courses, which was started by Educomp for chartered accountancy, courses in company secretaryship and other related courses, and PurpleLeap for talent development of college students and making them professionally ready.

“Educomp has credibility in the Indian education market, while Pearson offers global and technologically potent content.”

Explaining the partnership, Sharad Talwar, CEO, IndiaCan, says, “Educomp has credibility in the Indian education market, while Pearson offers global and technologically potent content.”

Reaching out

IndiaCan has established extensive reach across the nation to make its services available to students in Tier I, Tier II, Tier III markets. Currently, it has 400 centres across the country, of which 100 are dedicated to vocational training. The remaining 300 centres provide a mix of the three streams offered by IndiaCan.

snapshot

IndiaCan

Year: 2008

CEO: Sharad Talwar

Joint Venture: Educomp Solutions and Pearson Education

No. of centres: 400

There is a full-fledged content team with the guidance from the industry to develop relevant curriculum, which is continuously upgraded. There are different courses targeting different groups starting from a 10th standard pass out to undergraduate students.

For remote delivery of content and training, the company has set up VSAT (very small aperture technology) that allows a teacher to communicate to a number of students across many locations at the same time. “In addition to this, we create a pool of IndiaCan-certified trainers if there is a need,” he says. A ‘Train the Trainer’ certification process certifies the faculty, without which they cannot conduct any classes.

Leveraging the need

IndiaCan’s strengths are its longer term courses, sustained presence across Tier I, Tier II, Tier III markets, franchise centres, and tie-ups with renowned companies for training in respective industry verticals. For instance, IndiaCan has a tie-up with NDTV to provide courses in media and journalism. It is also in the process of tying up with other companies for similar courses.

“Textile, auto and auto components, and infrastructure are the three main areas where the need for skill is very high. The retail segment is emerging and sales function is relevant across industry segments,” explains Talwar. Therefore, IndiaCan has courses catering to these segments. Infrastructure management is also becoming a critical area of focus. English language training is another strong point for IndiaCan as its parent, Pearson, trains over 50 million people across the globe.

A dedicated team caters to industry tie-up needs and placement support. ICICI Prudential, Indiamart, Devayani International (franchisee for KFC, Pizza Hut), Converges (a BPO), are some of the companies IndiaCan works with.

EdExcel, a former UK government entity taken over by Pearson, devises certifications. It has devised a certification course for entry level sales and retail for IndiaCan. This training is mapped to their higher level B.Tech course and is recognised the world over. This was introduced last year.

Challenges

Vocational education is not an industry segment as yet. But since the policy note on skill development, private companies have started entering this segment. Currently, the training cost can be a formidable deterrent for the students, and companies, forced to take in untrained people, offer their own in-house training just to fill their need. “Skill training in India still does not attract a premium from industry as of now. Due to immense demand and poor supply of skilled labour, companies are forced to recruit unskilled or semi-skilled people who have informal, on-the-job training,” points out Talwar. The trend will slowly change, and companies like IndiaCan hope to be able to fill that gap.

The market potential is so huge that competition is not the main concern for the time being. But by having a multi-pronged focus – from the quality of the course to the quality of placement – IndiaCan has strengthened its position in the segment.

Moving Forward

IndiaCan is working towards partnering with National Skill Development Corporation, a public-private partnership company. With this, it will be able to train a certain number of people every year, based on demands in different segments. While the students will get trained at a subsidised rate, once they are placed well, the government will refund the remaining training fee for those candidates, as per NSDC’s Viability Cap Funding criterion. “This is good as it eliminates fly-by-night operators,” points out Talwar. It also mandates IndiaCan to strengthen its placement segment to ensure optimum employment of its students.

IndiaCan will also launch new training products in collaboration with pertinent industry majors periodically to make the skills relevant. It plans to increase its number of centres by another 100 – 150 next year. Thirty per cent of these will be its own centres.

Vocational training and talent development is a rising sector, especially given the global need for trained manpower and the government’s interest to facilitate training in partnership with private players. IndiaCan was started in 2008 to catch this sunrise segment, and by strengthening its course content on the one hand, its delivery mechanism and placement opportunities on the other, it hopes to get the business economics right.


FILLING A GAP FOR SKILLED MANPOWER

  • With the Indian economy poised to grow, there is a huge potential demand for skilled workers – of 500 million workers by 2022
  • At 3.1 million a year, the current vocational training provided by the government is not enough to fill this gap
  • With their strong background in the education segment, Educomp Solutions and Pearson Group come together to form IndiaCan, a joint venture catering to the vocational training segment
  • IndiaCan also offers professional courses, thus covering the entire professional and vocational training segment
  • It actively updates its curriculum and adds new courses relevant to the segments it caters to
  • Uses technology to deliver courses
  • Only IndiaCan trained teachers can teach in these centers
  • Currently, it has 400 centres across the country, a mix of fully owned and franchisee run centres. Plans to add 100 – 150 more next year
  • Expects to become a partner with National Skill Development Corporation, and provide skill development courses at subsidised rates
  • Formed partnerships with relevant industries to ensure placement for its students