The Telecom Sector Skills Council (TSSC) presents a unique integration of skilling for manufacturing, services and sales. With four major sub-sectors – telecom infrastructure, network, handset manufacturing and repair, and telecom service providers – the telecom industry currently employs close to 2.8 million people directly and 7 million indirectly. In this Skill Story, Lt Gen S P Kochhar (Retd), CEO, TSSC, tell us about the positive impact of their endeavours in meeting the demand for skilled workforce in the industry through innovative digital strategies.
Introducing Telecom Sector Skill Council – TSSC
Telecom sector is not just about operators. We cater to different segments like services, infrastructure like towers and fibres, manufacturing mobile handsets, routers, switches and the list goes on. It is one of the high growth sectors, with employment potential for 76 lakhs in the next 5 years, distributed into various sub-sectors. In fact, no sector can grow without the telecom sector, yet sometimes people forget this sector because of inherent efficiency of our services.
Telecom Sector Skill Council – TSSC, partners with MSDE and NSDC and is highly process-oriented organization, with 97% of the members representing the industry. For example, the chairperson of our council is the vice-chairman of Bharti Group Mr Akhil Gupta. We also have Indian industrialists and manufacturers from companies like Lava International, Micromax etc. They help us understand the skilling, upskilling and reskilling needs of the industry and the manner in which the candidates have to be trained for the desired outcomes. We closely interact with them to create the Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Occupational Standards (NOS). Once this is done, we identify and affiliate the training partners with requisite infrastructure and empanel the assessment agencies. We take our responsibility for training and certification seriously and we are the first SSC to have a tie-up with Hindustan Times and Shine.com to facilitate jobs for our candidates.
Telecom is a mix of organised and unorganized industry and we give equal importance to both. The operators, network and switch equipment segment is fully organized, but the unorganized sector proliferates in the sale and repair parts. And, in the organised sector, maximum number of job roles are created at the lower levels.
We just completed enrolment of 50,000 youth under the Electronics System Development and Maintenance (ESDM) scheme promoted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) under the Ministry of IT & Communication.
TSCC presently conducts various telecom related courses including those in collaboration with Bharti Airtel, Videocon and Vodafone. Currently, we have around 485 training partners and about 2100 training outlets, in addition to this we are affiliated with about 500 colleges and universities and they run training for their students. We are the first sector in the country to integrate skill development with academics and we have the largest number of affiliations from colleges and universities.
Industry – academia connect
We are working with universities that give credit to skill based courses. For example, partnering with Amity University we introduced a skill-based component in B.Tech stream. This is the first university in India to integrate skill courses and we are proud to take lead in facilitating an ecosystem that helps map the industry needs with college curriculum. And for the component of the syllabus that doesn’t match our needs, we support them with industry certified trainers and equipment.
We also get industry support for these programs, for example, program at Amity university was sponsored free of cost by Airtel, we have a lab in Chitkara University in Punjab which is sponsored by Videocon. The only issue is that subsidized schemes may not be applicable to colleges and therefore the earnings will be limited, but we don’t look at it as a commercial activity. We look at it more as a nation building activity and the many courses we are doing with B.tech students attract subsidized training and we are taking this up quite seriously, and for us certification is the most important aspect.
We work with the ITIs in a different manner, we have looked at MES courses and tried to adopt them, but we have found only 3 courses which can be used for our skills. We use their space and physical infrastructure to set up our training center.
We got investors and large industries to set up technical infrastructure and lab for contact programs. After the classroom training, we take them to the contact center, and they learn on equipment themselves. We are in the process of setting up an experience center at Guwahati University together with the industry by setting up towers close to the classroom.
For training in manufacturing skills, we follow the German model, We get students and put them into training for 6 months to 3 years and they work on the shop floor and also attend classes and they obtain a diploma at the end of 3 years. Again we are the first sector who is doing this German model.
World class assessment process at TSSC
We are the most digitally-abled sector skill council with several initiatives for using online, blended and mobile technologies for training and assessment. Our assessment engine is homegrown and it uses highly advanced technologies to create a platform for automated administration and evaluation of candidates performance. The question bank dynamically creates question papers with different degrees of difficulty. They are administered through a tablet. There are cameras, including a body-worn camera to monitor any malpractices. Even the viva exam is conducted with the help of technology. We ensure that a candidate cannot pass the test unless he or she deserves to qualify.
We also cater to the entrepreneurial needs of telecom sector by training candidates through digital courses. And, our finishing school offers training in language skills, IT skills and finance skills. For employment, we have signed the first ever MoU with Shine.com for placing the candidates certified by us. Companies like Monster and Teamlease give us their requirements for skilled people in telecom sector. We’ve created a Requirement Management System that is open to two types of people: those who post jobs and those who create jobs. We settle in as a third party and we help connect each one with other. We have given this to every academic member of the council so that maximum people can avail it.