Working in the construction industry is not just about mixing cement and gravel or laying bricks. It has a long list of jobs that fall under different categories of trades. We need different skills to fulfil these job roles and career aspirations. On this note, when Ms. I Shanti Sree, Director, PR and Placement, started her Skill Story about National Academy of Construction (NAC), many intricate aspects of how this institution is contributing to construction industry got discussed. As the Director of PR and Placements, she has successfully overcome many challenges about connecting skills with jobs.
About the construction industry
For the last five years, the construction industry has been growing steadily at over 10% annually. We are expecting investments upto 52 lakh crores by the end of 2017. This is creating a huge demand for skilled workforce at all levels – masons, painters, carpenters, excavators, bar benders supervisors, engineers, architects, project managers and so on. At present the industry employs 380 lakh manual workers of which 83% are unskilled. We estimate the need for an additional 63 lakhs per year to complete projects on time, with quality, safety, and with reduced cost and wastage.
Meeting the demand for skilled workforce in the industry
NAC is a unique organization which conducts all construction related training activities under one umbrella – training right from mason to chief engineer. We have trained 3.4 lakh youth in different programs. We form the support system by adding academic value to the construction value chain in India. We work closely with the government, the private sector and academic institutions to understand the needs for different types of training and design and deliver the same to meet their specific requirements.
Placement and follow up
There are a wide range of jobs from housing to highways. As you know our training centers are spread across the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, we get people from different districts. After completion of the training program we ensure 75% minimum placement, particularly, we try to place them close to their native places. This is quite a challenge but we do our best to help them avoid migrating to cities and face problems of relocation etc.
Tracking system to address post-placement issues
We have a monitoring dashboard to address attrition issues, and a counseling cell to track and follow up. We get all the information and latest updates on how the trainees are doing in their jobs and how the employers are rating them on their performance. We also get to see if they are moving up the professional ladder by excelling in their work, like after few years as a mason in the first job, they can move up to become a supervisor.
Challenge of mobilizing people for training
Of course, it is a big challenge. First, we depend on word of mouth promotion of our programs, we also have awareness campaigns and advertisements to show how they can lead a decent life, and how a job in this industry ensures better livelihood that can be sustained. Government agencies also help us in mobilizing people through their campaigns.
Connecting with the ITIs
We are connected with ITIs, many of the ITI boys enroll for this training for high end programs like General Work Supervisors, level 4 programs, land surveyors etc. This is mainly for getting hands-on practical experience to become industry ready. Practical training is less in it is; it’s 20% theory and 80% practice. Almost 30% of our trainings are attended by ITI pass-outs.
JNTU and its affiliated engineering colleges
This is a different program. We have different types of training – basic skill development, skill upgradation for existing construction workers, testing and certification, and then finishing schools programs for engineering graduates. For that we have associated with JNTU, all the civil engineering colleges that are affiliated with JNTU, they come for this training. It’s a one-month program designed with civil engineering graduates to enhance employability. Recently, we signed an MoU with JNTU for conducting Post Graduate Diploma in Construction Project Management – a specialized course for civil engineers.
Technology enabled initiatives, e-learning
The syllabus has been designed, long back, there are so many updates, so we keep in touch with the industry, we get the videos done about the new technologies. Buying the equipment for training is a costly affair. We make sure that weekly twice they watch the videos so that they get updated with the industry trends and developments. Now the trend is Venetian techniques in painting. Our students watch a video on Venetian painting and aesthetics and learn with expertise from Luxor paints.
Keeping pace with industry trends through MOUs
We have entered into an MoU with Saint Gobain Gyproc now in each and every building we see Gyproc finish. Many of our boys are trained in dry wall and false ceiling. These days there is a huge demand for these things. We entered into an MoU with BASF – use of chemicals, adhesives and all are becoming important aspects in building construction.
Partnering with the government
- We mobilise unemployed youth from school dropouts, provide them trade linked training, according to the syllabus formulated by MES by DGET and place them in jobs.
- We partner with government, whether it is DDU-GKY scheme, or DRDA, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, ITDA, Minorities – all of them, they sponsor the programs.
- We have been empanelled as assessor competency evaluation center. DGET has listed out assessors to assess the trainees of VTPs. We have been empanelled to assess those assessors.