Rieter India’s apprenticeship program is helping youth develop their technical skills and get a job as soon as they complete their training. Many students are benefitting from this model as they get a chance to learn the work processes and organisational culture along with the technical and soft skills. In an interview with SkillSonics, Mr.Kiran Kataria, Vice President – HR, Rieter India Private Limited talks about how Rieter India’s Multi-Skilled Production Technician (MSPT) programme is changing the employability scenario in our country. He also shares his views on the importance of apprenticeship in India. Let’s read on…
SkillSonics: How did the idea of Multi-Skilled Production Technician (MSPT) apprenticeships in Rieter come about?
Kiran Kataria: This program was started in 2009. This was the phase when we started building up the production capacity in India. Rieter acquired this factory at the present location from Suessen Asia. This was followed by a decision to expand the manufacturing operations and the product range for the Indian market. Since Rieter is a premium supplier and a market leader in this segment of machinery we wanted to build a world-class manufacturing hub in India, and for that we required highly skilled people.
For example, in Switzerland we have highly skilled employees who have been working there for over 30 years. Our idea was to produce such a competency in India, that we could deliver the same world-class machines to our global customers as in any other Rieter location. Fifty percent of the machines produced here are exported and we are committed to maintaining the consistent quality “Made by Rieter”.
That is how we decided to build our own talent pipeline. Since Switzerland is a pioneer in the VET field, it was a natural choice for us. We partnered with SkillSonics which has a collaboration with SWISSMEM and SFIVET. Along with all the partners, we started the Multi-Skilled Production Technician (MSPT) program at Rieter. We started with just four apprentices at that time.
SkillSonics: Do you see the difference between the employees, who have undergone the apprenticeship and the recruits without it?
Kiran Kataria: Certainly! Those apprentices whom we develop as our own homegrown talent know our culture, products, market and customers very well. They have a high level of understanding of our processes, our machines and our customers’ expectations and they are also ready to deliver it right away. They are well disciplined and carry the mindset of global quality and “right things right, first time”. When we hire people from outside it takes some time, because they are not familiar in our culture and have already acquired some behavioural patterns which are difficult to change.
SkillSonics: What are the key advantages of doing an apprenticeship in today’s India?
Kiran Kataria: I believe apprenticeship is extremely important for India, at present. There are many young people passing out of ITIs, various skill development centres or directly from higher education institutions. The challenge today in India is the employability of these people. Despite good educational qualifications their employability remains questionable. The VET program is a perfect solution to bridge this challenge. It not only teaches the technical skills, but also the soft skills, behaviour, etiquettes and mannerism. This kind of apprenticeship substantially enhances the employability of the VET apprentices and allows them to excel in their careers.
SkillSonics: What would be your message to the aspiring youth of today?
Kiran Kataria: I would say, that the youth should adopt the changing landscape of India. India is no longer a local domestic manufacturing company. It is now kind of a global hub for most of the manufacturing companies operating out of India. As a result, the quality parameters and expectations are different and the skills which the youngsters are learning at ITIs are probably not in line with this change. The skills and education imparted should stay relevant to keep them employable.
I would like to tell the youth to keep exploring and excelling in the trade they are pursuing. Apprenticeship substantially enhances the employability of the VET apprentices and allows them to excel in their careers.
SkillSonics: What would you suggest the companies to do to retain skilled talent and to fight attrition?
Kiran Kataria: Firstly, I would say you need to provide them with good environment and work culture. Secondly, enable solid technical training for them to learn. Thirdly, ensure competitive salaries and benefits. Additionally, there should be a career roadmap for them to know that there is growth and more opportunities!
Guest author: Karuna Ganguly, SkillSonics – For more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +91 80 4115 527.