Skill Development Institute (SDI) Visakhapatnam is a good example of how Public Sector Units (PSU) in India have taken initiatives in contributing to Skill India Mission by offering many skill-based training courses. In this Skill Story, K. Nagesh , Dy.General Manager, Employee Relations, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) and Secretary , SDI Visakhapatnam tells us how SDI Visakhapatnam has many unique features and achievements to their credit.
Q: Tell us about the context in which skill development initiatives have started at SDI Visakhapatnam.
A: We’ve aligned ourselves with Skill India mission and as per directives from Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Skill Development Institutes were set up across the country to cater to the skilling requirements in the Hydrocarbon sector. Six SDIs have been set up, which are located in Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Rae Bareilly and Guwahati. Oil & Gas PSUs are promoting these SDIs.
Q: How is SDI Visakhapatnam different from the other SDIs?
A: The following points make our institute a unique one compared to the others:
- This is the only SDI where there is a formal association with the State Government (Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation) both for academic and financial schemes
- We have partnerships with leading brands / companies, eg. in plumbing we have Jaquar who had set up the Plumbing lab, Kemppi for Welding lab etc.
- We have the largest campus (3 acres, 74500 Sft built up area) with a 4 Star rating accreditation from NSDC
- We are associated with 12 sector skill councils and conducting more than 25 different programs
- We have satellite centres across Visakhapatnam
- We are the only SDI that has been given exemption from income tax under section 80G so donations and partners get tax benefit.
- We have multiple training partners supporting us
- To manage the quantum of work we do, HPCL has posted 3 dedicated officers in our SDI
- We conduct placement-based programs for engineering students, having completed the first batch recently.
- Our outreach is quite varied; we are conducting training for prisoners in the Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam Central Prisons.
Q: What is the impact? What is your model, which training providers do you work with?
We complete two years of operation this October and we have trained and placed about 3200 youth in various jobs. We were given ASSOCHAM award within the 1st year for best innovative concept. In the current year, the Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (who is also the Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas) has set a target of 5000 youth for our SDI and we are working towards it.
We started with 10 courses and now we offer 25 courses in different sectors. Some of the training partners who work with us are: IL&FS, Synchroserve, IGIAT and SMARTBrains. We have started Pharma courses with CMS, and also a local start-up firm 310i Technologies conducting programs on soft skills.
With regard to placements, 85% of trained people have got jobs across domains. We have focused on industry skills, behavioural skills, interview preparedness and so on. Our candidates have done well at the Skills Competitions too!
We are also working with Green Jobs, Mining, Plumbing, Automotive, Capital Goods, IT&ITeS and other sectors depending on the requirements for the Qualification Pack for each course.
Q: Please share the significance of recently formed Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council.
Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council is formed by representatives of all oil companies and HPCL is also a part of it. As far as SDI Visakhapatnam is concerned, we have developed 5 out of 12 Qualification Packs for Hydrocarbon Sector, approved by NSDC and implemented 3 of them. The job roles include: Retail Outlet Attendant (Oil & Gas), LPG Delivery Personnel and LPG Mechanic.
Two more roles namely Retail Outlet Supervisor (Oil & Gas) and LPG Supervisor will be implemented after the RPL- 4 is completed. In Hydrocarbon sector, we have also started roles like Pipe Fitter – Oil and Gas, Industrial Electrician – Oil and Gas and Industrial Welder. Six job roles have already been implemented in SDI Visakhapatnam.
Q: How do you attract students to these courses?
A: Initially it was quite a struggle, but gradually we have tried various communication channels. We talk to panchayats to inform the students about the courses. Candidates who are trained in the first batch are referring students for next batch. And of course, word-of-mouth publicity also helps.
Q: What is your message to others in the skills domain.
Public sectors have the might to invest. Since profit-making is not their sole motive, PSUs should come forward to set up skilling institutes and run them successfully. For instance, we want to show how Retail Training can be done differently. To offer a Retail Sales training course, we may need Rs. 3 to 4 lakhs but we are setting up a lab with an investment of Rs. 50 lakhs; we want to create a mini mall to get real life work experience. For Welding, we need 40-50 different types of welding machines spread over 5-6 labs and we have to maintain a 2:1 ratio (trainee : machine) so they get hands-on experience. We have also planned to set up a Skills University and 30,000 people would be trained per year.
Q: What is your message to youth?
A: The Skill India mission is a boon to the students, since the training programs are linked with placements. They should be prepared to come out of the comfort zone and remain on the job for at least a year or two, despite difficulties associated with migrating to new places. They should think of becoming entrepreneurs, become a job provider and not just a job seeker.
We have also conducted Entrepreneurship Development Program for aspiring Entrepreneurs who have completed their MBA / Engineering degrees.
More awareness has to be created, especially in rural areas to inform the youth about courses that are free of cost and offer free hostel accommodation, facilities and ensure placements.