Maruti’s residential driver training school in Gujarat celebrates 100 batches

Unique residential driver training school focuses on underprivileged people belonging to scheduled tribes, provides driver training and personality development courses.

By Siddhant Ghalla, Autocar India calendar 11 Jul 2016 Views icon10929 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

An average driver training school is little more than a small office, a leaflet that lists out traffic signs and the dos and don’ts of driving and a handful of beaten-down cars with many red ‘L’s and an extra set of foot pedals. Maruti Suzuki India though does things differently.

On a 25-acre plot of land, near a village called Waghodia, some 30 kilometres from Vadodara, Gujarat, is an institute called AGIDTTR. This alphabet soup, which stands for ‘All Gujarat Institute of Driving, Technical Training and Research’, was set up as a public-private-partnership between the Ministry of Tribal Development (Gujarat) and Maruti Suzuki back in 2009 to train underprivileged members of scheduled tribes from nearby areas in driving skills, so as to boost their employability.

However, this is an institute with a difference. AGIDTTR is a residential driver training school that arms its students not just with driving skills, but an array of soft skills too, including table manners, basic English-speaking, teamwork, workplace etiquette and general personality development, all free of cost.

The AGIDTTR campus is an expanse of lush green, interrupted by the main building, the workshop, the hostel and the training track. The main building houses classrooms for theoretical training, driving simulators and a technical lab to help students understand the various mechanical parts of a car, the workshop is used to help students understand how a car works and how minor repair jobs can be undertaken, the hostel houses their accommodation and dining hall and the training track is a 2.5-kilometre-long mix of bends, slopes, intersections and parallel-parking spaces designed to standards set by the British School of Motoring.

Students can undertake training courses for light motor vehicles (LMV), LMV commercial vehicles, heavy motor vehicles (HMV), HMV buses and forklifts. The forklift program is a particular matter of pride for Mahesh Rajoria, the assistant vice-president (Driving Training), Maruti Suzuki India. “Demand for trained forklift operators is very high, so much that companies are forming a waiting list for our [fork lift] graduates,” he says enthusiastically. Each course also includes personality development in its curriculum, so that graduates are more than just drivers, they are complete employees.

AGIDTTR is more than just another exercise in CSR. Since its inception in 2009, the institute has enrolled 9,043 students in 100 batches, of which 6,602 have been placed, an impressive placement rate of 73 percent, with employers including large multinationals such as Sun Pharmaceuticals and the Coca-Cola Company.

While AGIDTTR might be focused on tribal development, we are told that discussions to open up more residential driver training schools are in the pipelines at Maruti Suzuki. Uttarakhand already is home to one, and others might pop up in different parts of the country over the next few years.

This development is good news because of two reasons – Indian roads are associated with high accident rates, attributable largely to poorly trained drivers, and the logistics industry is booming, driven by growth in delivery services and radio taxis. As more and more drivers ply our roads, institutes like AGIDTTR that work hard to ensure that these drivers are well-trained and competent are welcome news indeed.

Also read: Maruti Suzuki to set up driver training institute in Andhra Pradesh

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