‘We also impart software skills which make students employable in sales, administrative roles’: Vinod Agarwal, President, ASDC
The Automotive Skills Development Council or ASDC which is India’s primary automotive skilling body is eyeing to fulfil the growing need for reskilling or upskilling of the existing manpower in the automotive ecosystem as it makes the shift towards electrification and vehicles increasingly equipped with advanced electronics driving safety systems.
The Automotive Skills Development Council or ASDC which is India’s primary automotive skilling body is eyeing to fulfil the growing need for reskilling or upskilling of the existing manpower in the automotive ecosystem as it makes the shift towards electrification and vehicles increasingly equipped with advanced electronics driving safety systems. Vinod Agarwal, MD and CEO, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles, and President, ASDC, shared his thoughts on the sidelines of the ASDC ‘Partners Forum – 2023’ event, organised in New Delhi on June 22. Excerpts from the interview below:
What is driving the need for reskilling in the automotive industry, and how is the unorganised sector likely to cope with the shift?
There are multiple areas where the industry requires renewed skills as it undergoes a significant transformation towards cleaner mobility solutions, with electrification and alternative fuels being the primary drivers. Moreover, stricter emissions as well as safety standards, along with digitisation are also driving demand for reskilling and upskilling of the manpower.
With the increasing change in vehicle technology, while there is a need for the unorganised sector to also get retrained, it is difficult for these players to cope up with the growing level of auto electronics. Unless they have the right set of tools and training, they will not be able to handle the intensive foray of electronics in modern vehicles. Therefore, while the advancement in vehicle technology is driving the need for more authorised workshops, it is also ensuring that vehicles become more reliable in the long run.
Having said that, ASDC offers various programmes and curriculums which could be also availed through e-learning. We also certify individuals for specific skills after them taking short-term training, or upskilling courses. While we will see more organisation of the aftermarket with the rapidly changing technology, the unorganised sector must undergo training and invest in the right tools.
How many students did ASDC certify last year, and are there financial support systems in place for students to sustain themselves?
We trained over 100,000 apprenticeships in FY23 and certified over 40,000 students through the e-learning programmes. While it is a good number, we keep increasing our intake targets every year. There are some support measures from the government in terms of stipends during apprenticeships, while there are various companies which extend financial support to students during their trainings.
Once gone through the fundamental training, the students become employable for factories, dealerships, as well as workshops. We also impart software skills so that these candidates could be employed in sales or administrative roles as well. ASDC also organises job fairs, or helps students getting employed through our online portal.
How is the curriculum being structured to cater to the evolving skill requirements of the industry?
The ASDC curriculum is designed in a comprehensive manner, with our experts, who belong to the automotive industry, taking a critical look into specific domain requirements. Once proposed, the curriculum for each programme is approved by the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET), which certifies these qualification packs. These packs are then deployed to impart training to students.
Furthermore, we also have programmes to train the trainers, or assessors. We train quite a few numbers of trainers every year as we need to be prepared to cater to the growing intake of students with each batch. We have tied up with various international agencies like Germany’s DIZ, to adopt best practices and imbibe cross learnings. Some automotive MNCs help us in getting the international exposure, and we also participate in global events like the WorldSkills Olympics.
What are the major challenges in front of the industry when it comes to meeting its skills requirements?
The major challenge is that the entire work is a herculean task, and requires us to continuously keep expanding our capacity and resources. Therefore, we must leverage the existing resources of experts available across automotive companies, as well as our partners, and bring them together. The objective is to do more as the need for reskilling is quite high, and the gap is still quite substantial. The industry’s requirement to reskill and upskill manpower is going to multiply in the coming years, and ASDC will play a vital role. We are not just working independently to upskill the manpower, but also joining hands with various automotive players which are conducting trainings at their end, and supplementing their efforts.
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