Bajaj Auto expands engineering skills training to Tier 2, 3 cities

The development will seek to bridge the gap between job seekers and auto industry needs, propelling India's economic competitiveness on the global stage.

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 22 Mar 2024 Views icon4893 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Bajaj Auto expands engineering skills training to Tier 2, 3 cities

Two and three-wheeler major Bajaj Auto is looking to take its engineering skills training programme to Tier 2 and 3 cities, in order to fill the critical skill gaps faced by the automotive industry. 

The Pune-based company's efforts will be part of Bajaj Group's ambitious efforts to empower over 2 crore youth and bridge the gap between job creation and a workforce lacking the necessary qualifications. Bajaj Group companies including the likes of Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Electric on Friday under the initiative named "Bajaj Beyond," announced funding of Rs 5000 crore over five years to address the requirement of skill gap in the country. A significant part of these participating companies' CSR funds will be utilised in this initiative, their executive said. 

This announcement comes amid concerns about India's industrial competitiveness. Only 5% of the Indian workforce has received formal skill training, compared to 80% and 96% in developed economies like Japan and South Korea, respectively. This disparity creates a significant bottleneck, hindering growth across construction, manufacturing, IT, transportation, and logistics sectors.

"India's economic boom has generated substantial employment opportunities, but a lack of proper skills is rendering a large portion of the population unemployable," said Shekhar Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director of Bajaj Electricals at a function held at Group's Akhurdi campus in Pune "This alarming trend necessitates immediate action."

The development comes at a time when, India's automotive sector which forms about 7% of country's total GDP is witnessing a severe crunch of skilled labour force, similar to many of the other industries.

Emphasising the importance of developing skills, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto Ltd, stated that the auto companies function on two crucial pillars- the first is devising the right strategies and the second is the execution of those strategies. "Launching the Bajaj Engineering Skills Training (BEST) last year has been a valuable learning experience for us. It gave us a very clear picture of the critical gap between theoretical education and practical skills needed in the manufacturing industry. The insights gained through BEST acted as a cornerstone in laying down the groundwork."

"With Bajaj Beyond, we will expand our skilling efforts across the group. Together, we will design future-proof curriculums, provide real-world, hands-on experiences, and equip our youth with the adaptability and innovation required to thrive in the ever-evolving mobility landscape," he further added while highlighting on his inspiration drawn from Japan's Honda Motor Co., whose founder had a vision of talent becoming their best while working in the company.

As per the BEST initiative, Rajiv pointed out, around 3000-4000 people were hired, including hundreds of engineers from some of the top notch institutions. Though academically good, what they lacked was hands-on skills. The candidates were then put through a rigorous six months to one year training before they could be considered productive. 

"We found this is a common phenomenon across the industry and hence the need for large scale intervention to skill young talent," he added, before continuing that Bajaj Auto's knowledge, understanding and expertise in engineering drove them to create Bajaj Engineering Skills Training (BEST). The top executive explained that BEST lays special focus on youths from tier 2 and 3 cities in order to skill them and make them employment ready.

Elaborating further on the process of training, Rajiv Bajaj highlighted that in the first stage, shop floor engineers, line managers and R&D teams identify their specific needs. Following it up by developing a relevant curriculum, the youth under training are taught the industry relevant topics, filling gaps. Furthermore, an industry versus academia benchmarking is done with the evolving technologies. Later, vetting of curriculum gets done by the academia like Banasthali University and industry bodies such as ACMA, CII, ASDC among others. Finally, the trainees are made to go through defined sub-topics, lab experiments and equipment procured from 20 plus global suppliers.

In a bid to tackle this critical skills gap and empower future generations, Bajaj Beyond program has the potential to bridge the gap between job seekers and auto industry needs, propelling India's economic competitiveness on the global stage.

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