Captive talent plant
Captive talent plant

Captive talent plant

Instead of relying on universities and degree colleges, cement plants are now setting-up inhouse technical institutes.
Every second person in India is in the working age group and every third person in India falls in the 18- to 25-year age category. About 65 per cent of Indian population is below 35 years in age. India is young. In fact, by 2020, India will become the world´s youngest country with 64 per cent of its population falling in the working age group. With the West, Japan and even China aging, this demographic potential offers India and its growing economy a significant edge over other nations.

With about two hundred million people set to join India´s workforce by 2020, it is ironical that India is facing skills shortage. The National Skill Development Corporation and the various ministries had managed to achieve just 17 per cent of their skilling target of 8.5 million people by 2013. By 2022, the 17 ministries have to skill 350 m people. Now that the country is poised for growth fuelled by infrastructure projects, the industry aspirations will fizzle out quickly if it does not get the skill support to grow. While the educated youth is moving away from rural regions to cities, cement manufacturing plants are moving to far off remote locations, further widening the gap between skill supply and demand. Migration of youngsters from rural to urban areas is now happening at even faster pace, denying the industry a workforce that is young, talented and physically fit.

The cement industry has been facing the shortage year-after-year, and the government too has been responding by setting-up ITIs and colleges across the country. But neither the quantity nor the quality of graduates churned out is good enough. They are not industry ready they say. The shortage is not of hands, but of minds.

Instead of depending on universities and colleges, the industry is proactively setting up institutes in their backyard to train people as per their own standards. These institutes are serving as talent pool for cement companies. In our interactions with some of the leading companies in the sector we try to gauge how the industry is tackling the shortage.

Key takeaways from the interactions
Institutes must be set-up close to the plant giving students access to on-the-job training.
The courses must be designed and taught by industry professionals.
Training youth around the plant gives them the opportunity to work close to home.
Skill shortage must be addressed even at the customers´ end.
Steps should be taken to ensure that the experience is passed on from one level to another and that it is documented.

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