Indian Auto Sector Skill Development Programmes Progress

By Pramod Thomas:

The Automotive Mission Plan (AMP) 2026, prepared jointly by the Automotive Industry and the Government of India, predicts 300 percent growth for the industry in the next 10 years and 65 million direct and indirect jobs in the entire value chain. The Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), a joint initiative of the Union Government, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA), is entrusted with the task of readying the Indian youth for this. Since 2011, four lakh students were trained through the skill centres and about 3,75,000 were issued certificates.
ASDC, the first Sector Skill Council of India, aims to skill and certify 25 million people in 10 years, and make the automotive industry self-sufficient in skilled manpower. “Every month one million people enter the job market in India. Every sector has to inform the job aspirants about opportunities in the respective fields. Job-seekers can choose according to their aptitude and taste. Because of the huge potential for growth, every segment of the automotive sector needs large number of skilled manpower,” Sunil K Chaturvedi, Chief Executive Officer, ASDC, told AutoParts Asia.
“Automotive sector is one of the largest providers of employment–formal, non-formal, direct and indirect. Though there are policy level impediments on the selling and the manufacturing side, the sector is growing well. With the predicted level of growth, there will be demand for skilled people in every area of the automotive sector: R&D, Quality Management, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Sales and Driving,” he said.

Skilling Standards

ASDC has created well-defined standards of skilling for respective job roles. It has defined the infrastructure for skilling centres and created modules for training of trainers. It is also doing independent assessment. Hence its certificate has authenticity. A standardised process of identifying skills, defining skills, defining the norms of the centres which are providing skill development, training of trainers who impart skills, assessment and certifying students who had acquired skills are the areas of expertise of the Council. It is encouraging OEMs to design their skill training on the ASDC pattern, Chaturvedi said.
“All kinds of companies in the entire value chain, OEMs like  Ashok Leyland, Maruti Suzuki, India Yamaha Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra,Tata Motors and Hero Moto Corp., are offering several ASDC courses. Yamaha India has 40 centres across the country providing these courses. Maruti Suzuki Driving School applies ASDC modules in over 100 schools. Tata Motors is offering ASDC courses to its people on the shop floor. There is an all round effort and it has been steadily increasing.”
“Similar is the case with the component suppliers. Companies Sansera,  Hella India, Rockman Industries, Subros and Sona Steering  have set up ASDC centres where they train local people not only for their needs but for the entire automotive supply chain. OEMs, component suppliers and dealers offer sales and service courses of ASDC in their centres,” he said.
ASDC is the first of its kind of a council which operates on a Public-Private Partnership model. Under this structure the industry decides which sets of skills are to be imparted at the Skill Centres. A skill centre is defined by the industry. The infrastructure and norms are provided by ASDC, along with the training, based on international standards.
“India has a rich history of education. But the aligning of education with skill-development has been missing. Large companies have some skilling programmes. But that too was not inclusive. ASDC develops centres for the whole industry not for any particular company or segment. It is led by the industry as the industry decides which sets of skills are to be imparted. The collaboration begins at the school level. The industry, OEMs, component manufacturers and dealers come together on the ASD platform. Together we discuss and decide what are the skills required and the expectations from those who gain the skills. The assessment for certification is provided by ASDC. The students who are trained through this system in centres affiliated to ASDC and pass the certification courses, in fact, get the industry’s own certification as the content for the course is decided by the industry,” Chaturvedi said.
The certification programme operates on three models: government schemes, industry-sponsored, and self-financing. The trainees may be at the entry level, school drop-outs or unemployed ITI, Diploma or even engineering degree-holders. They join the certification course to hone their skills to get jobs. Some of them choose the entrepreneurial path, particularly in remote areas.
There is deep penetration of two-wheelers in villages but quality servicing is wanting. ASDC-certified two-wheeler technicians set up shops there and make quality servicing available.
“We are trying to benchmark ourselves with the international standards of Australia, the UK, and Germany. We also train the trainers, a weak link in the process.  Without good trainers even world-class infrastructure will be futile. Hence we have the ASDC orientation programmes for trainers. They have to pass examinations to continue as trainers,” he said.

Higher Education

Another focus area of ASDC is skilling in higher education. Most Engineers and MBAs in the country are not employable.  ASDC has an initiative for skilling in higher education.
Under this, undergraduate students are offered the super modules of ASDC manufacturing, supply chain, quality engineering, diagnostics and repairing etc. This strengthens their chance for employment and they will be more job-ready.
“This programme gives the qualified graduates an opportunity to compare the prospects of a career in the automotive industry with other job openings in IT, Telecom and Retail. We also tell them about the career path by sharing the occupational map. Details about various fields such as R&D, Engineering, Quality, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Road Transportation, Servicing etc are charted out. The expected growth of automotive industry is also discussed. Insights into the new technologies like automation, robotics on the shop floor, shared mobility, connected traffic on the road, and electric mobility are provided. The students will be able to make an informed choice.”
“We started this initiative in 2016. It takes a lot of time to align even colleges with our line of thinking. Many colleges from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Punjab have shown interest and the number is increasing. In the last 10-15 years, there was heavy information bombardment in favour of the IT industry. The number of jobs on offer in the sector was also more. A positive pull was created to IT. The automotive industry could not disseminate information about its growth potential. At ASDC we are doing our bit to spread information about the career prospects in the automotive sector. With these initiatives, we hope, in the next 2-3 years more number of bright people will join the automotive sector,” Chaturvedi said.

New Challenges

ASDC is watching the changes in the automotive industry such as electric mobility, shared mobility and high-end automation. These changes demand new skills. With the help of the industry, it is trying to identify areas which require additional skilling.ASDC is well-equipped to face the challenge of automation, robotisation and other technological developments in the automotive sector.
Automation has been a continuous process for the past 30-40 years.  Now automation is leading to robotisation. Anything which is repeatable is up for automation. Automation, which was only a small part of the processes earlier, is becoming widespread and covers many more processes. Processes which were manual are mechanised. Therefore the machine operator should have additional skills for the same process. In short, upskilling of existing job rolls, automation and robotisation are the conversion of the same thing. In automation, people are using devices, in robotisation people are changing to robots. In complete robotisation, skills are required more for designing robots, setting the operational parameters and maintaining the robots. It is a continuous process and the industry has been upgrading people.
“We at ASDC, ensure that people coming fresh to the industry also get exposure to these trends. We offer skill development courses in these sectors. In the high level of welding and engineering we offer programmes in designing and managing robots. The first part is Mechanisation, Automation and Robotisation. The second part is Internet of Things (IoT), the connected world. Lots of things required in decision-making are getting automated. But they require high accuracy.  We need people who are capable of using internet, connected data and data analytics in decision-making,” Chaturvedi said.
ASDC will shortly add 3D Printing-related modules to the manufacturing course. It has started adding reference points and training materials to the existing modules.

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