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Skillsonics Trainer Success Story

Skillsonics Trainer Success Story

My name is Santosh C V Chellappa. I’m a 40-year technical trainer of Swiss-based Multi-Skilled Production Technicians (MSPT) at Buhler India Private Limited in Bangalore, India

I’m currently a VET instructor and trainer of 14 trainees at Buhler India Private Limited in Bangalore. I have an MSc Engineering Degree from M.S Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies, Bangalore and a diploma in NTTF Tool and Die-Making. SkillSonics trained me in Swiss VET methodology with instructors from Swissmem and SFIVET. Training methodology such as IPERKA and AVIVA helps me to plan and structure my lessons, and generally execute tasks effectively.

My trainees are between 18 and 21, 90% are male and 10% female. Most of them come from outside the Bangalore Region. They come to us directly from technical college (ITI – Industrial Training Institutes) and don’t have industry- related work experience.

The VET curriculum at Buhler is 40% classroom instruction, 60% practical training. I train the group in assembly, technical drawing, CNC, machining skills and calculation. They have exams at the end of each semester based on Swiss quality standards.

The apprentices I teach are very motivated and work incredibly hard to become skilled technicians. Sagaya Mary is one of them. I would say that mastering English is their biggest challenge, but they learn it quite fast. It takes about 4 months of training for them to understand better. One they get their VET diplomas, my trainees are an inverted-commaattractive workforce for companies though they continue working for Buhler as a prerequisite of their participation in the apprenticeship program.


Company Skillsonics exports vocational training

Franz Probst (62) has already enabled more than 5,000 Indians to study apprenticeship. His company Skillsonics carries out training for companies such as ABB, Bühler, Burckhardt Compression or Rieter. Now he wants to expand.

Swiss teaching for one million Indians

From cheese, chocolate and watches. Switzerland is becoming more and more famous abroad for its latest export hit: apprenticeships. Not only US presidential daughter Ivanka Trump (35) is thrilled (Blick reported). In many countries, interest in training is increasing according to the Swiss model.

Pioneering work is done by the Winterthur lawyer Franz Probst (62). Nine years ago, he founded the company Skillsonics, which carries out vocational training in India for the industrial groups ABB , Bühler and Rieter. Probst provides curricula and teaching aids, trains teachers and runs vocational schools.

That's why India

“Both sides benefit from the training. The Indian youth get a good job and the Swiss companies skilled workers, “says Probst, who formerly headed the Indo-Swiss Chamber of Commerce. And lived in India in his childhood – his father worked there for Rieter.

Thanks to Skillsonics, Probst has already made it possible to teach India 5,000 Indians. The industry association Swissmem checks the quality of training and issues certificates.

“The young people come partly from villages where there is no running water. For them, the training offers the opportunity for a great social advancement », says Probst. Soon, many more will benefit: “The goal is to train up to one million Indians in the next few years.” He finds fertile ground here: The Indian government plans to train some 500 million professionals by 2022.

That's how much training costs

Skillsonics wants to become self-supporting this year. For a year of training she gets from the companies 500 francs. Profit is needed to expand. And to offer lessons in other industries in the future. For Probst India is just the beginning: “Next year, we would like to start our project in South Africa .”

The Economic Times

Why countries like Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Japan are focused on making more Indians employable

Last week, India and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to send 3 lakh Indian workers for on-job training to Japan. Not too far away, two World Bank-backed schemes of Rs 6,655 crore for skill development got the government nod.

Around the same time in a delegation led by minister Suresh Prabhu, while soliciting investments, also made a pitch to Swedish honchos to partner in Sweden skilling Indian workers. And last month, backed by the government, LinkedIn signed a pact with IL&FS Skills Development Corporation to roll out the first-ever platform to upskill blue-collar Indian workers and help them network and find jobs. Earlier, National Skill Development Council (NSDC) had joined hands with Google to train Indian app developers. Then, Asian Development Bank is helping roll out skill programmes from Himachal Pradesh to Odisha.

Ties are being forged with academic institutions like Australia’s Deakin University and Harvard Business School, US, to monitor and aid NSDC’s skill development programmes. Talks are on with community colleges from the US and Canada to beef up India’s vocational training infrastructure. India is staring at a job crisis.In a country with over 470 million workers, how to create jobs and make Indians employable is the government’s biggest worry. Efforts within the country are on to find some answers.

Equally, an overseas push too is intensifying. PM Narendra Modi’s tenure has been marked by warm diplomatic ties. This warmth has traditionally given a boost to bilateral trade, investment and defence ties. Skilling Indian workers and helping them find jobs just got added to that list.

MoUs and partnerships with countries and companies, universities and trade delegations, have surged. Collaborations with MNCs and their respective industry bodies (say, Business Sweden) are in the works. Avenues to open up global job markets for Indian workers are being explored; example: geriatric caregivers for Japan’s ageing population.

Sweden wants 50,000 fresh women IT graduates from India. Help is coming India’s way from multilateral and bilateral bodies like the World Bank. Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA) and the ADB. NRIs too are chipping in, with some wanting to set up skills universities. “Jobs and skilling workers is a tough problem to solve. It cannot be done overnight. But we will do everything we can to solve it,” says Manish Kumar, MD of NSDC.

Helping Hand

There are multiple reasons for countries, companies and multilateral bodies becoming willing partners in Kumar’s endeavours. “Today, one in every five young persons in the world is an Indian. Our role as a multilateral agency is to present India as the human resource capital,” says Shabnam Sinha, lead education specialist, World Bank. Adds Kenichi Yokoyama, country director, ADB: “India is our largest borrower, and also among the best performing.

Now we are focusing our attention on low-income states… skill development and capacity-building will be critical.” Japan has multiple reasons for its multi-level support to India’s skill development push. An ageing population, a shrinking home market and surging Japanese investments in India are nudging a culturally insular Japan to support India. “India has supported us in difficult times. Now it is our time to help,” says Takema Sakamoto, head of JICA India.

India could do with a helping hand. At present, a disparate set of factors — slowing growth, elusive investment, demonetisation and GST along with automation (like banking), global headwinds (in IT services) and structural shifts (in telecom and even agriculture) — has led to rising unemployment in a populous country that adds close to a million new workers every month.

High inflation or high unemployment or both can often decide electoral fortunes. The government is in its fourth year and the 2019 general elections are on the horizon. On the one hand, desperate efforts are on to revive investment and create jobs. On the other, the government is trying hard to equip millions of unskilled and uneducated workers for a tech-led world.

It is a tough problem to solve. At 287 million, India currently has the world’s largest illiterate adult population, says UNESCO. Over 45% of India’s workers are employed in low productivity agriculture. Worryingly, 31% of India’s youth (15-29 years) are NEETs or not in employment, education or training, as per an OECD survey. Dated and poor quality education has created a serious employability issue. Over 80% of engineers are unemployable, according to various studies. Compounding this is India’s growing demographic bulge. By 2027, India will have the world’s largest workforce (between 15 and 64 years) crossing a billion and outpacing China.

It was for this reason that the Congress-led UPA government set up NSDC in 2010. In 2015, the BJP-led NDA government went a step further, targeting to train 400 million workers by 2022 under PMKVY (the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana). It has failed miserably. Of the 30.67 lakh candidates trained under the programme (as of July 2017), just 2.9 lakh got jobs. Many issues have riddled the initiative. Multiple authorities, an ill-equipped NSDC, a poor job-creation climate, sub-par training institutes, data fudging and misaligned incentives are just a few. “I see it not as a failure but as a part of the learning curve. Other nations have taken decades to reach where we are today in such a short time,” says Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner, KPMG India. Since last year, as part of a course correction, a raft of measures, including a top deck reshuffle, has been rolled out.

It is in this context that new global partnerships must be viewed. “Combining scale with speed and being flexible as a government body — that’s the toughest part. How do you forge partnerships within those boundaries to deliver?” is what keeps NSDC’s Kumar awake at night. How to ensure that the electorate keeps the faith will also be giving the government some sleepless nights.

World Bank: Training of Thought

The mission: A $250 million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO) was approved early this year for Skill India programme

The Journey: The World Bank is allocating $250 million to help the Indian government in its Skill India programme. SIMO will focus on four result areas — institutional strengthening to deliver high-quality training programme; improving workers’ quality and market relevance; enhancing access for women and disadvantaged groups and expanding skill training through PPP. SIMO is creating a Skills Fund with $38 million, or 50% of the fund, the other half coming from CSR money; the fund will be operated by NSDC. SIMO will tap into global experience to bring in financial incentives to deliver high-quality training packages at scale. To bring in some competitive spirit, states’ performance will be graded based on their scores. Good ones will be incentivised through state incentive grants.The World Bank is allocating $250 million to help the Indian government in its Skill India programme. SIMO will focus on four result areas — institutional strengthening to deliver high-quality training programme; improving workers’ quality and market relevance; enhancing access for women and disadvantaged groups and expanding skill training through PPP. SIMO is creating a Skills Fund with $38 million, or 50% of the fund, the other half coming from CSR money; the fund will be operated by NSDC. SIMO will tap into global experience to bring in financial incentives to deliver high-quality training packages at scale. To bring in some competitive spirit, states’ performance will be graded based on their scores. Good ones will be incentivised through state incentive grants.

In pic: Supported by World Bank, young workers train at IL&FS Institute of Skill at Okhla, Delhi

ADB: Into the Skilling Fields

The mission: With $10 billion funds over the next five years, ADB is focusing on skills, besides infrastructure-building, to boost India’s growth

The journey: ADB’s plans stand on two important strands — focus on poorer states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, and a special emphasis on employability and capacity building.

It aims to create well-paying jobs in India and upskill workers through skill development programmes. In Himachal Pradesh, it is lending $80 million (Rs 524 crore) for the $100 million programme for modernisation of the state’s technical and vocational education and training institutes that will impact 65,000 youth by 2022.

A similar tourism-focused programme is being rolled out in Uttarakhand. Another Rs 628 crore loan to develop tourism infrastructure in Himachal includes training local residents in tourism-related skills like adventure training and tourist guide activities.

A $102 million (Rs 568 crore) loan is in the works for the Odisha government’s $162 million project to train 2 lakh youngsters in the state by 2022. In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has launched a Rs 1,600 crore programme to beef up skill development infrastructure there, helping train 7.5 lakh youth. ADB will provide a Rs 1,005 crore loan for the project. ADB is also funding a skilling project in Meghalaya.

In pic: ADB has rolled out skill development and livelihood programmes in Meghalaya

Singapore Calling

The mission: ITE Education Services started in 2012 with a World Class Skill Centre (WCSC) in Delhi. Has recently expanded to Assam and Jaipur

The journey: Led by ITE Education Services of Singapore, its Delhi centre runs two courses for retail and hospitality sectors. In 2015, it set up a training centre in Udaipur that offers six courses in tourism and hospitality. Eventually, the one-year programme envisages training 480 students annually. In 2016, it set up a northeast centre in Guwahati and is still vetting demand to zero in on courses to be run there. ITE Education will be the advisor in creating the programme, p ..

In pic: Supported by Singapore’s ITEES, the Delhi centre WCSC grooms young Indians for hospitality and retail sectors

Japan’s Magic Bullet

The mission: Amid warm political ties, Japan is pouring money (over Rs 1.5 lakh crore of soft loan since 2007) to build India’s infrastructure. Training and upskilling of Indian workers is a major component

The journey: Earlier this week, India and Japan signed a memorandum of cooperation for a technical intern training programme under which three lakh technical interns will be sent to Japan for on-the-job training for three-to-five years. The two nations had earlier, under the manufacturing skill transfer promotion programme, agreed to set up Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIM) and Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in Indian engineering colleges. The programme will train workers in Japanese style of manufacturing. The first four JIMs have been set up by Suzuki, Toyota, Daikin and Yamaha.

For its Rs 1.1 lakh crore bullet train project, Japan is setting up a Rs 600 crore high-speed rail training centre in Gujarat. Equipped with simulators and training equipment, over 4,000 rail engineers are expected to be trained by 2020, with 300 of the first batch to be trained in Japan. Talks are underway for a skill development programme to train Indians on geriatric care and sensitise them to Japanese culture, which would help them get absorbed in Japan.

The Swiss Touch

The mission: SkillSonics started in 2011 in Bengaluru. National Skill Development Corporation has a small stake in it; SkillSonics has a subsidiary in Zurich that helps coordinate between India and Switzerland

The journey: Has adapted Swiss vocational training in India, playing the role of a knowledge partner to Swiss companies and institutes here. Has developed courseware (three months to three years) based on Swiss standards for engineering technicians in sectors like automobiles, aerospace and defence, and across verticals like production, maintenance and service. Partners companies for training and rolling out programmes that upskill shopfloor workers for high-tech manufacturing.

Since 2013, it has conducted training programmes at over 28 locations for companies like ABB, training over 5,000 workers. Takes in 200 students for its two-year programme.

In pic: Sagaya Mary, 22, trains as a fitter at a Buhler India training centre in Bengaluru, supported by SkillSonics

The Swedish Way

The mission: Recently initiated, the plan is still under discussion and being concretised The journey: Alongside 180 firms already here, a new wave of Swedish firms are entering India, led by Ikea, defence major Saab (will make fighter jets in India in a JV with Adani Group) and H&M. Many of them are starting operations from scratch. Working with Business Sweden as country partner, NSDC is in discussions with over 10 Swedish firms, including Scania, ABB, SKF, Oriflame, Atlas Copco and Volvo Bus, to set up skill academies. Swedish firms will take the lead in identifying job roles, providing pedagogy and in supplying equipment and master trainers. Over 20 Indian private universities will run the programme on their campuses. Swedish skill training provider Kunskapsskolan will also sensitise workers in Swedish culture. The initiative will train workers for Swedish firms in India, some of whom could also be sent overseas. Stockholm Chamber of Commerce wants 50,000 fresh women IT graduates in Sweden. If all goes well, the project could be rolled out by the end of 2017-18.

Indian companies require high quality training

Indian companies require high quality training

Franz Probst is Founder and Chairman of SkillSonics India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, and SkillSonics International AG, founded in 2011, with the aim of expanding vocational education and training throughout India and taking it to other countries. Franz’s life has been influenced significantly by a three-year stay in India (1965 to 1968), where he went to school in the Nilgiris (South India).  Strong professional and private ties with India grew out of this experience. In this interview to Ashok Tuteja, he was all praise for the Prime Minister’s Skill India Initiative and elaborated on his organisation’s plans to train Indians for maintaining international quality standards. Excerpts:

What is SkillSonics and how is it implementing Swiss skills in India?

SkillSonics is an international provider of vocational education and training (VET) solutions. The company is based in Zurich and in Bangalore. SkillSonics is a partner company of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

The company is the result of the Swiss Vocational Education and Training Initiative India (SVETII). Co-funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), this initiative was launched on the occasion of the 60-year anniversary of the Indo-Swiss Friendship and Establishment Treaty in 2008 with the objective to establish Swiss-based VET training, tailored to the needs in India.

Today, SkillSonics offers over 100 courses to companies, training institutes and universities. Course duration ranges from one week to three years. They cover a broad range of engineering skills (production, maintenance and servicing) and are designed for up- and re-skilling as well as entry level training.

The programmes include deep technical training ~ where people are trained in well-equipped workshops. The trainees also gain strong competencies in soft skills. Graduates of SkillSonics’ long-term programmes are, for example, suited for roles in quality control, as group leaders and, generally, where multiple skills are required. They match international quality standards ~ some have already received awards.

How many Indians have you trained so far and where are they employed now?

During the five years of the project, the target was not to train a high number, but to ensure proof of concept in bringing Swiss-based standards and training methods to India. Scaling-up began in 2014 and, since then, SkillSonics has trained 5,000 people. Our target is to train 1 million in the technical, electrical and engineering fields to international standards in the years to come. All the trainees, who have been trained in SkillSonics courses, are employed, generally at the companies where they have been trained in India, or have been hired by other companies.

What are the opportunities and challenges you face in implementing Swiss skills in India?

When we started in 2008, we found that the regulatory framework was not conducive to apprenticeship training and skill development. However, India has made great progress since then, and under the Prime Minister’s Skill India Initiative, a strong effort is made to establish and align the framework and to create career pathways for those that first learn a trade. The successful creation of MSDE is an important further step in this direction. However, there are other subtler challenges which remain:

First, there is still a widespread perception that learning a trade is of less value than doing a degree. Countries like Switzerland or Germany show us that this is wrong for many reasons: the Swiss and German economies are among the strongest in the world and this is substantially because doing an apprenticeship and learning a trade is considered an excellent start to a career. It is encouraged and not looked down upon. Also, many young Indians do not have the opportunity to complete 12 years of school and get admitted to university. So, India urgently requires an alternative.

Second, vocational education and training is not a quick fix. Just looking at numbers and not at quality is misleading. India’s companies and organisations require high quality training to be able to compete in the local and the global market. High quality is not achieved with short programmes and by leaving the burden on the government. It requires long-term private sector engagement: The private sector has to engage in setting standards, offering training positions and ensuring a strong linkage to training institutions. In our experience, this is not yet sufficiently implemented in India.

Third, SkillSonics has faced situations, where a programme could not be rolled-out because of ongoing changes in the public administration. By the time we had a follow-up meeting, the persons we had interacted with had left and we had to start afresh. That said, we have also experienced fast and exemplary government action, for example the creation of the MSDE.

You recently held in New Delhi the successful closing of Quality Assurance Project of the Swiss Vocational Education and Training Initiative. Could you please tell us about it in terms of its success?

The Quality Assurance Project’s (QAP) core objective was to improve VET instructors’ technical, methodological and didactic skills in order to ensure SVETII’s quality and sustainability. It was a two-year project that took place from September 2015 to August 2017. In the first year, the focus was on developing occupational profiles for VET teachers and trainers, developing and validating courseware for training modules in accordance with Swiss standards. In the second year, all training modules were tested in India.

Together with Swissmem, SFIVET and the Mechatronics School Winterthur, SkillSonics trained small batches of instructors, assessors and master trainers, as well as company and institute staff in charge of technical training in Bangalore, Pune, Vadodra and Coimbatore. We have reached proof of concept of our training modules for the trainers, experts and other governance staff. SkillSonics is now scaling up and offers these courses and associated services throughout India.

Are you also in partnership with any Indian institution in implementing your skill training projects?

Yes. SkillSonics has multiple associations with important Indian organisations active in skill development:

Since 2013, SkillSonics India Pvt Ltd is a partner company of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). NSDC provides financial support and is a shareholder of this company. SkillSonics is also affiliated as an approved training provider with India’s Capital Goods Skill Council (CGSC) and the Automotive Sector Skill Development Council (ASDC). Also, SkillSonics partners with CII and FICCI. In Switzerland, SkillSonics is supported by key VET organisations and training providers.Y

Are you getting any assistance from the government of Switzerland or the government of India in this endeavour?

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is the Swiss Federal government’s specialised agency for education, research and innovation policy. It is part of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. The SERI was involved in launching and co-funding the pilot project of the SVETII, and it has again co-funded the Quality Assurance Project (QAP) from 2015 to 2017.

Another supporter is the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET). This government organisation provides expert advice on vocational education and training, namely in the area of curriculum development and trainer training as well as the promotion of international cooperation in VET.

In India, NSDC has taken equity in the company and provided other funding, namely, by way of a loan. SkillSonics is highly appreciative of having qualified as a partner of NSDC. It is wonderful that NSDC has positively responded to the Swiss initiative and is contributing to bringing it to fruition in India.


Schweizer Berufslehre als Export-Schlager