Powering the Nation’s Progress Through Skilling: Toyota on the Bandwagon to Bridging the Skill Gap in India

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Sailesh Shetty

Born into a humble household and having lost his father at the age of ten, Kiran was on the verge of dropping out of school, like his brother and sister, to fend for the family. Hope came calling when one of his relatives introduced him to the Toyota Technical Training Institute (TTTI, accredited as JIM–Japanth India Institute for Manufacturing) after his Xth Standard. He opted for the Mechatronics programme and utilised this life-changing opportunity to learn and grow. Despite the financial hurdles, Kiran worked hard to excel in his studies. He also won several accolades, like the bronze medal in the Prototype Modelling Skill at The World Skill Competition in 2017, at Abu Dhabi. Such inspiring opportunities Corporates are offering for many like Kiran who dream to make it big in the industry, is indeed a ray of hope for those unable to afford it on their own.

Today, strongly supported by the Skill India initiative, businesses are increasingly devising programmes to upskill the present talent pool at various levels to suit the current industry standards.

The manufacturing sector, and the automotive industry in particular, have been on an accelerated growth path. However, companies in India are continuing to grapple with the skill gap issue and are unable to find the right kind of qualified talent. Skill gap has become a reality and is known to be more prevalent in the manufacturing sector. Research reports estimate the growing skill gap in India to be more than 25 crore workers by around 2022. Studies also reveal that out of around 15 lakh engineering graduates in India every year, 20-30 percent of them continue to be unemployed while several others get a job well below their qualification. This issue of skill gap, therefore, will only aggravate in the future given growth and development predicted for the Indian automobile segment. In lieu of this, today Corporates are investing heavily in additional skill development and training to bridge this skill gap concern which will become critical to the growth of the business and the automobile sector at large. Organisations have started targeted education programmes by collaborating with institutes and academia, and by developing their own training modules to prepare employable and skilled candidates.

“Research reports estimate the growing skill gap in India to be more than 25 crore workers by around 2022. Out of around 15 lakh engineering graduates in India every year, 20-30 percent of them continue to be unemployed while several others get a job well below their qualification.”

As a responsible organisation, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. (TKM) has embarked on a mission to bridge this divide through TTTI. Established in 2007, TTTI imparts training to rural poor students hailing from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families from across Karnataka. Situated on the premises of the company’s Bidadi manufacturing plant near Bangalore, TTTI, through its three-year residential course focuses on developing employable skills among rural students of Karnataka and facilitates to improve their quality of life and realise greater employment opportunities. We have always strived towards developing a strong skill force in India and developing employable skills and leadership attributes among the not-so-privileged youth. We believe in playing a much bigger role than just manufacturing and selling the safest and environment-friendly cars. We have, over the years, had the honour of conceptualising several education and skill initiatives to promote the industry to youth and millennial.

TTTI Curriculum:
Training at TTTI is not restricted to classrooms and workshops alone. TTTI exclusively emphasises on the overall development of the trainees as per industry requirements and towards perfecting people, and thereby contributing young multi-skilled, energetic, ideal students to the nation. The training curriculum is a unique blend which focuses on the holistic development of Knowledge (16 percent), Skill (34 percent), Body and Mind (50 percent) of the students.

Knowledge: Spanning specialised knowledge, general knowledge, information technology, technical know-how, global economic awareness.

Knowledge component which is around 16 percent covers such subjects like English, Home Science and General Sciences, Mathematics, besides general engineering subjects like Engineering Drawing, Workshop Calculations, Production Technology and Mechanics of Machines, CAD, Automobile.

Skill: Skill Specific Training for Mechatronic, Automobile, Paint & Weld in Toyota’s key methodologies of Safety, Quality, Productivity, Cost, 5S, Kaizen, Karakuri

Specialty: Training in industry shop floor (On-the-Job training)

Domain Expertise: Multi-skilling, measuring instruments, technical seminars, quiz, internal skill contest

Body & Mind: Work without fatigue in an industry requires a healthy body, for which a specialised training is imparted and monitored by performing tests like endurance, push-ups, shoulder, abdomen, back strength

Student’s attitude is mentored through personality development classes by well-renowned guest lectures and the faculty. Specialised Toyota Specific Training, 10 Toyota Attributes, various social services for the overall development of the student.

“Training at TTTI is not restricted to classrooms and workshops alone. TTTI exclusively emphasises on the overall development of the trainees as per industry requirements and towards perfecting people, and thereby contributing young multi-skilled, energetic, ideal students to the nation. The training curriculum is a unique blend which focuses on the holistic development of Knowledge (16 percent), Skill (34 percent), Body and Mind (50 percent) of the students.”

This comprehensive curriculum of TTTI has opened newer avenues for students in international platforms like National Skill Competition & World Skill Competition (Skill Olympics). As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, our TTTI alumni, Kiran, secured the bronze medal in the Prototype Modelling Skill and the sixth position in Mechatronics Skill Category, at the 44th World Skills Competition held at Abu Dhabi in 2017. We also had a student from the 2011 batch securing fourth position in World Skill Competition 2015 at Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was also awarded a Medallion of Excellence. Our TTTI 2013 batch students won first and second positions at the Mechatronic Skill in India Skills 2016 held at New Delhi. Our TTTI Alumni also participated at the Asia Pacific Skill Contest at Thailand, the Global Skill Contest and Global Ekiden Competition at Japan.

TTTI Alumni represented QCFI (Quality Council Form of India)

Besides, 100 percent of TTTI graduate students are placed in TKM, Toyota Group Companies and Toyota’s Supplier companies.

TTTI has been selected as part of a partnership between Japan and India For Human Resource Development. Under this, we will be one the Indo-Japanese companies that will help enhance the manufacturing base in India and contribute to Make in India and Skill India by training 30,000 youth over the next ten years with Japanese-style manufacturing skills and practices.

Sharing his experiences, Lokesh, a TTTI student, said, “The training and best practices shared at TTTI has been excellent and it has transformed me to become an industry-ready employable citizen. I witnessed an overall personality development in myself, including physical fitness, communication skills, technical know-hows and manufacturing skills. As part of the TTTI curriculum, the on-job training in the Shop Floor has given me an insight of the real working experiences to develop as an ideal employee. I thank Toyota for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

Other Skill Initiatives at Toyota

Over the years, we have undertaken holistic skill initiatives for the development of skilled manpower that ensures a secure and steady flow of qualified human resources not only for the company but also for the industry as a whole. Our vision is to create a learning organisation by developing competitive human resources among all stakeholders and thereby contributing towards business sustainability. Besides the TTTI, we have curated some dedicated initiatives to nurture a contingent workforce for all our stakeholders:

Toyota Apprentice Scheme (TAS): Under TAS, we have trained over 10,000 apprentices (ITI, Diploma and Engineer) since 2002, making us one of the largest sources of providing such manpower to the industry.

Gurukul: Our well-equipped learning centre imparts diverse training to employees at all levels which helps them improve their abilities and thoroughly fulfill their roles. Earlier this year, we launched the Tantrajna Programme, a skill development initiative in association with ASDC, aimed at increasing employment opportunities for rural and underprivileged youth in the automobile sector. The programme comprised of 600 hours of classroom training by globally certified skill trainers, and one year of On the Job Development (OJD) with a holistic approach; balancing focus on body, mind and attitude.

Toyota Technical Education Programme (T-TEP): Launched in India in 2006, T-TEP is part of our company’s CSR activity, in line with skill enhancement projects that we have been undertaking to bridge the skill gap faced by the Indian automotive industry. T-TEPs are established as a result of partnerships with industrial and technical training institutes across India to impart automotive trainings – General Repair, Automotive Body Repair and Automotive Paint Repair, thus developing a highly-skilled technical workforce with bright career opportunities in the industry. With this programme, we have been able to enhance the skill sets and employability of ITI students, exposing them to the latest technology in automotive repair and on-the-job training at nearby Toyota dealerships.

Academia Collaboration

As a long term plan of associating with Academia, we will collaborate with the Academic Council to add our unique traits in the study curriculum. We also aim to mentor students through Toyota engineers to develop future-ready skilled manpower.

In addition to these, we also conduct internship/project training for students pursuing engineering and post-graduation on Toyota’s Best Practices and Lean Manufacturing. Through campus connect sessions, the upcoming talents of the industry are trained on best practices of our Production System.

Additionally, we have been conducting various interactive session/workshops on safety, clean and green technology etc., for sharing insights involving various stakeholders such as the government, NGOs and industry bodies. We have also been adopting ITI colleges from the local neighborhood of Ramanagara where our manufacturing unit is located.

The number of direct and indirect jobs to be created by the rapidly growing Indian automotive industry over the next few years is nearly 65 million. With the changing regulations from Safety, Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ), stricter fuel and emission norms, there is a continuous need for improvement in vehicle technologies. Therefore, there is a tremendous need for highly trained manpower with right skill sets who understand modern technology and its advancements, which stresses the need of quality training facilities to impart specialised skills. Corporates are working tirelessly to bridge this widening gap between the availability of skilled manpower and industry requirements, for an accelerated economic growth and steering towards great transformation.

Sailesh Shetty is Vice President-Human Resources, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd.