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Expert asserts Skilled People the Key for Indigenous A&D Boost

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The `Make in India’ initiative, the government aims to meet the targets envisaged in the national manufacturing policy, which is supposed to create 100Mn manufacturing jobs and raise manufacturing’s contribution to the GDP from 16pc today to 25pc by 2022.
So, how does one achieve this? To boost manufacturing, the supply base of component and materials needs to be improved, demand accelerated and challenges, such as infrastructure, availability of skilled manpower and simplifying procedural and regulatory formalities, overcome.
Our organisation, with a legacy of over 80 years in India, supports the initiative because it will not only help Indian industry become globally competitive but will also allow various companies to further support the country’s modernisation needs.
India is among the world’s fastest growing economies. It is a key market. Rolls-Royce already has 1,000 local engineers working in India through outsourced agreements and has manufacturing facilities exporting components. In view of the growth prospects in India, the company has plans to expand and employ more people by 2017.
The International Aerospace Manufacturing Pvt Ltd (IAMPL), formed in July 2010, is a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and HAL. Employing over 140 people, the Bangalore facility is in production and will produce 25,000 aerospace parts for the company in 2015 across a range of engine programmes.

Industry-readiness
India has set a target of skilling 500Mn people -1.5 times the US population -with employable skills by 2022. Manufacturing growth will play a crucial role in the task of up skilling the country’s workforce and increasing youth employability. Today, there is a high demand and competition for good talent across all industry sectors dependent on innovation and creative thinking. While about a million engineering students graduate in the country every year, it is their industry-readiness that will play a key role in achieving the vision of creating a skilled India. The talent pool requires employers to be interested and committed to building on their foundational skills to prepare them for industry expeditiously. At the moment, only two per cent of Indians have vocational skills as compared to 70-100pc in Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Global standards
The aerospace industry needs engineers with the right technical skills combined with applicable soft skills. A back ground in mechanical, electrical or electronic engineering or in mecha tronics, materials (like compos ites) and system integration knowledge is the beginning.
Engineering talent needs to be equipped with global skills, which will make them receptive to international standards of safety and quality. However, few Indian universities offer courses tailor-made for the aerospace in dustry. So, access to talent, which could be quickly recruited and de ployed on programmes, will contin ue to be a long-term ambition.
In the meantime, the automotive and ITbusiness process management (BPM) sectors have successfully nurtured professionals along the plug-and-play model that can be leveraged globally.

Concerted effort
Essentially, we must recognise the opportunities for industry and the government to work hand-in-hand with academic institutions to tap into and make India’s talent world-class. We should look into aligning vocational and university curricula to industry needs, especially specialist skills.
Also, the government could look into building a framework to recognise industry members that actively develop and implement technical career progression initiatives through continuous learning programmes.
The writer is president, India and South Asia, Rolls-Royce

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