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April 21, 2018

Automotive industry will have to create a different set of skills now : ASDC Conclave speakers

New Delhi: The technical training that is being currently imparted to technicians, engineers and shop floor workers in the Indian automotive industry may not be useful after 2-3 years. With a plan to work on connected, smart and electric vehicles, a different set of skills will be called for.

“We need to change much faster than before and it is advantageous that the industry has not invested too much in the current technology and skills, as the largest players in the world have done,” said the speakers at the Automotive Skills Development Council’s (ASDC) Annual Conclave in Delhi.

The industry captains envisage that new skills encompassing sensor making, social intelligence, computational thinking, artificial intelligence, virtual collaboration, automotive design, computational thinking may be some of the learnings that may be required.

Companies will have to invest in future technologies and technical skills to deliver the products and services. In addition, servicing of products will become even more critical than manufacturing these products. Hence, skill development initiatives will have to be kick-started from now.

As electric vehicles catapult to the global stage, engines will be run by batteries and motor-controllers to power them leveraging lesser number of components and moving parts. This will necessitate that technicians acquire electronic control skills, said I V Rao, Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India.

Speakers spoke about 600,000 engineers graduating annually, of which only 9 per cent are employable currently, since they lack the requisite practical skills that the industry is seeking. Therefore, ITIs and engineering curriculum’s have to be tweaked and made more relevant so that fundamentals of education essentially remain the same, but their applications could change.

Jayant Davar, Co-chairman & Managing Director, Sandhar Technologies, told on the sidelines of the conclave that there is no skill gap at present but with the new technologies coming, skilling has to be undertaken more proactively and many other subjects, in addition to what people used to be trained in earlier, have to be learnt.

For instance, how machines run. Citing an example, he said when the Japanese manufacturers came to India, they brought their 5S manufacturing practices and now things are moving onto the digital platform, where artificial intelligence and machine learning requires a change in curriculum.

“And because it is happening so quickly, there is not enough faculty that is available to teach them. So these are the gaps that are coming around and everyone will have to go through all these levels of training now,” Davar added.

Now even technical or academic case level foundation work learnings will have to be undertaken as it will become very important for shop floor workers to know when all machines are automated.

At present, automotive skilling is being undertaken by ASDC and manufacturing companies are also setting up Centre of Excellence for training workers, while auto component makers and dealer fraternity in sync with OEMs impart training to workers.

“The automotive industry is the most demanding in the sense of needing skills so there is a huge requirement. We have a lot of institutions under the Department of Heavy Industries and NATRiP as well that are imparting training. We have set up in Silchar in North-East and have a memorandum of understanding with Tata Motors there and now we are looking for a MoU with the Air Force also,” commented Vishvajit Sahay, Joint Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry.

“The government is also trying to create the spare capacity for skilling in NATRiP. There are centres in Indore, where young engineers are invited and they make automotive design and related stuff. We have instructed the director of ICAT Manesar to take up skill development in a major way. We have tied up with an engineering college in Vellore and ARAI, and they are working together to impart worker level training,” he added.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.

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