‘We are Indianizing Global Concepts and Rolling Them Out in India at Low Cost’

If one compares TSSC’s journey with that of a child, one can find a lot many similarities. The initial days of floundering, crawling and then finding feet were the early struggles of the council. Now, it has established a niche for itself and wants to ascend a mountain to get into a plateau.
In a chit chat with Voice&Data, Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) CEO S P Kochhar talks about the integral role the council is going to play in skilling the telecom sector and why collaboration with ICT companies and ‘Indianizing’ global concepts are the keys moving forward.

Voice&Data: How is Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) contributing to the growth and development of the telecom sector in India?
S P Kochhar: Introduction of digital wallets and the gaining popularity of smartphones are leading to consistent increase in demand for technology; as a result, it’s going to create 30 lakh job opportunities in the telecom sector by 2018, according to a joint study by Assocham-KPMG.
Roll-out of 4G technology with an increase in data is bringing new players in the market. Emerging technologies such as 5G, M2M (Machine-To-Machine) and the evolution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are expected to create employment avenues for almost 8,70,000 individuals by 2021, according to the study.
It said the existing manpower in the sector may not be adequate both in number as well as in skill to cater to the upcoming demand. The Telecom Sector Skill Council has been set up to cater to the demands and skill needs of the telecom sector.
We are the front runners in the adoption of the technology,’ Indianizing’ international concepts and rolling them out in India at low cost. We collaborate with the best in the industry to enforce the quality that should be delivered. We have 23 technology contact centers in collaboration with the government like BSNL. These centers have advanced equipment which can give hands-on training to the students.
We are also constantly interacting with the industry to understand the skill set required by them in order to match the gap between demand and supply.

Voice&Data: Please explain the methodology for imparting skill education to telecom aspirants?
S P Kochhar: TSSC has partnered with MSDE and NSDC and is highly process oriented organization, with 97% of the members representing the industry. Before imparting any skill/training we at TSSC, get the QPs vetted by the industry members and understand the market demand for the next five years. They help us understand the skilling, upskilling and reskilling needs of the industry and the manner in which the candidates have to be trained for the desired outcomes. We closely interact with them to create the Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Occupational Standards (NOS). Once this is done, we identify and affiliate the training partners with requisite infrastructure. TSSC closely monitor the assessment process as it is one of our USP. The assessment is carried out online and offline both. The assessor is from the industry only for the evaluation. We take our responsibility for QA training and certification completely.

Voice&Data: You have tied up with tech companies such as IBM, Microsoft, how these collaborations are helping in exploring newer avenues in technology?
S P Kochhar: TSSC has signed MoU with Microsoft India to drive skill development through ‘Project Sangam’.
“Project Sangam” is a Cloud hosted platform that leverages Microsoft Azure services, and also leverages the power of LinkedIn, to provide an integrated mobile-first platform for skilling, and employment. We believe Microsoft’s programmes, tools and resources will empower the telecom sector professionals with new-age competencies and narrow the existing gap between demand and supply of skills.
On the other hand, TSSC collaborated with IBM to address skill gaps in emerging technologies. Under the program, IBM and TSSC plan to develop an innovative curriculum to address skills gaps in the cloud, IoT, Big Data, and mobility. Currently as relevant to Telecom, TSSC is the only sector skill council offering these IBM courses.

Voice&Data:
What type of challenges do you face while achieving the ultimate motive of skilling India?
S P Kochhar: There are three parts of the skill system. The foremost is the mobilization of the students, who really want to improve their skillsets. Second, the skill ecosystem itself and third is the livelihood that includes jobs, self-employment or entrepreneurship. The students will get attracted only if they see value and an equal amount of padding in this program. It is not possible that we start the program and expect people to know about it on its own. We need to propagate it and that’s what the NSDC is doing under the supervision of the MSDE.
In the second part of the scheme, we have to get rid of any malpractices or futile practices. We have already started to initiate this ideology at the education levels- such as the Training Partners, skill ecosystem, ITIs and the process and the procedures. In the third part, the ministry is trying to bring the industries together. We are trying to convince the industries about the advantage of skill development program and why they should be a part of it. One thing which we need to be clear about is that the industry is a profit oriented organization and they will only show interest if they achieve best products out if it. Things are changing gradually but there is still a lot to be done in order to make skill India a success.

Voice&Data:
What’s your vision for the near future?
S P Kochhar: 2017 is a meltdown in the sense that a lot of policies, processes, and procedures are changing in the ministry. Many schemes and other departments are merging in the Skill Ministry. We are looking at the 600 technical colleges which are affiliated with us and have a huge student base. We are providing them the training which they want and we are focusing on the futuristic technologies which are going to hit the market in coming years. We are developing new contents, curriculum, and network for the colleges, some of our programs for TSSC have already become very popular and we are receiving a huge response for the same. These are the paid courses which ensure the high quality of the program and students invests in a program only if they find it valuable.

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