NETAP had another session of the Apprenticeships Dialogues Series on 18th January 2022. The panel had some esteemed leaders, Mr. Adetya Chopra, Chief Learning Officer at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, Mr. Bapuji Chikkanagappa, Director - Human Resources at Flipkart, Mr. Gautam Saraf, VP - Chief Human Resource Officer at Ferns N Petals Pvt. Ltd and Moderator Mr. Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP to shed some light on “Emerging Trends in the Current Apprenticeship Ecosystem.”
Let’s hear these industry leaders sharing their respective approaches to degree apprenticeship programs;
How have you been leveraging or how your organization has been leveraging on apprenticeships?
It has been a journey for Mr Saraf’s organization as initially, they were a little skeptical. But eventually, could see a lot of tangible and intangible benefits. One way, it gave them an opportunity to engage with the local ecosystem, connecting with the communities and giving them an opportunity to upskill. As a byproduct, they were able to engage those people who were just at the entry-level of skill metrics into some of the semi-skilled and unskilled roles to start with. And then they gradually moved to higher skills. The delivery team of Ferns and Petals is about 15-20% of the overall workforce. But largely 75 to 80% is engaged in lots of other work behind the scenes, managing the hubs, sorting, grading, managing inventory, warehouses, where the workforce is either semi skilled, or relatively, almost unskilled. This is an area where engaging apprentices was a comfortable choice. Watch the video now.
Some of the warehouses have got about 25% of the workforce as part of the apprentice program. Now, once they move up the ladder after two years, they are seen taking Team Leader roles, and some of them are even getting absorbed. Structured learning and developmental programs give them an opportunity to really get into the mainstream and probably slowly get into relatively highly-skilled roles as well.
With this journey, they saw a lot of benefits in using different models and submodels within the apprentice program. And the last three years have been a great learning curve and they hopefully continue to reap the benefits of this program.
On the contrary, Adetya Chopra, Chief Learning Officer at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd has never tried an apprenticeship program at his organization. But, they most often do informal training sessions or programs for freshers. The intent of the practice of every organization is to hire freshers. “We're incubating them, transferring skills, knowledge and mapping their performance anyway, which is like another route to getting to the same destination”, said Mr Chopra. They run two or three large interventions for talent to have a learning path attached today one or day zero time incubation - which can be six months to a year-long, but sometimes four, and then have a higher education part which is like an educational journey.
How do you prepare your organization to get started with an apprenticeship?
At Flipkart, there was a huge change of management required from the HR teams as well as the business operations team. And this apprenticeship program is for making somebody who is not job-ready to make them job-ready. So the organization decided to go ahead with it. They started off by building a team, explaining the model, taking this program to different stakeholders, and giving them a completely holistic approach to how this helps everyone. They knew it is a continuous commitment where formal structured on-the-job training to the communities is required from day one. And after some experience by working, they eventually get recognized for that through a government certificate. It is just making them understand what role they need to do, some basics of must-do training, and after that, they're as good as any other nonapprentice employee.
What are those visible benefits that made you stick to your apprenticeship?
The major concern of organizations has always been attrition. An apprenticeship provided a complete program to freshers with a commitment to building the skill and helping them in earning. For Mr Gautam Saraf’s organization to continue with the program was definitely retention and being able to attract good talent.
A lot of people who have otherwise not considered are part of the talent pool now. When someone comes to seek employment at Flipkart, they advise them to go through an initial induction program. A structured on the job (OJT) kind of training is provided for six months, and then they get an opportunity to get into the mainstream. So accepting more and more people who are willing to work and are aspirational, but don't know where to start from, is one tangible benefit that the apprenticeship program has given, said Mr. Bapuji Chikkanagappa, Director - of Human Resources at Flipkart. Checkout the video.
Recommendations to improve the system
Mr Gautam Saraf - I personally feel that we definitely have to pitch this apprentice as a much more evolved program. And not just through organization, all the education Institutes have to be encouraged and have to be told about what the apprenticeship program is all about and where they can engage their existing student workforce or students to become a part of exposure to the various industries.
Mr. Bapuji Chikkanagappa - Perception change is required with a little bit of knowledge, understanding of the entire benefits and getting a complete picture of the whole program would really help and give confidence to try it or scale it and take the complete benefit of that. Watch the video.
The conversation concluded with the discussion on a degree apprenticeship. Degree-linked apprenticeship is definitely something that organizations look forward to engaging in the future but it will be limited to certain job roles. Also, it can be a great opportunity to collaborate academia with industry to prepare students for the evolving market. It will definitely make merit and give the advantage to students and they themselves will drive this program a success. Checkout the full video of the webinar here.
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