TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship (TLDA) organized an online panel discussion on "Talent Creation through Degree Apprenticeship", slated for the 2nd of September 2022. We had three experienced leaders to discuss and bring out fantastic insights into the world of apprenticeships and talent creation. Mr Gautam Saraf, Chief Human Resource Officer, Ferns N Petals Pvt. Ltd, Mr Joe Chacko, Chief Human Resource Officer, Infiniti Retail Ltd. (Croma) and Moderator, Dhriti Mahanta, Business Head, TLDA.
The topic of discussion was talent creation through degree apprenticeships. As we all know, India is primarily an education-based market than a skill-based market as compared to European countries where skill and education are embedded in such a way that when the labour force goes to the workplace, they are productive and skilled enough to get things done from day 1. India is more of an education-based market today, leading to a huge skill deficit.
Let’s see how some organizations are bridging the skill gap between industry and academia with the help of apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.
What prompted you to start the apprenticeship program?
Attracting the right talent and increasing the talent pool was the top reason to start off with an apprenticeship program for Mr Gauta, Saraf. Second, kids who wanted to learn and had the attitude were welcomed to be a part of the industry. By showing their career growth, after completion of the apprenticeship program. Hence, the program resulted in the retention and controlled attrition number. A win-win scenario for the organization as well as the new hires.
Joe Chacko comes from the CDCE (consumer durables and consumer electronics) industry. They are a pan India operator currently with close to 300 stores and aim to expand twice its size by 2025. There was a requirement for manpower for these upcoming stores. As the industry is not well-organized, the organization had to really start investing in people and start building the required talent from the scratch. So, with that purpose in mind, they got on board with the apprenticeship program.
Obviously, when a new kind of practice or process gets introduced into the organization, it faces challenges. So there was a bit of reluctance and probably inquisitiveness in senior stakeholders and management people for multiple sets of employment terms within the same organization.
But once they started seeing certain results like better filling of positions, a sudden increase in the hiring pool and other various benefits to the business growth, they gave a green signal to continue with the program.
Degree-embedded apprentice training
A lot of kids joining QSR or retail are ones who had to support their family at a very early stage in life, which made them leave their education mid-way. So they join at early stages and then learn skillsets to be in that profile. But when it comes to managerial skills and supervisory skills, it all has to do with certain education because it requires calculations and understanding of business, which comes with a degree/ education. Also, 10 to 20% of kids ended up leaving because they want to go back to studying after being financially stable. Therefore, giving them a model where they have already invested two years and three years in the sector, and an opportunity to complete their further education or higher studies while continuing their job, will only fast-track their career to the next level.
Mr Gautam Saraf had done various programs where they collaborated with IGNOU and offered its employees to complete their further education. Kids who successfully completed were moved to higher roles within the organization. Similarly, it can be expected that apprentices with the degree program will definitely help and attract more talent in this space.
Talking about attrition after completing these programs and joining as full-time employees, both speakers believed that the pressure is on the employers to create the right experiences and opportunities for the individuals. And make sure that once the person does the job impressively, there is a good method of reward and recognization, by compensating the individual as per the market. Because these small steps yet effective steps help in the retention of talent.
Thoughts on Skills University
It’s great that so many skills universities are coming in that are working towards objective-driven education. The education system was not able to meet the demands of the industry and this looks like a promising way to bridge the skill gaps industries were facing. A very progressive method. But at the same time, organizations do look forward to acceptance and success stories of placed kids after completion of the course or degree through skills universities.
For degree embedded programs, to set accountability and ownership that apprentices study seriously, it’s ok to ask them to pay the fees, and if they are able to come and pass their first year or a semester completely, the amount can be reimbursed back to them.
How to promote degree apprenticeship
Our speakers shared their thoughts on promoting degree apprenticeship so that more and more organizations/students can get on board with it;
Engaging with the right organization will have the right augment and backed by a large organization always help to set credibility and encourage other organizations to also try and experiment.
Speaking about the advantages and merits for the business and for the talent pool.
Joining various forums of HR Connect to mention the advantages of creating a talent pipeline.
Creating awareness at the grassroots level like schools and colleges. Showing a great career path, from the initial phase as an apprentice to a full-time employee, either after three years or after five years of completing the degree. Also about the roles they can take over by staying in the same organization.
Moderator Dhriti Mahanta, Business Head, TLDA concluded the webinar by thanking the guest speakers and attendees for spending their valuable time.
We have this conversation recorded, covering all the questions related to apprenticeships and talent creation. You can watch the full video here.