To meet industry’s requirement for job-ready talent, Industry Academia partnership is necessary

Rohit Gupta, Chief Finance Officer, NIIT Limited joined NIIT’s executive team in April 2011 as its Chief Finance Officer. Prior to joining NIIT, Rohit worked as Chief Financial Officer for Virgin Mobile India, and he was also Chief Planning Officer at Bharti Airtel Limited. He has over 18 years experience in finance and management, with background in operations, accounting, finance, fraud management, taxation, revenue management and cost minimization. He has a strong track record of driving operational improvements in processes in telecom industries. Rohit grew up in New Delhi, India and is a Member of Chartered Accountants of India. He has worked for leading corporate like the Shriram Group, Hutchison Max, British Telecom and Bharti Airtel Limited and Virgin Mobile Limited.

Q. How do you look at the journey of NIIT in the education sector so far?

A. The story of NIIT began in 1981 when three IIT graduates got together to do something innovative. The trio founded NIIT with an objective to optimize on the opportunity of booming IT education and training in India. Since its inception, NIIT has always evangelized the gospel of technology and endeavoured to create an IT enabled society. Through a franchise model, it first began imparting IT education and opened centres across every nook and corner of the country.

Cut to the present day, NIIT is on a transformative path and creating waves across the globe. Today, NIIT is by far one of the most successful digital organizations impacting millions of lives through its learning solutions that are carefully designed to suit the changing times. Be it in classrooms, corporate boardrooms or in individual learning spaces, NIIT is redefining talent and skills and preparing a pool of manpower for global industry requirement. NIIT was always synonymous with youngsters longing for a career in the IT sector more so in software development and computer education. Today, it’s many innovative courses including Beyond IT proves that it is much more than what it was many years ago.

Q. What new initiatives have been taken by NIIT in past few years?

A. The education space is evolving. Today online learning opportunities and use of digital learning tools can help increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better utilizing teacher time. NIIT is a pioneer in the use of technology in education. In India, and other developing markets, technology can be a potent force multiplier that can dramatically increase the impact of other scarce resources such as expert instructors and physical learning infrastructure.

Keeping the momentum of the Business Transformation that began with the ‘Restructuring phase’ followed by the ‘Re-energising phase’ and ‘Renewal phase’ that commenced from July 2015 and will evolve over next 3 years. The technology- enabled Renewal phase is led by the significant launch of and is a digital learning initiative that brings skilling from NIIT classrooms to every digitally connected Indian, for free, at any time and place of their choice. StackRouteTM is a pioneering initiative to create Full-stack programmers for the start-up industry. Hence from our current level, we are on our march to a billion dollars in terms of overall revenues combined with organic and inorganic growth.

These initiatives promise to meet the vast education, training and skilling needs of the country, in support of the goals of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

Q. How can the skill gap that we are faced with currently be addressed?

A. Industry needs trained manpower but there is a shortage of appropriate skilled professionals which is a significant and complex challenge to India’s growth and future. With the industry is expected to witness robust growth in the coming years, the need for certified job-ready professionals will be even more critical. According to a survey by Weelbox, out of about 3, 00,000 candidates who appeared for Employability Skill Test across domains, 37.22% were found employable. Hence, today we are faced with a skills gap that reflects on the quality of college education in India.

To overcome problem of skill gap and create quality professionals to meet the industry’s requirement for job-ready talent, Industry Academia partnership is necessary. Companies offer business insight to the students and can help them get access to the latest research results and innovative new methodologies. Educational Institutes should also design their courses according to the needs of the industry, thus making it a win-win situation for both the parties.

NIIT has various tie ups with the industry leaders like ICIC Bank, HDFC Banks, Axis Banks, HP, Microsoft, EC Council etc.

Q. What role will Make in India can play in generating jobs and what kind of jobs will be more in demand in the coming years?

A. Make in India’ campaign will create lakhs of jobs and give impetus to the growth of the economy. India’s journey on the path of economic reforms has transformed it to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Its large and growing population is its best asset and can quadruple GDP and catapult India to the league of developed economies over the next decade. All this, if a billion could be transformed into a productive workforce.

Jobs continue to be created, needing an educated workforce and many in sunrise sub-sectors. There are five existing sectors that are likely to hold us in good stead in the future in terms of employment generation and business growth and they are:- Information Technology, Telecom, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Retail.

For over half a decade now, India has been chanting the demographic mantra with little real progress. Because with opportunities come challenges, the services sector needs many million knowledge workers. India’s large labour force has been stubborn in transition with over 90% inadequately trained.

Today, only a small part of retail in India is organized. Despite this, it is estimated that the sector in India is worth more than $400 billion, with domestic and international players planning to expand across the country. Industry leaders predict that the next phase of growth will emerge from rural markets.

Q. Are you planning to partner with any of the state govt. or Centre for any program?

A. NIIT is entering into various alliances and partnerships from time to time and being a listed company, we announce our tie ups as and when they happen.

Q. What are your other future plans?

A. The future growth strategy has been initiated by the steps taken to achieve Business Transformation, through the three lines of business at NIIT, which include – Skills & Careers Group (SCG), Corporate Learning Group (CLG) and Schools Learning Group (SLG), with the technology enabled shared services platform forming the core.

The focus at SCG has been getting back to profitability, back to growth. It is well aligned to achieve the end objective of attaining sustainable and scalable growth for the company. and StackRoute are strong first steps by NIIT for the Renewal phase of the three stage Business transformation exercise for its Skills and Careers Business.

The Corporate Learning Group took a step forward from accelerating revenue & profit towards establishing a leadership position in the Corporate Training market. This is being driven by its focus on big ticket annuity deals, product improvement and inorganic growth.

The entire Business transformation process is being driven by the New NIITian, guided by the vision and values of creating a culture of performance excellence.

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