An Indian movie buff, with the concept of Skilled and Shining India, Ajay Chhangani, CEO, RISE India has created an institution that funds and develops brands that provide skill training and certification to young India. A dynamic industry that trends as per technology growth, a young and aspiring country and an every growing demand for employable candidates drives the organization and keeps him working for more.
You have been an investor for education startups and orgs in India. How do you find the field now, after the technology boost given by the government?
The field has always been interesting and quite challenging because of the up and downs – the slowdown in the economy or certain sectors for the industry. For example, engineering is no more a flavor of the season. Though people always perceive education as a stable industry, it’s a fact that it is a very dynamic industry and needs to re-invent itself as much as the other industries do. Because every education needs to lead to employment, the dynamism of the industry changes the employment structure and requirements.
Due to the boost given by the government, there is a lot happening on the internet and online space. Especially in smaller towns, people are pretty excited about somebody delivering things at home, talking to them, all this has never happened in India before. This has also been due to the network and technical practices today that play a significant role. I only see growth in this area.
What are the attributes you look forward to, before selecting companies for funding?
Interestingly, one of the things we look forward to is a good organization that is not doing financially well. However, it should have great product, good people, processes and infrastructure. Fundamentally they need to be strong, but if they are not doing financially well that is an excellent combination for us to get into an equity sharing. Within the education space, we have identified particular media. We are into skill development and also into supplementary education – both online and offline. For instance, we have recently acquired a home tutor; all these supplementary educational and support systems are at our interest levels. We continuously look for opportunities in these areas.
Rise India focuses on vocational and skill training how do you utilize technology for these?
What sets us apart from traditional names is our use of technology and modern tools. Very few players in skills and vocational space use technology efficiently. And what actually helps us is the entire project management with efficient technologies. Right from what to do as per the project specifications of government or the project agency which has outsourced this project to Rise India- we have customized the whole process into an IT services. The monitoring of the project is online; everybody becomes a part of the system and plays a clear role. Then it has much less people dependency as far as project monitoring is concerned and is more on its more technology and project driven. People play respective roles as and when required and then move on. It’s like a manufacturing plant where everybody has a fixed role. So from A unit to B unit they take care of the project till it goes to the C unit. Similarly in a large budget management project or an ERP project, one person starts and ends and connects all the dots in such a way that it meets all requirements of a project. It also helps to capture interesting data bases about the updates- how many people trained, what level w e have trained these people, what is the income level, where are they currently, what is their this months’ salary, what is their last month’s salary. A lot of this data is captured with the use of technology.
Apart from this, on delivery also we use a lot of technology. We started in 2013 with online delivery model, and used quite a few platforms where all delivery training center is done on the internet. These are the two area s where technology s used.
The third one is the portal that plays an aggregator role, and everything they do it s through technology solutions.
What tools do you use for skill development for employees? Especially in non tech areas like CSR?
One of the interesting areas in the eCommerce industry is the delivery teams. It is a mechanism that the companies have built up and have also outsourced to companies with huge manpower.
We help to upgrade their skills in handling customers- in CRM and customer care. Communication and other life skills need to be taught at this point. At the entry level job it is essential to let them learn about saving, and teach them about incentives plans. And third, we teach them road safety and other civic rules. So our trainings are for a combination of all these three put together, assures skills up scaling to this section of people in the logistics sector.
We also do a lot of training for IT skills- DotNet, Java. That’s the other area.
Does RISE India do certifications for technology? What kind of market do you see for it in India?
Right from Oracle to MS, the market is moving towards up scaling. For people who have jobs, the realization of certifications from all big brands is very high. At entry level it has unfortunately gone down, because earlier people will get jobs based on certification. Unfortunately that is no longer a criterion and these are no more entry points. That has impacted the entry level jobs. Therefore it’s not necessary for them to go for a certification. However, we provide up scaling, for trade IT in entry level job skills.
RISE India has been in business for a little over 4 years. What changes are you seeing over this time in areas of skill development and type of candidates?
The way technology is impacting our lives, it is interesting to watch the changes that are happening on product or services side. It impacts the education and skill system and if we don’t upgrade ourselves, w e will be out of the market.
So what we have seen in the four years is, this area has also gone through lots of changes- the market getting matured in terms of schemes and plans, the governments’ plans that have moved towards the positive side, specially the Skill India mission … both in term s of quality, technology, skills and quantity, it has changed drastically from 2012 to 2016. As far as the individual is concerned, every few years we are seeing the change in the trends. Once retail was the trend, now hospitality and tourism is a trend, delivery is also a trend. So wherever the number of jobs is increasing there is a high level of interested and aware people come, and it becomes a bigger trend.
Do you also support in employment? Are your training employment and industry focused? To this end do you have any partnerships in the industry?
Today’s youth has high aspirations. So yes, when it comes to support in employment, we have to support employment because the ultimate objective is to enable these candidates in getting jobs. That is our mandate, we have to support them since all our programs are industry focused, and we upgrade with changes that are happening in the industry.
We are soon tying up with an Australian company, to ensure the people are trained not only for Indian market but also global jobs.
What trends do you see in the area of skills development as an industry?
There are new companies, but this is such a large industry with such a large mandate, that there is space for everyone. Because of the dynamism new challenges are coming up. Many youth, many IITians who are joining this industry, because the focus is not only to create scale but create India as a world training capital. That is very heartening to see.