Schindler India started its apprenticeship program in 2012, with the aim of creating a talent pool of people who, once trained and certified, could be deployed on the field.
Three hours by car to the south-east of Mumbai is Pune. The Indian city is where Schindler has established its 50-acre campus, which hosts an elevator plant – flanked by its signature 70-meter-tall test tower – an elevator plant, a R&D center, and Schindler’s very own university.
Pune was picked for a reason. Over the years, the city had established itself as the country’s top automobile and manufacturing hub, while cementing its position as a major IT hub, second only to Bangalore. The city also counts several universities and educational institutions. All this combined meant that there was no shortage of qualified people in the area – which is precisely what Schindler was after.
Schindler India started its apprenticeship program in 2012, with the aim of creating a talent pool of people who, once trained and certified, could be deployed on the field. Fast forward to today, and the apprenticeship program has more than delivered on this vision. Today, 50% of Schindler’s workforce comes from the apprenticeship pool, while a whopping 95% of fitters come directly out of the apprenticeship program.
Roughly 300 apprentices join the Schindler family each year – some from faraway places, where opportunities are few and far between. The experience can be enriching in more ways than one. "Some of the young apprentices come from remote locations and the training environment in a big city is a big cultural shift for them," says Rajagopalan Renganathan, Sr. Vice President , Field Quality Excellence, India.
Each new intake of apprentices goes through a three-year program that combines technical and safety training with the development and honing of ‘soft skills’ required to succeed in the job – communication, English language, and business etiquette.
Apprentices spend the first three months of the program undergoing technical training before getting a chance to venture out in the field – and even then, always under supervision. Trainees are assigned a certified technician who will train and supervise them on the job for the next 33 months. At the end of the training period, the trainees showing the most potential are invited to join the group permanently as certified fitters.
The program is a success, no matter how you look at it: it’s helped the company wean itself off its dependency on third-party subcontractors, improving profitability and reducing the risk of accidents.
"The training helps our apprentices incorporate the Schindler values of quality and safety from the very outset," says Sheetal Shah, Chief People Officer, India & South Asia. "And that is unvaluable."