Our apprenticeship program in India isn’t only helping to bridge the skills gap – it's also providing a gateway to a stable career in a country grappling with high youth unemployment rates.
When top talent is a rarity in your market, what do you do?
You create it – even if it means starting from scratch.
In 1998, when Schindler ventured into the Indian market, the challenge was clear: Skilled engineers capable of installing and servicing elevators and escalators were few and far between. Poaching from the competition wasn't a viable option either.
Not ones to sit idle, our colleagues in India decided to take matters into their own hands and to create their own pipeline of talent – this is how our Schindler India apprenticeship program was born.
In the 12 years that Schindler India’s apprenticeship program has been running, over 3,000 apprentices have passed through our doors. Today, our program boasts an impressive retention rate, with 90-95% of our apprentices securing permanent positions with us.
During the past two decades, India has made huge strides in reducing poverty within its borders – but over 15% of its 1.4 billion population still lives below the poverty line.
For some of our apprentices in India, our program has made a positive impact on their lives, as Karthik Nikoshe, a current Indian Apprentice Trainee based in Navi Mumbai, told us: "I’m grateful for this opportunity which has provided me with a good quality of life."
Roughly 300 apprentices join the Schindler family each year – some hailing 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.
Programs like ours also provide a gateway to a stable career in the industry, an attractive proposition in a country that has been grappling with high youth unemployment rates for years. While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022, official statistics show.
Over the past few decades, India has gained a global foothold in the technology sector, becoming in the space of a few decades the world’s IT hub – leading many young engineers to angle for a career in tech.
While a career in the elevator and escalator industry may not be the most obvious choice for tech-minded people, the technology now involved in the production, operation and maintenance of our products makes it an appealing option for the tech-inclined like Kiran Samant, a Mumbai-based apprentice.
"The advanced technology and machines we’re learning about provide a great platform to achieve future success. This program has opened a new path to knowledge and further opportunities for me," Kiran says.
Our apprenticeship program in India is just one of many similar programs we run in different parts of the world. Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, China, New Zealand, Australia and the UK – all offer apprenticeship programs covering a variety of professions. While programs differ from one country to the next, all offer our youth an opportunity to enter the workforce and develop the skills they need to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s workplace.
Schindler India's apprenticeship program is open to fresh graduates from India’s "Industrial Training Institutes" (ITI). The ITI, initiated by the Indian government in 1950, serves as a post-secondary institution, offering training across various trades, such as Fitter, Lift and Escalator Mechanic, and Operator.
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 on the job – communication, English language, and business etiquette.
Apprentices spend the first three months of the program undergoing technical, learning to dismantle and reinstall an elevator in the safe environment of our Technical Training Center, before getting a chance to venture out in the field – always under supervision. Trainees are assigned a certified technician who will train and supervise them on the job for the next 33 months.
Dhanraj Raje joined Schindler in 2010 as an apprentice. Fast forward to today and he’s Team Leader New Installations, responsible for all major projects around Mumbai. "I’ve been fortunate to work on some amazing projects like Shraddha, Flying Gate and Gammon India," he says, referring to some of the largest infrastructure projects in India.
Shrav Shah is also a former apprentice who joined Schindler in 2007 and is now the Senior Manager New Installations for the Mumbai and Nashik region – proof that our apprenticeship programs can provide a gateway into a lifelong career with us.
"I had opportunities to handle major projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan region and got a chance to work with some challenging customers, which helped me build long-term relations with them. The apprentice program helped me develop technically in the E&E industry and gave me leadership skills to manage a team of more than 60 employees."