HCL TalentCare: Skilling and placing talent

HCL TalentCare, the newest business venture of HCL Corporation, is a skills training company that started off in May 2015. While courses for IT and BFSI are already running, the course on healthcare is also on the anvil. The company is offering a three-way proposition of sourcing students from campuses across tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 Indian cities, skilling them through the Signature Learning Experience (SEL) in two state-of-the-art campuses in Hyderabad and Chennai, and staffing them in suitable jobs. Autar Nehru interviewed  Vijay Iyer, Chief Business Officer to know more.

Vijay Iyer_Chief Business Officer_ HCL TalentCare

“We have a team that is academically strong and industry relevant to create a holistic program. “

Why do you think there was a need for a company like HCL to venture into skills education & training?
Every year in India there are 12 million graduates and 1.5 million engineers who pass out and are academically qualified to join the diversified workforce of the industry. However, several studies indicate that a large proportion (upward of 75%) of new college graduates do not possess the skills required to be readily employable in roles for which they seek to be hired. Industry addresses these gaps through large investments in training, internships, shadow assignments, bench strength and other methods to make new hires job-ready and productive.
An additional complexity is high levels of attrition in the entry-level (0-3 year experience) workforce, leading to expensive and repetitive cycle of hiring, training, staffing and replacement for the same role. Corporate needs job ready resources, quality, high level of productivity and sustainability. Layer on unpredictable growth and volatility in the demand cycle and we have a potent mix of challenges that business and HR leaders in the services sector face.
Analyzing this need gap, we identified people, skill and talent as a consolidated area where there is a large scalable opportunity in India and eventually globally. This led to the foundation of HCL TalentCare. We believe that by skilling talent, sourcing opportunities for them and placing them is as big an industry as IT was about two decades back.
HCL TalentCare is now about 10 months old; how has been the initial journey like vis-a-vis plans and objectives?
We started HCL TalentCare in May last year to address the skill gap in the industry and offer “talent on demand” to enterprise clients and a “career launch pad” to graduates. The journey has been enriching and we have been successfully moving towards our aim of making students job ready and readily employable in desirable jobs in the industry. In FY 2014-15, as part of our pilot, we sourced, skilled and staffed over 700 graduate engineers into entry-level roles at globally recognized technology companies.
Your focus has been primarily on engineering graduates if I am correct, what this program is exactly and what it does to a trainee. Also, how does one enrol for it?
Currently, we have the Young Engineer Program (YEP); a 6 months residential program designed to transform engineering graduates into highly sought-after professionals. This programs include customized training with personalized workbooks and industry-approved certifications. We also offer Young Graduate Program (YGP) for non-engineering graduates planning a career in the banking sector where technology plays a vital role in the career growth.
We go to colleges and screen students on the basis of our Jobability Quotient™ (JQ™) test for the YEP and YGP programmes.Students may log on to our website and register by filling out the application form online. HCL TalentCare will get in touch with the students about their eligibility and advise them on the admission testing process.
There are other domains where you HCL TalentCare is providing training, can you briefly list them for our readers?
Right now, our primary focus is IT and BFSI, and soon we are going to get into healthcare. We will also expand our portfolio by launching a new course on SMAC(social, mobility, analytics and cloud) soon.
Any direct offering for schools/colleges at the moment?
We are not targeting schools at present. We go to colleges across tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 colleges assessing engineering and non-engineering students and conduct our Jobability Quotient™ (JQ™) test. JQ™ is a unique composite measure developed by HCL TalentCare to assess and benchmark all the skills and capabilities that graduates need to be successful in a specific job role. JQ helps to measure and identify their areas of strength and dimensions that need improvement by benchmarking them against relevant job requirements. The selected students are then trained at our campus for 3 months, followed by 3-months on-the-job training and then finally placed in leading IT companies. After the completion of the curriculum, HCL TalentCare mentors individuals for three years though our TalentSurance program, to ensure their career progression is consistent. This is done through continuous knowledge enhancements and counselling sessions.
There is this popular notion that skilling is for dropouts. Is this entirely true? What is your philosophy?
A degree alone does not guarantee that one is a good fit for a particular job. Prospective employers look for a combination of skills and abilities that are sometimes intangible. These could vary from on–the–job experience to understanding of new technology platforms or good communication skills to more abstract abilities such as leadership and how well a candidate will perform under stress.
Mostly colleges cover the technical skilling and academic bit required but lack in holistic development of a student’s personality. This is why skill development and training have to play a critical role in making the student job ready. It is not just for weak students or dropouts but a step up programme that builds upon and enhances the student’s learning and capability.
We have approached HCL TalentCare with a view of what does industry require in a job or the person doing the job. A university can bring in the academic trigger but what the people would actually do there/ or the business communication will be brought by the people from industry so we have a team that is academically strong and industry relevant to create a holistic program.
Though you are still in infancy, still what should be expected of you in near future? Are there some initiatives in pipeline?
As mentioned earlier, we plan to train and place 20,000 students in the next three years. We are expanding our residential campus capacity to accommodate more graduate students through new facilities in places apart from the exisiting Chennai and Hyderabad locations. We aim to be a leading player in the IT, BFSI and Healthcare sectors, and expand into two more sectors. We aim to have a presence outside India in at least two more geographies in the near future.