Aptech & Welingkar add courses to cash in on relaxed FDI in retail

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 3 2011, 08:35am hrs
The governments decision of allowing 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail has triggered training and management institutes into action with many of them planning to add or tweak their existing programmes related to retail management.

So big is the opportunity that corporate training firms like Aptech which has traditionally been an IT training firm are jumping on to the bandwagon and planning to add retail programmes. Aptech has joined hands with Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) to train 20,000 people in retail management in three years.

We might increase our target because of greater demand now. If large format stores come, then the front-end staff will need English speaking and soft skills. This is the first programme in retail management and the pilot is on in Mumbai, said Ninad Karpe, MD and CEO, Aptech.

As part of the pilot, the two parties have stationed mobile containers in the parking areas of malls in Mumbai where a batch of 15 students get training sessions from people working in those malls. There are various modules of 30-60 days duration wherein the students are taught the art of retail management, store keeping and inventory management.

Similarly, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, which already has a basket of diploma courses in retail management, is looking at tweaking the existing programmes.

The courses will now have to focus more on inventory management, global sourcing, price management and supply chain. We had anticipated a spurt in demand from students. However, the basics of retailing are the same and with FDI, the programmes would cater to the customized requirements, said Prof Uday Salunkhe, group director, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research.

Mumbai-based Institute for Excellence in Services and Planning (IESP) which counts aviation, hospitality, retail and healthcare as its focus areas, now is looking at adding MBA, BBA and diploma programmes in the next six months.

Our current programmes cater to the front-end staff but now we will add a short duration diploma course on change management for the current traders so that they relate to the big players. Advancements in technology and supply chain management is what the course will offer, said Gurpreet Khanna, director and CEO, IESP.

The batch size would not exceed 20 people, as per Khanna, because such training requires sensitizing the students through a personal touch and the programme would cost R50,000.

Interestingly, Aptechs pilot has two students from the kirana stores whose fee is being paid by the owners of their shops.

It is a matter of pride for them to learn soft skills and English as it adds to their skill set and offers better job opportunities, Karpe added.