Interview: Shekhar Bhide, Vice-President, Customer Services & Corporate Affairs, Mercedes-Benz India. Since 2006—long before Skill India became mainstream—Mercedes-Benz India has been running a course in mechatronics (engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems) at select engineering colleges. Called the Advanced Diploma in Automotive Mechatronics (ADAM), it was designed by the Mercedes-Benz Global Training Centre and the German government. “Only 20 students are eligible to take the course every year,” says Shekhar Bhide, vice-president, Customer Services & Corporate Affairs, Mercedes-Benz India. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that, over the years, 650 students have completed the course and all these have been absorbed by the industry.
How will Covid-19 impact delivery of skills?
Physical proximity is being redefined due to Covid-19, but skill development cannot be stopped. We have the GT app (Global Training app) which we can deploy for training. We cannot let any interruption in the training of students and technicians. We also constantly update the syllabus as per technological developments and market requirements. Keeping in mind the current scenario, required updates will be made to course-delivery, and we will ensure students don’t face any problems while taking this course.
How is the ADAM different from other such courses available in India? What are the eligibility criteria?
The ADAM is one of the early initiatives in the area of automotive skill development. It’s a one-year course, focuses on self-learning methodology, and helps students upskill themselves with the latest tech advancements. This course has evolved over the years, and there is a lot of practical exposure for students. It is being run at multiple engineering colleges, and Mercedes-Benz India provides the course content, assemblies and subassemblies, and even cars so that students are well-trained in both theory and practical. Essentially, it provides a hands-on experience to students, making them industry-ready. The idea, since the very beginning, has been to make the educated youth employable.
All students who have passed their diploma/degree courses are eligible to apply for the ADAM entrance examination. But they must be from these areas:
Electrical engineering (all branches);
Electronics engineering (all branches);
Production engineering, automobile engineering and industrial engineering.
Is there also a focus on soft skills?
Soft skills are considered an important trait for a successful career, and so last year a soft skills module was added to the syllabus. Overall, in one year, apart from soft skills students undergo practical training at retail workshops for four weeks, visit Mercedes-Benz India HQ for brand knowledge, and attend training sessions by Mercedes-Benz trainers.
What are the job opportunities after successfully completing this course?
I must emphasise that those who pass-out are industry-ready, and so they are easily absorbed into various automobile dealerships and OEMs. At Mercedes-Benz India, we have placed many students within our dealer network. Students, in fact, can find jobs in any mechatronics industry.
What is the student profile like? Do you see female students showing interest?
Until 2-3 years ago everyone assumed it’s a male-dominated area. In 2018, we tied-up with the MKSSS’s Cummins College of Engineering for Women, Pune, as we wanted to break the stereotype associated with women in this sector. There is no relaxation provided to woman candidates because we believe women candidates are at par; in fact, we have observed women candidates performing better than men in this area.
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