HCL TalentCare, which is the newest business venture of HCL Corporation, aims to be a global talent-solutions company offering integrated products and services to meet the growing demand for quality talent. “Our focus is to create development solutions that offer a career launch pad for students and a ready pool of employable talent for enterprises in the IT, banking, insurance and healthcare sectors,” says Vijay Iyer, chief business officer, HCL Talentcare. The company currently has two campuses, one in Hyderabad and the other in Chennai, and both these centres can collectively train 6,000 students in a year. While at the Hyderabad campus the current focus is on IT, at the Chennai campus the focus is on BFSI, social media, cloud, etc. In an interaction with Vikram Chaudhary of the
Financial Express, Iyer adds that HCL Talentcare, among other things, promises students that if they complete their programme “successfully,” they can have an assured job. Excerpts:
What was the need to get into the skilling business?
We identified two sectors where there exists a large scalable opportunity in India and globally—one of these is healthcare and the other is people, skill and talent. Therefore the name TalentCare. There is a huge skill deficit globally in terms of jobs. We see this as a global play for the future; right now we are sticking to India. We think it is as big as IT was, 20 years ago.
As big as IT…
Consider this: An estimated 500 million people coming into the workforce over the next 20 years in India, and assuming each one of them spends $1,000 on an average skilling and training themselves for a job. The number is massive.
HCL TalentCare was launched around the same time Skill India was announced. Can the both have some synergies?
Skill India clearly looks at driving skill development initiatives across the country. We are looking to partner with various government initiatives. We are an NSDC partner and are also in talks with several state governments to see if we can align our work with their skill development initiatives. Right now, our numbers and scale of operations are small; for the next 2-3 years, we will focus on getting the business plan and go-to-market strategies right. Our goal is to skill 20,000 people in the next three years. Right now, our primary focus is IT and BFSI, and the next year it will be healthcare.
How do you assess skills and capabilities a person requires to be successful in a specific job role?
We have developed a composite measure called Jobability Quotient (JQ)—an index to measure how job-ready an individual is. On an average, an employer evaluates a job-seeker on 7-8 parameters. We have taken all those parameters and developed the JQ. It’s a test you can take to understand how job-ready you are, or what is the gap you need to cover. Essentially, JQ helps you measure and identify your areas of strength and the dimensions that need improvement by benchmarking them against relevant job requirements. JQ measures you on four dimensions—aptitude (how you use logical and verbal abilities to interpret data and communicate effectively in a work situation); altitude (how well can you understand and apply industry-relevant technical skills); attitude (do you have the soft skills to match the requirements of the job); and alignment (are you aligned and aware of today’s enterprise needs).
We are also attempting to reach out to about 1 lakh students this year, starting from engineering colleges—testing them, giving them a report, telling them how job-ready they are are, what can they do to improve themselves, and so on. Once we have a large enough database, it will give us a statistical model. Then we can go to industry and say, you are hiring people at so-and-so level, and there are people aspiring to come to that particular level, etc. In a way, we will be able to create an industry standard.
What kind of training takes place currently at your Hyderabad and Chennai campuses?
The Hyderabad campus is currently focused on the IT sector. There are three streams, application maintenance and development, software testing, and infrastructure management. Chennai is a bigger centre and the first batch has begun; there the focus will be on BFSI and some emerging areas such as social media, cloud, etc.
So will you make your students job-ready or will you assure them a job by connecting them to the industry?
We are serving two segments, job-seekers and enterprise. To job-seekers, we have made four promises. One, if you complete our programme successfully, you will have an assured job. Two, along with the job, the candidate will have all the capabilities and requirements to be successful in a particular job. Three, even after a student has passed the course, she can access our content through our portals or career counselling, and for 2-3 years she will be supported and guided. And the fourth is financial independence—we have tied with various financial institutions where students can avail loans during the course and repay when they start earning.
So you will connect students to financial institutions too…
Yes, we have partnered with banks and all those who get registered with us are eligible for a loan.
What is your fee structure like?
The current programme that we have is for six months—three months on campus and three months on-the-job training. The entire fee is Rs 1.5 lakh. Adding hostel and other fees, the total comes out to be close to Rs 1.8 lakh. We also ensure that the companies pay an amount that’s relevant to the investments that the students have made for the course.
Will you open more centres?
Our two campuses can host about 1,500 students each—considering that they stay on the campus for a quarter, we can easily train 6,000 students in a year. We would have to increase the capacity in the next three three years and are working towards it.
Who are the trainers, are they from the academic world or from the corporate world?
They are a mix of both. Our head of academics is the founder of a reputed college. Then we have people from industry, banking, IT, etc. Also, we are constantly bringing in industry practitioners for guest lectures. So, they are mix of all three—learning professionals, senior academicians and industry people.
In addition, we have partnered with various certification providers such as Microsoft and Oracle for IT courses, and Pearson for communication skills.
Can Shiv Nadar University help you with faculty?
We have realised that there are certain areas where we can complement each other. Shiv Nadar University has a degree of academic rigour, depth of research and discipline, while we bring industry understanding.
You are training thousands now, will your next goal be about training lakhs?
We would like to go faster. But, at this point in time, we are committed to a number and we will stay with that.