NIIT, established in 1981 has become a house hold name for IT and computer education. Sharing the company’s success via franchising is Amitabh Lahiri, Chief Business Officer, Career Building Solutions (IT), NIIT Ltd.
Neha Gohil (NG): Share the conception, growth and success of NIIT.
Amitabh Lahiri (AL): NIIT is a leading Global Talent Development Corporation, building skilled manpower pool for global industry requirements. The company which was set up in 1981, to help the nascent IT industry overcome its human resource challenges, has today grown to be amongst world’s leading talent development companies offering learning solutions to individuals, enterprises and institutions across 40 countries. In the past 30 years, NIIT has steered and led the training segment, shaped it, mentored it and enabled it cross India’s borders into a global realm. NIIT has marked its major presence across Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and the US.
Today it is the largest IT training company in Asia and 16th largest in the world as per IDC, USA. In 2011, NIIT was rated the second most trusted education brand (behind only Kendriya Vidyalaya and ahead of the IITs and IIMs) by the Economic Times. NIIT was awarded the prestigious ‘Franchisor of the year’ award in 2011 for its pioneering franchise model in Education.
NG: What is the USP of NIIT? How it is different from other coaching/ training centres?
AL: NIIT provides the latest in cutting-edge technology to its students. NIIT has been working closely with global leaders in technology to provide training on state-of-the-art technology platforms. The alliances with some of the most eminent names in the industry like Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Zend, SAS Institute and many more to ensure that the students capitalise on the latest skills and technology trends, so that they are better able to meet the ever-increasing industry requirements.
NIIT’s strong research orientation enables it to constantly innovate in the areas of instructional design methodologies and curricula development. A unique ‘industry-endorsed curriculum’ crafted by NIIT enhances the job-readiness and employability of learners and equips them for the real world of work. At the same time, the company also addresses the skill requirements of IT professionals and engineers who wish to upgrade their skills on new and emerging technologies.
NG: When and why did you take up the franchise route for expansion?
AL: NIIT pioneered franchising in IT education in 1986, by delivering high-quality, cutting-edge, standardised technology learning through a robust franchisee network. To cater to the need of fastest growing IT industry in India, NIIT had to expand its network of education centres. The franchise route helped us in expanding faster in areas where reach and local experience were the challenges. NIIT has successfully built and implemented franchise models for different kinds of cities within India, and different countries, which are financially viable and create a win-win for both NIIT and its partners. With strong instructional Design capability and the knowledge of how humans learn, NIIT has built core competency in ‘Creating Learning Material’, ‘Education Process Management’ and ‘Management of a distributed delivery (Franchising) channel’
NG: Presently how many franchisees do you have?
AL: Shaped by NIIT’s mission of ‘Bringing people and computers together successfully’, its franchisee model today has around 1,000 education centres, spawning across over 40 countries. This has greatly enhanced its visibility across the world and has helped shape the media perception of the company as a leading Global Talent Development organisation.
NG: How much area and investment does a franchisee require?
AL: Investment varies from Rs 15 to 20 lakh and area required is 1,500 to 3,000 sq. ft.
NG: What can you say about the future in this field? Is this sector promising for
AL: According to a McKinsey-NASSCOM study, the IT/ITeS industry is projected to grow to USD 225 Billion by 2020, employing 10 million directly and 20 million people indirectly. With India poised to benefit the most from this scenario due to the demographic dividend of young, surplus manpower, the need for trained professionals is paramount. Moreover the employability of college graduates is low, with major gaps in soft skills and technical skills. An investment in IT/ITeS training therefore pays rich dividends, as the training industry is poised for a boom, thus being the right opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest in innovative business models.