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“India has a huge potential in the vocational education and training sector: Prakash Menon”

Shaped by NIIT’s mission of “Bringing people and computers together successfully”, its franchisee model today has over 380 education centres, spawning across over 40 countries.

By Reetika BoseFeature Writer

India is slowly moving towards becoming a skilled nation. However, there’s need and opportunity for more skill training institutions, skill universities and vocational training schools. There’s also a need for corporate to welcome skilled employees more openly.

NIIT pioneered franchising in IT education in 1986, by delivering high-quality, cutting-edge, standardised technology learning through a robust franchisee network.  In the past 34 years, NIIT has steered and led the training segment, and in the process played a crucial role in the success story of India’s IT industry.

“The distributed education model with integrated process management aspects make NIIT’s franchising model stand out uniquely”, Prakash Menon, President, Global Retail Business, NIIT Ltd. revealed in an interview with educationbiz.

What makes you different from your contenders?

The standardization of student learning experience through our curriculum, teaching methodology, staff member selection and training, infrastructure and certification is what makes us different from others. The distributed education model with integrated process management aspects make NIIT’s franchising model stand out uniquely.

The path-breaking franchisee-based business model of NIIT earned it the epithet of “The McDonalds of the IT training world” by none other than the Far Eastern Economic Review.

What attracted you towards Franchising?

Our mission being “Bringing people and computers together successfully” is what attracted us towards franchising. By innovative models & creating operational efficiencies, rigorous implementation of best practices, treating all own as well as partner centers in equal terms and imbibing the spirit of brand ownership. NIIT pioneered franchising in IT education in 1986, by delivering high-quality, cutting-edge, standardised technology learning through a robust franchisee network. 

In the past 36 years, NIIT has steered and led the training segment, and in the process played a crucial role in the success story of India’s IT industry. Our franchisee model today has a partnering relationship and not a Franchisee – Franchisor relationship for growth & success. We strongly believe that NIIT’s success is a derivative of the success of our Partners. Using this model, NIIT transformed aspiring young entrepreneurs into successful business men.

What is your business vision and how do you plan to achieve it in next five years?

NIIT pioneered franchising in IT education in 1986, by delivering high-quality, cutting-edge, standardised technology learning through a robust franchisee network.In the process, NIIT ignited the fire of entrepreneurship in the country, helping first-time-businessmen, especially in the smaller towns of the country, to create wealth through IT training.

Shaped by NIIT’s mission of “Bringing people and computers together successfully”, its franchisee model today has over 340 education centres, spawning across over 40 countries. This has greatly enhanced its visibility across the world and helped shape the media perception of the company as a leading Global Talent Development organisation.

We have charted out a focused growth strategy to achieve Business Transformation, across the three lines of business at NIIT, which include – Global Corporate Business (GCB), Global Retail Business (GRB) and MindChampion Learning Systems Limited (MLSL) with the technology enabled shared services platform forming the core. This began with the ‘Restructuring phase’ in October 2014, and was quickly followed by the ‘Re-energising phase’ that commenced in April 2015. Keeping up the momentum in parallel, NIIT initiated the ‘Renewal phase’ from July 2015 which will evolve over next 3 years.  Key focus points of the Renewal Phase include, launching cutting-edge initiatives like - StackRoute, DigiNxt and Training.com. As we move forward, the focus will now be very much on completing the Renewal Phase while we accelerate our growth significantly, through further re-energization.

We had ISO 9001 standards and are still following the processes & procedures to adhere to the quality standards set. We have a stringent Quality Management System with regular Quality Audits by trained auditors & a rigorous monitoring system. We continuously scan the national & international scenario for Channel Best Practices being followed in various industries & adopt them with due customization.

Being one of the key players in the skill space, how are you taking charge for Skill Development revolution?

In this age of Digital Transformation (DT), when organizations are 'going Digital' to survive and thrive, one significant challenge could upset the applecart. It is being said that paucity of people with Digital Transformation skills—India alone will require around one million newly trained Digital professionals by 2020--could severely impede the Digital revolution.

Taking into account this reality, NIIT is working to fashion the world's futuristic, future-ready Digital Transformation (DT) workforce. To this end NIIT providecutting-edge training to aspiring professionals to bridge skill gap and help them make strategic career moves.

What innovations have you introduced in the last one year?

NIIT has introduced several innovations this year. Notable amongst them are:

NIIT Inside Campus: NIIT has introduced its globally acclaimed proprietary NIC (NIIT Inside Campus) model in universities and colleges across India.  Through strategic tie-ups with premier institutions, NIIT will offer futuristic programs in MEAN Stack, Big Data & Data Sciences Stack, Design Thinking, Cloud Stack, Internet of Things (IOT) Stack, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Robotics and Virtual Reality and Cyber-Security.

NIIT launches ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Bangladesh: NIIT introduces future ready Digital Transformation Programs under the revolutionary digiNxt series aligned to the vision of Digital Bangladesh. To train youth in Big Data, Digital Marketing, Java Enterprises with DevOps, .Net Technologies, Mobile App Development and many more.

NIIT launches first-of-its kind specialized IT center in Hoa Sen, Vietnam: NIIT launches its first specialized IT center in Hoa Sen, Vietnam to create talent pool for Digitalization of Vietnam. The center delivers futuristic IT training programs to School pass outs, University students and working professionals under the LEAD (Learn, Enhance, Aspire, Deliver) methodology. NIIT delivers these programs through innovative blended learning process comprising both online and offline model which will give students flexibility of time & place.

Where the next opportunity lies in Skill Training segment and how are you planning to tap it?

The next opportunity lies in the digital transformation sector, with automation disrupting industries, jobs are at risk. In the years to come, around 50% of professionals will be irrelevant. The rapidly changing technology landscape and machines replacing manual labor, lower skilled jobs are assumed to be at risk.

A revolutionary initiative called StackRoute, to create multi-skilled and multi-disciplinary full-stack programmers with advanced expertise. These professionals can become key members of high-performance teams in top-notch product engineering companies, start-ups, and IT firms. The ‘Super Programmers’ will also be well equipped to create their own technology start-ups

That's not all! NIIT is reaching out to corporate and government institutions with a wide range of training and consulting solutions that support them in their Digital Transformation journeys.

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