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Jan, 03 2011

Vocational Vistas

Witnessing an exponential growth in the vocational training industry, Orion Edutech Pvt. Ltd, Asia’s largest BPO training provider, is on its way to boost presence nationally and internationally via the safest and finest business model, franchising.

IN India, there is a huge gap between skilled manpower required and that what is available. As per NASSCOM, 1.4 million skilled people are required by 2012 in BPO industry. This possibly results from the gap in academic education and industry demand. To fill this growing void, Orion Edutech Pvt. Ltd was established in year 2005 with the sole aim of empowering students through knowledge and to build a bridge between academic education and industry demand.

Beginning of success story

Orion Edutech is primarily into Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) training, the size of which is USD $280 million. In BPO training, Orion covers not only communication skills but also soft skills, technical support, financial process, medical transcription, transaction management, CRM, HRM, etc. The brand focuses on candidates from non-English medium background from tier II and tier III cities and provides 100 per cent job guarantee after completion of the courses. The company has a tie-up with Annamalai University to provide diploma to students in BPO courses and with BCI Inc to provide international certification. They also have a tie-up with the government under various schemes and more than 100 top MNCs like IBM, WIPRO, Hinduja, Reliance, TATA to provide placement to students.

Orion also specialises in training in IT infrastructure management services. They provide training for A+, N+, CCNA and courses on laptop repairing and trouble shooting. Plus, there is corporate training and customised services for clients, as per the requisite. They offer complete manpower solutions to their clients, from sourcing, training, train and hire model to payroll management, etc.

The duration of courses varies from three months to one year, with average fee ranging between Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000. Orion also offers courses in retail and corporate training.

It not only provides placement at its centres but also has a tie-up with more than 56 engineering colleges and B-schools, where it offers employability enhancement programmes. The brand has a technical association with Annamalai University and with other few colleges where they offer programmes in colleges like Loyola College in Chennai, Presidency College in Hyderabad, KIIT in Bhubaneswar and many more.

Franchising for fast expansion

Franchising in education and training industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Within the education sector, it is professional skills and vocational education that has taken the lead in franchising with a sizeable share of 33 per cent. When asked about strengthening the brand through franchising, Manish Agarwal, Founder, Orion Edutech Pvt. Ltd, says “Franchising helped us in fast expansion and association with young entrepreneurs. We have been franchising since 2007 and within three years, we have more than 175 centres in India and abroad. It was possible only because of franchising.”

Out of 175 centres of Orion Edutech, five are run by master franchisees, 148 by franchisees and 22 are company-owned. The brand's presence pan-India is majorly through franchise and it is further planning to follow its already successful business model.

Exponential growth in vocational training

As per a recent report, the major segments in vocational education and training business in India include IT education and training, manufacturing (various trade related to Industrial Training Institutes) and hospitality management. Based on the trends of employability in the industry, aviation management, retailing, BPO, healthcare deliveries and banking and financial sectors are the emerging segments.

Vocation training and education has huge scope in future. Vocational training is part of the government's “Inclusive Growth” agenda, under which the government has taken an initiative to develop skills of 500 million candidates by 2022. Witnessing this potential, Orion mulls aggressive expansion. It is planning to expand its already successful business model in tier II and III cities in India. The company wants to open 500+ centres by March 2013.

Orion Edutech strongly believes that the growth can be successfully achieved through partnerships and alliances. So to strengthen their brand's presence and to offer lucrative opportunities to its potential franchisees, the company is looking for entrepreneurs who believe in charting a successful and profitable future for themselves, as well as in making a positive difference to the lives of thousands of individuals. The potential franchisee does not need prior experience in the education industry or specific professional qualifications. All he needs is a strong desire to succeed, passion to do something of his own, strong hold in people management/HR skills, marketing skills. Orion also offers lucrative opportunities to already established brands from the similar background.

Global opportunities

Besides spreading pan-India, the company is planning to strengthen its global footprint too. Already having existence in Bhutan and Bangladesh, the company is on the verge of finalising its centres in Indonesia, Uganda and Kenya.

Sanjeev Kothari, Founder, Orion Edutech Pvt. Ltd, says, “We are also looking for franchising in Asia Pacific, African and South American countries, where English is not the first language. Besides India, skill development industry is booming in all emerging countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brazil, etc and we see a lot of opportunity in these countries.” Orion has already signed the MoU with the government of one of an African country to provide training to 5,000 candidates.

Prior to giving franchise to entrepreneurs internationally, the company prefers to have a franchisee who already has an expertise in the education industry, has well-built contacts with the government of that country and universities, is financially sound and has an understanding of the franchising business.

Training & support

Training and support is the backbone of franchising and hence, it tops the priority list of Orion too. BPO companies are spending 4 per cent of their revenue on training of their employees, but now they are looking for training partners. Orion has already tied up with big corporate and MNCs to provide them with deployable candidates, who can start working from day one. Orion is working with them in train and hire model and also provides training and staffing solutions to ITes and  retail companies.

Starting from recruitment and training of the entire franchisee team to regular training of the marketing team and faculty to induction and training of business partner and identification of location and set-up guidance, the company provides them all. The company also supports its franchisees in interiors of the centre. Orion also bears the expenses for providing advertisements in electronic media and newspaper.

Unlike other vocational training organisations, Orion provide 100 per cent placement guarantee to its students in India and internationally. Having a strong network of 15 placement offices across India, it provides placement in companies like IBM, WIPRO, HGSL, Tech Mahindra, Reliance, TATA, Sutherland, JP Morgan, Accenture, Convergys, etc. Orion is also working closely with the Labour Ministry , Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Rural Development, Urban Development, Ministry of Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe under various schemes for skill development of candidates.

To maintain quality standards on a par with all international franchise centres, the company supports its franchisees in recruiting the support team at their cost for at least six months for initial training and set-up in respective countries. Post launch, the support team pays a regular visit. It helps the franchisees in evaluation and certification and provides them the curriculum, course material in their language and online training. The company has a global tie-up with the international certification body and offers placement to its franchisees internationally. Orion has recently raised funding from VenturEast and plans to use these funds to expand its offering, boost its presence in domestic and overseas markets and enhance technology.

Opportunity for women

Women entrepreneurs have a strong presence in the education and training industry. Orion also favours and encourages women entrepreneurs to partner with them. As per Agarwal, “More than 20 centres are run by women franchisees. We offer a very good opportunity for women entrepreneurs because most of the women we met are interested in training and education industry. Also women franchisees are good leaders, as they have patience and are very good in administration.”

So, it would be suffice to say that Orion Edutech leads the pack in education franchise, as is evident from its business model and support to franchisees. Not only franchisees, the company offers opportunity galore for students too and will soon prepare a young force for a vocation of their choice.

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