“We are working on rollout of 5G specific courses”: TSSC


Spotlight on Skilling in Telecoms | Disruptive Telecoms

Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) is largely seen as a torchbearer committed to enabling skilled manpower for India’s telecom industry. Growing along with the industry and catering to their manpower needs in a timely fashion, TSSC is focusing its effort towards rolling out 5G specific courses.

Arvind Bali – CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about TSSC’s focus on providing adequate manpower for India’s telecom sector. 

India’s telecom sector always looks forward to having skilled workforce when it comes to delivering services not only in big cities but small locations. How is TSSC helping the sector in this direction?

TSSC is committed to providing adequate manpower for the telecom industry through its robust mechanism of subject matter expertise and thought leadership in the telecom sector. Our operations cater to all touchpoints in the telecom sector. We have 600+ training partners with 1000+ training centres across all 36 states and UTs across the nation. This gives us the ability to mobilise candidates quickly and effectively.

Additionally, we have 350+ industry partners which gives us a deep understanding of the job market. Through our network of industry and training partners, we analyse the urban and rural density of manpower, current and future industry requirements in those areas and fill out the gaps wherever required. We anticipate the current and future requirements with high precision and develop courses and teaching methodologies to cater to the requirements at hand.

Telecom is one segment where there is advancement happen at a very rapid pace. How do you ensure that workforce is skilled rightly and in a timely fashion?

At TSSC, we routinely survey our partners for in-depth on ground information. We reach out to interested candidates and track the supply and demand across the nation.  This lets us rapidly mobilise candidates. Additionally, through constant contact with the telecom industry, we understand the prevalent skill-gap. This helps us promote courses relevant to the region and bridge the existing skill gap. Our PAN India presence helps us mobilise candidates quickly while ensuring the quality of manpower.

While we are looking at 5G rollout today, there is a lot of research and development happening around 6G standards. How do you plan to equip workforce with 5G/6G capabilities?

We are already working on rollout of 5G specific courses. As thought leaders in the telecom skill development ecosystem, we maintain an overview of all emergent technologies and create courses to tackle the future skill demand. We are also working on other technologies like drone technology and IoT.

A lot of operators go for having their own research Labs in order to develop innovative solutions that are future ready. How do you look at partnering with telecoms to place future ready workforce there?

The NAPS program is designed to promote apprenticeship among candidates. This helps them learn on the job through experience. We also collaborate with academia to create Centres of Excellence where candidates get exposure to high-end technology and skill training. We also partner with leading companies like on CSR projects further increasing our scope of work.

What are the global trends in telecoms skill development that India can follow and possibly take lead in. What is the role of TSSC here?

Technology is being increasingly used to better the skill development process and eliminating operational bottlenecks, reduce costs and increase scalability. Concepts like e-learning have expanded the reach of knowledge by utilising the internet to achieve better last-mile connectivity. Courses are being gamified to improve intuitive understanding and knowledge retention. Other technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality are being used simulate learning environments and drastically reduce the capital expenditure for training. TSSC is launching its own LMS and e-learning platform to enhance accessibility of ICT related skill training to both institutes and individuals. We are also working to incorporate AR & VR into our courses designed for digital access.

What’s the size of India’s telecom workforce today and what kind of growth do you foresee here?

Currently India has a total of 4.2 million strong workforce in telecom (2.4 million direct and 1.8 million in-direct). While the COVID pandemic was estimated to cut down the total workforce by almost 70,000, the sector was instrumental in tackling the pandemic by enabling 30-35% of the GDP through its infrastructure and services.

The government has launched various schemes and plans designed to expand the telecom industry. The DoT is targeting around 3 million kms of optic fibre by December 2022 and about 5 million kms of fibre by December 2024. PLI schemes under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, increasing internet revenues, the BharatNet project and the Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) are all major government initiatives that will increase the need for skilled manpower in the telecom industry. An estimate 4.7 million total workforce will be required by as early as 2022.

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