Filling the Gap: Operator Training for Todays Sophisticated Heavy Machines
One Trillion USD is the amount of investment required in the Indian Infrastructure sector, while the yearly sale of heavy machinery is expected to go up to 96,730 in FY18. Sales of construction equipment is expected to grow at a CAGR 6.18 percent. Increased mining activity is expected to push the sales of mining machinery too. Add to that the various flagship projects like the smart cities, the expansion of the national highways, construction of transport corridor connecting all the 4 metropolitan cities in the country, development of new airports and harbour ports and you will get a good idea about sharp hike in the demand for heavy machinery and its operators.
Now that we have established that heavy machinery operators are high in demand, we need to address the fact that there arent enough heavy machinery operators in the market to meet the increasing demand. Additionally, the number of adequately skilled and certified operators is even lower. For most part, the heavy machinery operators are novices trained by people in their network without much formal training. For most part, the sector involving heavy machinery operators is unorganised adding to the demand supply gap for good talent.
When it comes to India, the technology of the heavy machinery is developing at a rate like never before. The machinery is becoming increasingly sophisticated with the integration of software technology in most functions of the machines. The importance of machine to machine communication is gaining prominence with every passing day. It is no longer sufficient to understand only the mechanics of the heavy machines any more, one has to understand the latest tech integrated in the machines to make the most of it.
The ground reality however is quite a different picture. While the buyers are becoming educated and demanding, the operators are yet to catch up with the technology of these machines. Despite having technology to make their work easy at their finger tips, they still do things the old way simply because there aren’t familiar with the new technology.
Heavy Machinery operators usually require training before they can apply for their license. The training schools, especially government backed ones have outdated syllabus as is the case with their machines. The skills and training that the students gather from such exposure is inadequate to meet standards of work and efficiency that the industry demands. Over time, the big shots in the construction equipment industry have realised this widening gap and have taken it up on themselves to bridge this gap by coming up with their own training centres.
The OEM’s have come up with various training and certification courses that are held in various parts of the country to train and develop skilled operators. The graduates from these institutes are better equipped to make the most of the sophisticated technology that the OEM’s are coming up with. These graduates are better equipped to understand the fact that technology of the machines will keep getting upgraded and that they will also have to keep updating their skills if they want to remain relevant in the industry.
The lack of a nationally standardised syllabus and certification system has added to already wide gap between the demand and supply. Keeping the sorry state of these training institutes in mind, the private players like Mahindra & Mahindra in addition to a few others have come up with their own training institutes to increase the standard of skilled labour in this department. The curriculum is usually updated on a regular basis to stay relevant and practical training is usually intensive and on the OEM’s machines. Intensive hands on experience is a stringent requisite in the industry and the various private OEM operated institutes cater to this particular requirement. Mahindra for one has 5 such training institutes coming up in various parts of the country.
If we are to attempt at bridging this massive gap between the demand and supply of heavy machinery operators skilled at using the continuously evolving technology, a massive scale joint effort by the government and private players is required. A joint venture will combine the expertise of the private players and the reach of the government bodies to create a new evolved class of highly skilled heavy machinery operators to meet the demands of the industry. Today is the time to start these efforts, waiting any further will ensure a larger gap that will become even more difficult to fill.