Life

Empowering the North East

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Entrusted with a mandate to skill two million candidates by 2022 in 11 sectors, Orion Edutech that has trained more than 14000 candidates in hospitality and tourism, has a strong focus on developing employable skills among the youth in the North Eastern states who are much in demand by the hospitality sector across India By Sudipta Dev

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Manish Agarwal

Leading skill development company Orion Edutech has been training thousands of young people across the country for the last eight years to acquire employable skills. Incorporated in 2007, the company was started with minimum investment in a small training centre. “Over a period of time we have extended across 19 states, having skilled 1.5 lakh candidates in the last eight years. We are a National Skill Development Corporation partner company and work very closely with state and central government ministries in skill development projects,” says Manish Agarwal, founder and CEO, Orion Edutech.

The company has signed a mandate to skill two million candidates by 2022 across majorly 11 sectors. “Hospitality, travel and tourism is one of the largest sectors for which we train,” adds Agarwal. The big reason for this is the company’s strong presence in the North Eastern states. It has a strong presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland and Sikkim. “The manpower in these states are very good for the hospitality sector. In North East itself we have trained 7000 candidates in the last seven years for tourism and hospitality. Around 35 per cent of the candidates were for tourism and the rest for hospitality,” affirms Agarwal. The training in hospitality includes front office, housekeeping, guest relations, food production, F&B services, etc. The courses vary from two months to a year. The minimum qualification is 10th pass, however, for housekeeping and front office 10th drop outs are also inducted. Though there is a student pay model, about 70 per cent of the courses are subsidised under various schemes. “The different state governments e.g. Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Manipur all pay us, along with many central government schemes,” mentions Agarwal.

Across India the company has so far trained 14,000 candidates for hospitality and travel. “There are two ways of imparting training – the training centres in different NE locations; also training centres in Guwahati, Kolkata with residential facilities where students mobilised from distant Nagaland and Arunachal and are trained,” informs Agarwal.

Placement focus

These candidates are placed with partner hotels and travel companies in Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, and other cities. “We have an industry partner called Leonia Resort in Hyderabad. We have also partnered with major hotels like Swissotel, The Park Group, JW Marriott where our students are working,” states Agarwal, adding that, the company has a placement office in Dubai for hospitality students. These students are trained in India and given international placements in the Middle East.

Agarwal mentions that in the hospitality sector more than 90 per cent candidates get jobs. Acknowledging that there is a huge demand for North East candidates across hotels in India, he says, “The reasons why these candidates join the hospitality industry is the growth opportunities, accommodation facility and food. If a candidate from the North East enters the IT sector, he has to take care of his own lodging, which a hotel company provides if he was working for it. Also, hotels provide a secure environment for female candidates. It is easier for them to adjust in this sector.”

“Our major focus has always been placements, so they do on-the-job training and post the completion of the course they get placement,” states Agarwal, adding that he has big plans for the hospitality and travel sector. “Six million people are required by the industry. Out of two million candidates as many as 35 to 40 per cent of the people we are going to train will be from the hospitality sector,” he adds.

The company also promotes self employment, for instance women candidates who have done food production have started their own bakery. “We also try to encourage married women to start food home delivery system so that they can earn without having to leave their home,” remarks Agarwal.

There is also a train the trainer programme. About 10 to 15 per cent of the students are trained further and inducted as trainers within the company. There are 700 people directly employed by Orion Edutech, apart from those working with franchisees.

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