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Pharma industry needs vocational specific training in mfr & marketing: Sumit Kumar

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, July 21, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharma industry clearly requires vocational specific training in manufacture and marketing. In the absence of a current and relevant curriculum, companies are opting for apprenticeships or conducting in-house training to ensure that the new entrants get the training relevant to the company and the sector at large, said Sumit Kumar, vice president, National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program - NETAP), TeamLease Services .

Therefore hands-on jobs are imperative and short-term skills are a pragmatic route to create jobs on a scale. For the healthcare sector, vocational and specialized skill is still relevant. But for the pharma sector it is still lacking. This industry has multiple functions like manufacture, R&D, quality control and packaging which are back end operations. Then there is sales and marketing which is the front end. Now vocational skills are more relevant for manufacture. However, there is no prescribed curriculum for this. Getting the right talent for manufacture is a challenge. Currently the industry is seen to hire generic candidates, he added.

In manufacturing, pharmaceuticals is the second largest industry after automobiles. Vocational skilling and occupational options enable career advancements and migrations. Even in our National Employability Through Apprenticeship Programme (NETAP) where candidates are getting the relevant on-the-job training, pharmaceuticals is the largest sector, Kumar told Pharmabiz.

“We are assisting employability through apprenticeships for companies. So here people are trained as per the requirements of the industry. That is how TeamLease Skills University is ensuring candidates take up larger roles in their career, he added.

On the occasion of the World Skills Day observed annually on July 15, 2017, this year’s theme was ‘to raise awareness about the importance of youth developing skills’. TeamLease went on to signal skills, education and hands-on-jobs from the context of both the candidate and the company to make the youth employable.

“There is no specific vocational training for pharmaceuticals per se. But this industry has access to qualifications from candidates with no specific vocational training in the specialized areas,” said Kumar.

Therefore the way forward is in-house training to bring in candidates to industry standards. The pharma companies need incubators to mould the candidate make sure that qualifications like post graduation in organic chemistry among other related sciences to build capability. This sector needs to leverage on apprenticeships to up-skill candidates to be job relevant, he said.

Pharma manufacture is also seen to be region specific and hence States with large drug manufacturing companies need to attract qualified local candidates and offer the relevant pay scales. “We have seen that companies are not able to meet expectations of candidates. The only way to sustain and retain the workforce is through an attractive salary package to stall attrition in the sector. This along with vocational skilling is emerging as a better education option yielding more promising returns”, said Kumar.


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