Reliance Retail Ltd., is tying up with various institutes and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to train people in retail courses to overcome the shortages of trained staff needed for the company’s aggressive retail foray.
Reliance Retail is in “advanced stages” of talks with institutes including the government-run Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) and schools run by YMCA and Bharti Vidya Bhawan, according to a senior company official who wished not be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
The firm will require one million direct and indirect employees all over India by 2010 but there are hardly 40,000 to 50,000 people trained in modern retailing, the official said, adding, “Rather than fighting for the existing talent we are enlarging the talent pool.”
Ignou and YMCA will offer three-six month basic courses in retail and Reliance Retail will absorb the outputs of these programmes for frontline jobs.
Reliance Retail is also in talks with NGOs including Smile Foundation, Youth Reach India, and Dr Reddy’s Foundation for providing retail courses.
Vikas Mehra, director of YMCA-run Institute of Management Studies in New Delhi, confirmed that the organization has “agreements” with Reliance Retail to train staff but declined to give details.
Gurgaon-based retail consulting firm Technopak Advisors says that modern retailing in India will create at least 2.5 million direct jobs in the next five years because various Indian and foreign firms are investing billions of dollars.
Modern or organized retail in India is expected to grow into a $239 billion industry by 2015 from about $12 billion now and the industry is looking to source trained staff from a variety of educational institutes.
Several management institutes and newly-sprung specialist retail schools have started offering retail courses ranging from basic three-month training to two-year retail management programmes.
India’s largest listed retailer, Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd has entered into agreements with more than a dozen post-graduate institutes for two-year programmes in retail management.
The talent shortage has also forced retailers to look at innovatives solutions such as offering their goods to push-cart vendors, enlisting street vendors and training them, and signing up housewives.