New Delhi: The Shiv Nadar-led HCL Group entered the skill and talent development market with the launch of HCL TalentCare on Thursday. The new company will work with the government’s National Skill Development Corp. The group did not disclose the size of its investment in the venture.

The formal launch came after a year-long pilot programme at the company’s Manesar campus with 600 engineering graduates, who were trained in the areas of application services, infrastructure management and software testing.

HCL TalentCare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the $6.5 billion HCL Corp., the parent company of India’s fourth-largest software firm HCL Technology Ltd, aims to address entry-level employability needs by creating a ready pool of professionals for enterprises in the information technology (IT), BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) and healthcare sectors.

“The company plans to enrol, train and provide career opportunities to more than 20,000 graduates over the next three years across campuses in Manesar, Hyderabad and Chennai," said Premkumar S., chief mentor, HCL TalentCare. A fourth campus is to be set up by the end of the year.

A year ago, HCL Corp. entered the healthcare business with HCL Healthcare. “The move is in line with the strategic focus of HCL Corp to be present in the areas of economic growth," said Roshni Nadar Malhotra, executive director and chief executive officer (CEO), HCL Corp. “After spending four decades in technology, we diversified into healthcare last year. Today, it is talent creation." The launch is in line with the government’s mission to skill and upskill about 500 million people by 2022.

The fees for the short-duration entry-level programme, which will offer technical, non-technical, social and other soft skills, start at 1.5 lakh, excluding taxes, boarding and lodging. The company arranges financial assistance (up to 80% of fees) through banks and financial institutions. The minimum eligibility norms are a BE, B.Tech or MCA degree and an age cutoff of 25. The curriculum will be designed as per the needs of the enterprises, providing 90% generic and 10% customised inputs. The programmes run by HCL TalentCare assure a job, in addition to online support for three years.

HCL TalentCare is in the process of forging partnerships with large enterprises to assess the number of people and the skill sets required. “We are in process of partnering with top companies in the IT, banking and insurance sectors," said Premkumar.

Making a strong case for skill development, Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman of HCL, said: “Today, more than half of India’s population is under the age of 25, with 65% under 35. About 12 million individuals are expected to join the workforce every year. While India’s young population is its greatest asset, many young Indians are not equipped with the skills required for effective employment."

“I believe that this is the right moment to step in to address the skill-gap challenge facing the nation today. This will help us realise our demographic dividend and create talent Made in India," he added

According to industry estimates, four out of five university graduates are not job-ready as they lack required skills. Companies have to train entry-level employees for about 12 months, and it takes about 18 months before they can be productive.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and chief executive officer, Greyhound Research, a research and advisory firm, said: “The launch of HCL TalentCare is a strategic move to cater not just to its healthcare division but also to HCL Corp. Role-ready professionals will stand a better chance of performing in their respective jobs."

Close