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Mumbai: Leading vehicle manufacturers, such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd, and their key vendors are recruiting skilled and semi-skilled diploma holders trained under government’s national employment enhancement mission or NEEM scheme and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to ensure there is enough manpower while ramping up operations, four senior industry executives told Mint.

Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt Ltd (SMG), a unit of Suzuki Motor Corporation, is hiring fresh recruits at its Hansalpur plants, while Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has asked its vendors to recruit additional staff to have enough manpower to ramp up production for the coming months, people aware of the matter said. The company though declined to comment on the matter citing a silent period.

Hyundai Motor, India’s largest exporter of cars and second largest domestic player, plans to hire 1,800 staffers, mainly polytechnic and ITI diploma holders, at its Chennai plant as it resumes the third shift as part of production ramp up.

Stephen Sudhakar J, senior vice president, People Strategy and Business Support, Hyundai Motor India said, “To fulfil the growing demand, we have recently resumed our third shift at the plant post-lockdown and we need a skilled and highly driven team backing our operations from our facility here in Sriperumbudur (near Chennai). In view of the same, we are currently in the process of recruiting manpower and will bring on board around 1,800 of them - in the apprentice and trainee cadres."

“This hiring will also fill up the gap created by those who were unable to return to or rejoin work due to the covid lockdown and travel ban situations prevailing in the state," he added.

According to Gaurav Vangaal, associate director, light vehicle production forecast, IHS Markit, the automotive ecosystem is facing several challenges in ramping up production, and manpower shortage is one of the biggest problems.

“There is a high demand for technical staffers, diploma holders and ITI candidates across the industry. The new recruits are being hired to fill in the vacuum of support staff for the permanent skilled workers on the production line. They get OTJ (on the job) training immediately after their induction and this process ensures continuous flow of work on the shopfloor without disrupting the output," said Vangaal.

Even large tier-one suppliers are adding new recruits to their overall headcount. Vivek Vikram Singh, managing director and group CEO, Sona Comstar said the company has recently hired about 140 diploma trainees and 20 ITI freshers at its Gurgaon and Manesar facilities for new vacancies as well as to replace the workers who went back to their hometowns.

“We are paying the freshers regular salaries. However, to incentivize our skilled and experienced workforce that has been with us for longer, we are paying extra retention bonuses, for regular attendance," Singh said.

While Sona Comstar was earlier providing a week-long classroom training along with OJT, the company is now putting the fresh recruits on direct training with operators and supervision by line engineers in order to fast track the process and fulfill urgent requirements of ramping up production volumes.

“The ITI candidates can be trained quickly in machining and assembly operations. However, they require extensive training to acquire skills for forging and heat treatment jobs," Singh added.

Similarly, Aurangabad-based Varroc Engineering Ltd, a key supplier to Bajaj Auto Ltd and several other OEMs, plans to recruit over 100 ITI candidates as it is scaling up production across its plants.

“The company plans to recruit more but ITIs are targeted for significant recruitment currently," said a senior company executive, requesting anonymity.

The fast production ramp up across leading two-wheeler manufacturers is resulting in an increasing demand for skilled, semi skilled and unskilled staffers, Sudeep Kumar Sen, business head – IME and GS, TeamLease Services Ltd said.

“This ramp up will see an incremental need of staff in all categories go up by 12 to 15%, purely from the demand perspective," he added.

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