Our revered Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi has emphasized skill development since the day he took the oath in order to make the nation’s youth employable. It is true that one of the major causes of unemployment worldwide is the lack of skill. It might be a surprising thing for many to know that a huge vacancy and a huge unemployment are co-existing at present. There is a deep trench between them which can only be crossed by the bridge of skill. Many companies are not getting skilled employees for certain jobs and many are not getting jobs due to the lack of skills. So how to remove this gap? By providing skill training. For the companies, providing such training is a difficult task. As it requires a lot of infrastructural investment plus it distracts them from their core businesses.
Understanding this, the government has introduced many skill development programs. One such program is PMKVY which stands for Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna. Many private organizations have joined hands with the government to make India the skill capital of the world. One such organization which we had the pleasure to know closely is Meritude Skill Development Pvt Ltd.
Meritude Skill Development Pvt Ltd is an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization which provides specialized vocational training. It was incorporated in the year 2015 and since inception, it has been working by leaps and bounds in the field of skill development. The organization is not only focusing on skill training of their candidates but also on their overall development. The vision is to get their candidates into the mainstream by making them employable. Meritude has formed a collaboration with the government department, corporate organizations, professionals and skill trainers. In this way, it provides relevant training to their candidates which one needs when enters in a job.
To make their candidates world-ready, they prepare them through top-class training facilities. Apart from classroom training, the candidates have access to the internet, library and an environment where open discussion is highly promoted for better understanding. Their performances are regularly assessed to support improvement and on the completion of the training, they are provided with certificates.
About the founder and CEO
Mr. Fayaz Ahmed Tonse is the founder and CEO of Meritude Skill Development Pvt Ltd. He is a young energetic entrepreneur who has personally felt that skill development should be given the utmost priority in India. Therefore, he added his own innovation to this noble program of the government.
We had the opportunity of interviewing Mr. Fayaz personally. Here are his valuable words that can inspire the future.
1. First of all, kindly enlighten us some more about Meritude.
Meritude Skill Development Pvt. Ltd, is a global outlook organization leveraging skill development training solutions to a wide array of clients, helping them reap maximum benefits from the advanced use of skills and knowledge. Since inception in 2015, Meritude has been consistently delivering vocational training to a broad spectrum of business domains including young people, corporate, Government departments and academic institutions and hence successfully managed to become an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization.
Without restricting itself to government based skill development and vocational training, Meritude ventures into fellowship programs for youth, recruitment process outsourcing, facility management, entrepreneurial support for the budding entrepreneurs and a prospering environmental business solution named Ready2Plant.
Vision: To confirm our standing within the industry as an international standard organization with the primary objective to aid the next generation and youth of our nation to succeed in their career voyage! We aim to produce employment with our vocational and professional training modules and to enrich the service quality and product delivery with industry relevant training solutions and to generate sustainable competitiveness in professionals of different service sector industries. We are highly dedicated to serving society by empowering and stimulating the youth of today and aid them to outshine in their respective career paths.
To become the center of excellence where world-class industry relevant training in the domains of Information Technology, Financial Planning, Banking, Accounting, Retail, Hospitality, and Personality Development are provided in adherence to the highest degree of quality, ethos, and values and by developing a well-defined interconnect among these areas.
To provide job-oriented training programs that not only ensures employment to trainees, even empower them and help them to excel in their career growth. In a short span of time Meritude has gained the highest reputation and recognition and appreciated for delivering quality training programs with, thus managed to reach the zenith of the industry.
Mission: Meritude Skill Development Private Limited is on its quest to provide 100% job guaranteed training programs and to empower the youth and working professionals in their career growth. Built on partnership and trust, Meritude takes the pride for being a highly praised and trusted organization and for becoming a reliable partner of its clients by delivering a loyal business partner and skilled professionals with specialization. Meritude ensures to address the needs and requirements of its clients with the highest credibility and efficiency. With an objective to achieve highest customer satisfaction, Meritude assures its clients to rest assured and rely on the operations offered and the group will be always there for their help.
To become the international standard organization with consistent growth and enrichment and achieve highest customer satisfaction by delivering premium class skill training solutions in adherence to the latest market trends to eliminate the gap between employer’s requirements and skilled manpower.
A look at the facilities
· State-of-the-art training facilities at every training unit
· With over 15 high-end vocational training centres across Karnataka, Kerala, AP and Telangana
· Experienced training faculty with domain expertise
· Industry relevant mentors
· Robust training curriculum and modern-day learning and development methodology
· Centralised placement cell at the corporate office at Hubli for meaningful placement of the key stakeholders
· Adherence to the latest market trends to eliminate any gap between employer’s requirements and skilled manpower.
· Adept use of technology
2. What inspired you to go for this area of business?
The shrinking skill space in the country. The painful fact that a large chunk of graduates (somewhere between 75-97%) are unemployable, despite having university degrees in hand and the reason being a large gap between the aspirations and aptitude. This was worrisome and I sensed a lucrative business opportunity along with a social contribution. This inspired me to set up Meritude Skills. After all, entrepreneurship is all about addressing an existing issue.
3. What are all the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
The biggest challenge is to find people with similar pain points. Cash flow management, hiring apt employees, managing time and prioritizing things, delegating tasks, making those vital decisions, lack of brand image, self-criticism, family pressures are some of the many challenges that any entrepreneur faces on his/her expedition to success. And the only way one can overcome this is by constant self-belief, investing in your skills, calculated risk-taking and believing in partnership modus operandi. I’ve been fortunate to have partnered with passionate people who had similar pain points and similar madness.
4. Kindly share with us the achievements of your company in the skill-development industry so far?
Just three year old and we’ve trained a colossal 32,000 people across multiple states in India. ISDS project has had 100% placement and 45-50 companies hire from our trained workforce across all domains. We’ve gone from a team of two to 40 employees and 100+ partners. At CSR front too, we’ve partnered with the biggies such as Reliance formats. We’ve been able to become one of the non-funded training partners of NSDC and continue to excel in PMKVY training across the verticals of Retail, Gems, and Jewellery, etc. At Karnataka, we’ve done Kaushalya Karnataka project along with our partners. We’ve been associated with NIESBUD and have successfully executed a training program for trainers in Bangalore. Under Ministry of Textiles, we are the proud recipient of Samarth training program for the job role of Sewing Machine Operators for 700 women.
5. What are all your future plans for Meritude?
I would continue to do the existing programs that we do under the NSDC and pitch to get into other training programs such as the DDUGKVY. I also wish to add on 30% revenue growth from paid models wherein we envisage starting higher end training programs, graduate finishing schools, home science and entrepreneurship, Health, Safety and Environment programs that will add value. We’ve also initiated an environment-friendly business called Ready2Plant which is our way of caring for nature and reduce global warming.
I also envision company owned and company operated centers across Karnataka and high need states. The paid module needs to be introduced and high-end training programs such as Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, etc. must be made available for techie students. I envisage partnering with CSRs for skill building in all domain and introduce path-breaking initiatives for the huge non-technical colleges we have.
6. In the crowd of different skill development start-ups, how you differentiate Meritude?
We are open to ideas and do not restrict ourselves to age-old criteria set by the biggest of players in the field. Our partner focus is perhaps the most outstanding right now and we have great mentors to guide us at every step of our endeavor towards seeing a skilled and employed India. Quality has always been our emphasis to which we have enough guiding resources. A team of dedicated professionals having distinct experience in technical, management & functional domain in the business. Our long association with industry leaders, the ever-changing trends in skills and employability vertical of the country enables us to keep in pace and deliver the best. The entire business process has been chalked out, by combining the strengths of proven and potential technologies and experience of leading professionals of the industry and consulting services. Utilization of resources is pledged to a systematic and properly channeled business activity to ensure long-term business development. The team comprises of a gamut of skill set personnel viz. Project Managers / Leaders, Functional Application Consultants, System Integration Consultants, System Analysts, and Designers, Marketing Experts along with a host of support personnel.
7. Do you feel you have achieved what you dreamt of?
To a large extent, yes but they say that an entrepreneur should never be satisfied and should look for newer avenues and newer opportunities. Since I believe in the power of networking, I think I have to liaison with more people and ensure that win-win situation arises at every juncture and the revenue of the company is multiplied collectively, through all the ventures Meritude gets into. But the biggest success is to see our trained candidates hitting the job market with vigor. No money can replace that feeling.
8. What are your views on the current status of skill development programs in India?
A lot of good things have happened but frankly speaking, they are inadequate considering the people that hit the job market every single day. Our education system is so monotonous and lackluster that it hasn’t allowed the potential workforce to think beyond textbooks, notes, and lectures. We haven’t cultivated the idea of investing in our skill-sets and that’s where the problem lies. The intents are undoubtedly great but we lack in actions.
9. What are all the improvements you suggest in the area of skill development?
Let’s make employment-based skill training mandatory in all government, semi-government and private colleges. I think a dedicated funding from the Govt. of India for skilling the youth would be a great advantage. There’s a lot to learn from the Arvind Kejriwal government of Delhi. The way those people have managed to transform the education scenario. The same enthusiasm can be applied to skilling as well.
10. Any piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs?
I would just say that you need to test your concept by doing full proof research and validating your ideas at every point. Mere thinking is not enough, you need to act. If you’re in two minds, don’t do it. Period. Always believe in the wheel of modern education- self-learn, find your tribe (people like you) and learn deep. This is something that will help you profoundly.