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The Muse

August 01, 2005

Outsourcing Training - 1

Lately, I've been noticing a rapid build up in the news about training, specifically Corporate Training, and how it is has been clearly and squarely marked as the next thing to be outsourced. That interests me a lot.

See, how much money do you think we are talking about here? In the US, Corporate Training alone accounts for 65 billion dollars annually. Ho ho, $65 BILLION! The thing that piques my interest is that unlike the case of Engineering and IT services, India is not abundant in this kind of talent...and it will be intriguing to see how we cope with the demand.

Traditionally, Training is not something that is thought of as a Career option in India.Indeed, people familiar with terms like Instructional Design, Educational Technology, Learning Theory or Cognitive Load are a definite minority when compared to those who throng the Engineering and Science colleges.

To test the waters, I looked at some job requirements for Training Professionals in India. A common theme is that due to a lack of college degrees in training related fields, companies are focusing on recruiting people who have some form of certification in Instructional Design, Learning Theories etc. I think good ol' NIIT offers something in this regard.

A lot of companies who are already in the BPO arena have already outsourced their own training to their own offshore ventures. They are now ready to handle the training needs of others. A case in point is IBM Corp. After shutting down their computer business, IBM is now fully and totally into Business Consulting. Their interest in the Corporate Training area is clearly visible in their acquisition of Daksh eServices last year.

Also, Corporate Training in India is recognized in certain specific forms. Initially, when one thinks of Training, the first thing that comes to mind is the tiring month or two month stint that one has to go through as an entry level Software Engineer in any of the million companies. I know that in my first job, fresh out of college as an undergrad, I had to go through two months of software training. While those times were great [all pay and no work],and the food was ok, the learning was definitely poor. I don't think any of us took anything worthwhile from the whole experience. And it was pretty expensive for the Company too.

Another form of "Training" is training in a particular tool or standard. Engineers dealing with certain portions of a project are frequently called upon to get "trained" in some new form of software or compliance initiative etc.

A third form of Corporate Training would deal with issues in the workplace - intangibles like Leadership, Team building etc.

The outsourced training related work that India gets is not likely to fall into such distinct categories. Anytime any company policy gets updated, there is a training need and work to be done. We need to develop skills and knowledge to design and develop different kinds of learning solutions. And the great thing about this is that the industry servicing the demand is not just IT. Every company needs training, and therefore the potential is huge.

A point to note is that till date, almost all types of training solutions in India have been Instructor Led or ILT. The West is more oriented towards eLearning and Blended Learning, as it is cheaper compared to hiring instructors and having trainees all centralize at a location to learn.

India is definitely starting to adapt to this demand. I've seen numerous companies that are starting to separate themselves and advertise their expertise in Corporate Training. Companies like Aptech have started acting as vendors for Training Development. But designing Training is not an easy job. It is a science, and there are certain specific skills that one needs. In fact, Instructional Design is a multidisciplinary field that brings together a lot of diverse skill sets. So, we need to be careful in the quality of the output. Some interesting points regarding this are made here.

I'm excited at the opportunities out there eager to see how India addresses this issue. The beautiful thing is that this field fits on top of any existing skill set you might have, while allowing you to learn something new all the time. And for people who are thinking that the only way to go is Engineering and Medicine - think again!


  • I liked your information in this post. Too bad it doesn't have more on leadership training in Las Vegas. I was looking for leadership training in Las Vegas in my area. Enjoyed reading what you have. I'll check back later when I get some spare time next week. Thanks Ram.

    By Anonymous project management consultant, at 11:31 AM  

  • Yo! Like your posts and trail of thoughts man....You know, I was a finalcial assistant and was asked to get involved with training as my ex company had this huge demand and everytime we needed a trainer we got it from another country....I didn't stick on with that job and thus did miss the opportunity....But I love that field...it's very fertile right now...:)

    By Blogger SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP, at 9:45 AM  

  • Definitely. And with globalization and offshoring starting to flex their muscles, the need for efficient training is critical. Interestingly enough, the key issue will be culture. Do people in India learn the same way as people in the US? Can we use the same training processes? Hmmm...

    By Blogger Ram, at 10:03 PM  

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