Indian aerospace industry faces talent shortage: HAL chairman

Bangalore, Feb 22: Shortage of skill-based workforce was posing a challenge to the growth of the Indian aerospace industry in the absence of synergy between policy, industry and academia, HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi said Saturday.

“India needs better training and education infrastructure with a pragmatic policy-industry-academia ecosystem to tap the huge employment potential in the aerospace industry,” he said at the first aerospace round table conference here.

Delivering the keynote address on “Challenges and Opportunities for Talent Management in the Aerospace Industry” at the day-long conference, Tyagi said due to lack of vocational skills, the aspiring youth required extensive training to match the high standards of the industry.

“For instance, in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas project, we had build technologies from scratch and build an industrial base due to technology denial and shortage of vocationally skilled workforce,” he said.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is the sole manufacturer of the fourth generation fighter Tejas, designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The multi-role supersonic fighter secured initial operational clearance Dec 20 for induction into the Indian Air Force after three decades of design, development and extensive field trials.

Noting that a mere two percent of Indian population had vocational skills as against the ratio of 75 percent in Germany, 96 percent in Korea, 80 percent in Japan and 68 percent in Britain, Tyagi said coordination, direction and role definition were some of the human resource challenges HAL had faced during the LCA’s development.

“Though we had to involve multiple agencies to build a talent pool for the LCA project, absence of large trained workforce poses HR challenges to the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) project in terms of supply chain and technology,” Tyagi observed.

Outlining the challenges faced by his company in executing multiple projects, he said besides skill upgradation and cross training, specific education to maintain aerospace life-cycle at the entry level was imperative.

“Leadership development for mid-level management, succession planning across levels, attrition and retention are some of the HR challenges we face on the research and development (R&D) and offset fronts,” Tyagi pointed out.

In this context, he said global aerospace majors were citing capability and capacity within the Indian industry as impediments to meet offset commitments and seek international certificates for indigenous products and overseas marketing.

“Facilities for basic and specialised training have to be reviewed to develop infrastructure and improve curriculum for upgrading the skill base,” Tyagi noted.

Advocating specialised training on par with international standards and requirements, Tyagi lamented that the country was yet to have an aviation university as against six such varsities in other countries.

Vivek Lall, chief executive of New Venture, Reliance Industries’ aerospace subsidiary, and Parag Diwan, vice chancellor of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies also addressed the conference.

IANS