Launched in early 2021, the academies offer basic and advanced level skill programmes across functions. These include certification courses such as CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional). The courses are offered based on skill and eligibility level free of cost. “This is our way of investing in the workforce for the future,” said Padda.
A year ago, the company charted out a blueprint for talent and 5G, outlining the gaps in the workforce, and the urgency with which these needed to be plugged. Padda and her team then looked at which gaps could be filled by upskilling existing employees, and where and how many new employees needed to be hired. The 5G rollout meant profiles such as radio access network and radio frequency engineers became prominent profiles, and the team set about filling these gaps.
The mix of employees – both upskilled existing employees, and new hires for 5G related profiles – is expected to increase 25% by the end of 2022-23, said Padda. She said although there is an overlap among the employees that telcos and tech companies are vying for, Bharti Airtel’s approach to recruitment and its strategy to invest in upskilling existing talent will hold it in good stead.”I think a war (for talent) is there, if you are not able to bring in more people into the talent service ecosystem,” said Padda.
She said the company is working towards bringing more women engineers into its fold, for instance, by providing them the flexibility of remote working and giving them the support required to do so “So, we help set up their work space at home, for example. We realise it is important to hire the right people for the job and retain them. This programme is a step towards that, and part of our diversity initiative,” said Padda.