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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury, CEO at Sasidharan Pillai Foundation Welfare Trust

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury: Entrepreneurship idea was a long cherished dream for me. But being born in a middle class family and as most of my family members were in Government service, so I have to go for service. But when I got an invitation from Mr.Prakash Sasidharan, chairman of Orien Pest Solutions Pvt Ltd to join a business venture ,I didn’t wait to accept it and thus “ Sasidharan Pillai Foundation Welfare Trust “ was born.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Sasidharan Pillai Foundation Welfare Trust

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury: Due to my long experience ( More than 24 years) in vocational Education vertical, mainly in skill training vertical , we have opened five divisions in our organization which are related to Education.

These4 five divisions are

A) SPF CSR Execution(Corporate Social Responsibility Partnership)

B) SPF Eduventure ( for Higher Education)

C) SPF Skills ( For Government Sponsored various Placement Linked Skill Training programs)

D) SPF Corporate Alliance ( for Corporate Training Program for Up skilling / Knowledge enhancement )

E) SPF Vocational Training ( For Vocational Education & ICT Based Training Services ).

Great Companies: What makes Sasidharan Pillai Foundation Welfare Trust from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury:

As the pandemic has also created an opportunity for CSR and private foundations, for industry (through apprenticeship programmes), and for employers to play a bigger role in creating a skilled workforce for the country, We have decided to work more on Skilling programs supported by CSR fund of different organizations. we were able to quickly transition to and manage all key processes of our ‘core employability skills’ training programme online. We changed our outreach strategy while on-boarding students for virtual classes by clearly explaining to them how a virtual class will be delivered, through videos. We also encouraged students and their parents to arrange for smart phones at least on a temporary basis. Investing in a ToT course was very helpful. We trained our trainers to deliver virtual training effectively; we developed short videos on core modules in vernacular languages; we delivered training virtually through Zoom in the first half of the day, and utilised the second half to keep students engaged through Whats App. We also used our learning management system to administer assessments and share videos of core modules that students used for self-learning. Additionally, we held online meetings with parents and conducted extra sessions every Monday, which also contributed to achieving good learning outcomes.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury:

Struggles and challenges

A. Lack of state government participation: State departments not permitting the district officers to undergo training. Further, in most skill development schemes, planning, and monitoring are handled by the Centre. The state governments and districts have virtually no role. This makes the entire skill development initiatives as a centralised one.

Traditionally, skills in India, have been and continue to be, caste-specific. These skills are non-remunerative and not upmarket. For example, scavengers or ‘Safai karmacharis’. Changing these skills as monetarily rewarding, skills with entrepreneurial ability and career opportunities are challenging.

B. Absence of micro-level study on skill development: Delineated geographical and administrative units and the skills pertaining to that locality are not considered for skill training. Instead, the skill training initiatives heavily focused on the training of persons on machineries.

C. Not recognising the backward and forward linkages in skill training. So, far Indian skill training initiatives have neglected the linkages in skill training.

For example, skill training in the tourism sector at present only involves skill training in aspects of tourism in a particular district alone. They do not consider the border picture and provide training on national and state tourism maps/destinations/policies.

D. The skill training does not emphasise the findings between the opportunities and trainees’ attitudes and aspirations. Without the interest, without identifying an individual’s potential the skill training is done in India. So, at the end of the skill training, the trained persons might not get adequate employment opportunities. Further, over a period of time, he/she might forget the training he/she had.

SPFW Trust Solutions approach:- Capacity building of Skill centre is essential. Further, to ensure true decentralization the skill centres has to ensure optimum resource utilization and the inclusion of all marginalized sections of society.

The skill development of skill centre have to focus on,

a. Creating and managing knowledge

b. Customising and localising content

c. Disseminating knowledge through training

d. Providing opportunities for guided practice

e. Lastly, Evaluation with actionable feedback.

Leveraging skill training to ensure socio-economic development: For example, mechanization of the work for manual scavengers, rag-pickers will provide monetary benefits and result in social change. Further, it will also provide entrepreneurial ability and career opportunities to the caste-based skills also.

The increased role of states: The state government not only has to send officials for skill enhancement but also has to provide incentives to the trained officers. For example, the state government can provide choice for their next postings, extending them in their deputation posts, sponsoring them for a higher training course, etc.

District skill planning has to understand the socio-economic profile of the district population. To understand this, the government has to perform the micro-level study. The study should

also take account of individuals attitudes and aspiration.

The government also has to differentiate between the training that gives livelihoods to people at the local level and the training that grow beyond the local at state, national or

international levels. The government also has to encourage people to move ahead and get training beyond the local level.

Interact with industry representatives: The government has to interact with Local industry, trade chambers, sector skill councils, and experts to identify relevant industrial skills. Similarly, the government also has to provide courses in self-development and interpersonal communication and other softer aspects.

Recognising the backward and forward linkages: The government has to provide holistic training. For example, skill training in the tourism sector should also include training on national and state tourism maps/destinations/policies.

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Sasidharan Pillai Foundation Welfare Trust?

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury: Our Planning:

1) Focused & Aggressive Business acquisition through separate BU

2) Lowering down CAPEX & negative gap in OPEX

3) Higher Cost optimizations to have better Liquidity

4) Pan India Expansions of CSR Training Centers Network

5) Setting up Skills Centers using Government Infra with strategic Industry & Placement Partners Focused States – Bihar, UP , Punjab , Karnataka, and North East States

6) 50% Revenue actualization from Government sponsored Trainings.

7) High Focus on acquiring sponsored & Funded Programs through Corporate Business Training.

8) Moving to Digital Contents & eLearning Platform to optimize Higher Operating Margins.

Our Visualization after 5 years: Best Education training company in East Zone .

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Parthasarathi Roychowdhury:

1. Be Humble and Learn

2) Plan out Every Day

3) Grow your Network

4) Seize Opportunities: Successful entrepreneurs make the most of every opportunity

5) Accept Feedback



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