Article: Sustainable mobility sector sees high demand for skilled professionals: Alstom's India HR

Talent Acquisition

Sustainable mobility sector sees high demand for skilled professionals: Alstom's India HR

Vinod Varghese, HR Director at Alstom India, shares exclusive insights about the innovative HR strategies driving talent attraction and retention in the sustainable mobility industry.
Sustainable mobility sector sees high demand for skilled professionals: Alstom's India HR

A significant shift in the world of work pushed human resources professionals to re-design their policies to accommodate people’s preferences and take care of their personal and professional needs. Talent attraction and retention, work-life balance, career growth opportunities, and internal mobility are some of the aspects that have taken center stage.

People Matters asked Vinod Varghese, Human Resource Director, Alstom India about the best practices followed in the sustainable mobility sector in India to attract and retain the available talent. Vinod has been with Alston India for more than six years and talks about the HR initiatives taken by the company, job roles in demand, and skills required to have a sustainable career in the sustainable mobility sector which is witnessing rapid growth.

The interim budget 2024, presented by Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman announced an ambitious plan to bolster the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. The strategic initiative focuses on both manufacturing and charging infrastructure, aiming to fortify and broaden the landscape for electric vehicles is also expected to create about 25 lakh direct and indirect jobs in next 4-5 years. One charging station is expected to offer employment to five people. 

 Here's what Vinod shared about Alstom India’s approach.

What opportunities for career growth and advancement are available within the sustainable mobility sector in India? What kind of job roles will be in demand in the future?

With the steady rise of the sustainable mobility sector in India, there are ample opportunities for career growth and advancement, for engineers, designers, and business professionals alike. Coupled with the modernisation and expansion of the rail transport industry, there is a high demand for skilled professionals, further fuelled by India’s sharp focus on sustainability and ongoing infrastructure projects in the country.

From developing and implementing the latest technology to designing and building the most advanced transportation systems, this industry offers a multitude of exciting and rewarding job opportunities. There will be increased demand for roles driven by sustainability initiatives and technological advancements. Roles such as Project Directors, Software Architects, Data Scientists, Project Engineering Managers, Bid Technical Managers, Safety and Traction Engineers, Cybersecurity Experts, and RAMS, are likely to be in high demand.

How does your company attract and retain talent in the sustainable mobility sector?

We invest in nurturing and training talent across levels, from young graduates to engineering experts to senior leaders who are contributing to smart and sustainable mobility.

The team in India has grown consistently over the past few years, from more than 2,000 full-time employees in 2016 to over 12,000 team members today.  At Alstom, we value curious and innovative people who are passionate about working together to reinvent mobility, making it smarter and more sustainable. Our focus on sustainable mobility with our projects and opportunities across the globe, and our foray into innovative technologies are key factors in being able to attract and retain talent.

There are focused initiatives in India especially aimed at attracting engineering graduates and shopfloor associates.

Through our flagship Young Engineering Graduates Program (YEGP), young engineers are hired from top engineering colleges across India, with a focus on regional & and diverse (women engineers) talent. Additionally, there is also focused hiring of engineering interns who are a part of our internship program, ‘Anubhav’.

In addition to engineering graduates, our organisation works towards building talent at Industrial Technical Institutes (ITI) and other government institutes and hiring them at sites with a focus on hiring and developing women for shopfloor opportunities.

To retain the available talent, we offer Digital Career tool - My Career Path, providing increased visibility on open and possible career paths available within the organisation and the competencies required for these roles. Employees can use this to understand the skills and competencies required for different roles and create their Individual Development Plan as per their interests. They can also highlight the roles they would be interested in exploring in the future and receive alerts when such roles open.

Through Work Integrated Learning Program (WILP), Alstom also encourages higher education by sponsoring an M.Tech program from BITS Pilani. The specialized courses include – Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Data Science Engineering, Design Engineering, Embedded System, Manufacturing Management, Quality Management and Software Systems.

To support our Shopfloor Associates, we run a curated Career Development program to hone the technical & behavioural skills of associates. They are provided focused training on building skills of women employees at Industrial sites. Additionally, based on performance, Associates also are eligible to take up sponsored higher education (B.E) enabling them to enhance their competencies and take up higher roles within the organisation.

Also to retain the available talent, we encourage Internal Mobility, both domestic and international aimed at career evolution. In this financial year, we have 600 + employees taking up new challenges, new roles, and moving across locations across India & and globally, to support the growth of the organisation. There is also a virtual internal career fair on Metaverse to aware employees about

In line with our digital initiatives, we also conducted a virtual internal career fair on Metaverse available roles across the globe, along with an opportunity to interact with the hiring managers and HR representatives to understand more about the positions, just like in a real-life scenario.

Further, we have an employee wellness program to focus on the physical, emotional, social & financial well-being of employees through webinar sessions.

Are there any unique skills or qualifications that you prioritise when hiring for roles in this industry?

Backed by the strong ecological transition and growing international demand for more modern and sustainable mobility solutions, we are always on the lookout for young talent who is keen to contribute to the challenges of smart and sustainable mobility. We have been hiring across the value chain – from production to methods, supplies, and functions, mostly a mix of engineers, technicians, and data science specialists. We also assess candidates on behavioural and leadership competencies in line with our values - Agile, Inclusive and Responsible.

What kind of training and development opportunities do you provide to employees to keep them updated with the latest developments in sustainable mobility?

Continuous learning and career development opportunities are provided to our employees, ensuring they stay up-to-date in their current roles. In this financial year, the average training hours per employee YTD stands at 49. hours, which has already crossed Alstom’s KPI of 21 hours/year. We also enable them to accelerate their career towards aspirational roles.

As part of our corporate 2025 strategy, we have an anchored learning & and knowledge sharing culture with the following- one standardized L&D process enabling skills-related development, one single learning experience platform to manage all training activities and enable social learning and supported by the Alstom University, enabling an innovation mindset.

Alstom University, enables learning & development, and knowledge sharing and is a means for our employees to continuously upgrade themselves, their skills, and competencies. The L&D team in India in collaboration with Alstom University aims at improving learning culture & learning innovation by hosting several digital transformation initiatives namely virtual discovery tours, workshops, content creation, and classroom sessions.

  • Our Learning Experience Platform, iLearn, managed by Alstom University is ATAWADAC, accessible Any Time, Any Where, from Any Device with Any Content, fostering a culture of continuous learning.
  • As part of our People Management Cycle, a year-round process, during the competency development phase, employees are provided with necessary tools to assess their competencies which are assessed by managers to set the base for preparing the Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is based on the development of skills required in their current job, skills required for their career and skills that are regulatory requirement, keeping in mind the 70-20-10 principle of learning.
  • LEAD, Alstom India’s customized program designed in partnership with the Indian School of Business, aims at developing our Global Leaders for India with the right mindset and behaviours.
  • The quarterly behavioural training calendar allows employees to learn skills as per their Individual Development Plan. The calendar offers various behavioural and leadership programs like Persuasive Presentations, Crucial Conversations, Interviewing Skills, Business Communication, among many others.
  •   Alstom offers its employees a technical career path under the ‘World Class Engineering’ and ‘World Class Manufacturing’ programs. This provides an opportunity to become experts in their chosen discipline and contribute to Alstom globally in building solutions to complex technical matters. They act like flying doctors by mentoring other employees and providing technical leadership within the Company.
  • Required Functional and business-specific technical trainings are deployed in a structured manner to our employees, based on Competency gaps, present orders under execution, roadmap of the future and aspirations.
  •  The Alstom platform for Innovation – Innovation Hub, hosts various challenges around the year. Any concept that team members would like to plan and incubate and demonstrate proof of concept can be submitted around the year and this is evaluated at the Innovation Kiosk which is held at regular intervals.
  • There are Innovation Races held every year around a theme with a call for ideas, recent ones being Circular Economy, Inclusive Mobility and Innovate to Deliver. Shortlisted ideas are presented for selection at the Innovation Kiosk.
  • The biggest contest of the year, which generates a lot of enthusiasm and participation and for which team members get ready months in advance is I Nove You. This is a yearly contest across the Alstom sites, typically has 6 categories and a special prize. I Nove You recognizes the best implemented project with a good level of maturity. The winners are awarded by the CEO in a grand ceremony which is live across the Alstom Sites.
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Topics: Talent Acquisition, #HRCommunity

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