Yet the yellow truck, which Shivaji saw at Voltas, KION’s brand company in India, at the start of his training as a mechanic, raised its load without any difficulty whatsoever. “I was fascinated by how this machine managed to do it,” he says smiling. For Shivaji, this encounter with a forklift truck also represented the start of a new chapter in his life. At home in his village, Shivaji, the son of a farmer, had completed two years of basic technical training. For many young men in India with a similar social background, it would have ended there. But it was not enough for Shivaji. “I heard about a Learn and Earn Scheme in Pune and I applied for it.” Successfully.
The programme, which is funded by industry in India and run by the Yashaswi Institute of Technology, is very similar to the German system of dual vocational training that closely links theory and practice. In addition to their income, the trainees receive free classes every day after work as well as being given grants for food, work clothes and health insurance, plus 15 days of paid holiday.
KION India started its collaboration with the Yashaswi Institute of Technology back in 2012. “We were one of the first company to start the programme,” says Joshi Shailesh, Head of HR at KION India. “A lot of companies have since followed suit.” And it’s obvious why. “Training in India tends to be very theoretical, whereas this programme offers an equal split between theory and practical training. The trainees benefit from that because they learn a lot about the trucks,” says Joshi. According to figures from the institute, around 18,000 trainees are taking part in the programme in the state of Maharashtra, where the initiative was launched, in around 200 companies from all over the world.