“Welding and welding skills will continue to grow in demand.”

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Praveer Sinha, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Power

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Tata Power has worked on several mega projects. Could you please list down some of the recent Thermal mega projects in India or abroad?

The two mega projects commissioned by Tata Power includes the 4,000 MW ultra mega project by our fully owned subsidiary Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd in Mundra in Gujarat and the 1,050 MW plant commissioned by Maithon Power Ltd in Jharkhand.

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Any upcoming Thermal projects. Please elaborate.

Tata Power is a strategic player in the power sector in India with a larger objective of ‘Lighting up Lives’. Through new and consistently expanding existing projects coupled with mergers and acquisitions, Tata Power will continue to invest in opportunities that increase our footprint in the country’s power sector.

As the company works on various power projects, what kind of challenges do you come across (in terms of availability of manpower, land acquisition, approvals, availability of raw material, etc.) and how do you manage to cope up with the same?

Our most recent 4,000 MW ultra-mega project by CGPL was commissioned ahead of schedule. To provide a steady stream of skilled manpower, Tata Power has established the Tata Power Skill Development Institute (TPSDI) to train and certify manpower in various skills needed by the power sector and allied industries. In fact, Mundra too has a TPSDI hub which has trained over 5,500 people since its inception in March 2016. TPSDI is thus a crucial intervention for Tata Power to empower and engage with the local communities around the ultra-mega power projects.

Availability of skilled manpower is one of the mega challenge? How do you try to resolve the same?

To provide a steady stream of skilled manpower, Tata Power established the Tata Power Skill Development Institute (TPSDI) to train and certify manpower in various skills needed by the power sector and allied industries. Since its inception in February 2015, TPSDI has trained over 30,000 people. More than 80% of these are the contractual workforce engaged at various Tata Power sites. Thus, TPSDI plays a critical role in skilling workers not just for Tata Power projects but for the entire power sector, both in India and outside. TPSDI is thus a crucial intervention for Tata Power to empower and engage with the local communities and the region at large.

Into all the projects, welding and fabrication activities play a major role. Your say?

Any project in a core industry requires welding and fabrication. As an example, one 800 MW boiler at CGPL Mundra required around 32,000 high pressure welding joints. CGPL has five such boilers totalling to 160,000 welded joints. These are apart from the other welding requirements. Multiply these with the number of projects across industries, across India and one gets an idea of the crucial part welding plays in the economy.

What are your efforts to boost the company welders? Do you offer any in-house training for upgradation?

TPSDI trains company welders to both reskill and upgrade their skills. TPSDI also enables Tata Power to skill its welders in different types of welding thus improving productivity. Company welders are trained to improve quality in welding jobs and eventually move to zero defects.

What are the initiatives undertaken by Tata Power Skill Development Institute for welding segment?

TPSDI offers a 6-week training program for unemployed youth and working professionals in welding skills. TPSDI also conducts an RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) program as defined by NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) to assess and formally certify experienced welders. TPSDI also has specialised courses for graduate and diploma engineers. TPSDI uses welding simulators to hone trainees’ skills without wasting consumables. The simulator enables trainees to learn, practice and perfect welding skills safely before moving to working with field equipment.  TPSDI’s trainers come from the industry with several years of experience thus, enabling them to train people in skills that are relevant to the power sector and allied industries.

Your say on Health and Safety?

Tata Power emphasizes safety as a core value in everything it does. Training and establishing a culture of safety is in Tata Power’s DNA. TPSDI partners with Tata Power Corporate Safety to design and deliver a series of SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) training and certification programs. Tata Power allows only SHE trained and certified personnel on its various sites. TPSDI has trained and certified more than 20,000 people in SHE over the last three years. TPSDI courses weave safety as a core strand throughout the training. TPSDI’s welding courses also incorporate and emphasise health and safety practices.

We also find many Women in Welding. Does Tata Power also have women welders? Or what is your say on women in welding?

TPSDI trains women in various skills where the industry is ready to hire them. Welding as a vocation in India does not attract many women yet. This should change with changing perception of what women can do or cannot do as perceived by society at large. At Tata Power we consciously encourage and enable greater participation of women in areas that have traditionally been male-dominated.  This is an integral and vital part of our Diversity and Inclusivity priorities that we take very seriously. So we will continue to push for opening up new opportunities for women to enable greater participation. This will not only fulfil our D&I commitments but also ensure adequate availability of skilled workforce that is not constrained by gender divisions.

What is your say on the future of Welding segment in India?

Welding and welding skills will continue to grow in demand. India is on a growth curve with thrust on infrastructure, energy, and construction sectors to fuel and sustain our progress. Welding is an integral part of every industry in the manufacturing sector. While the adoption of robotic welding is on the rise, there is also a growing demand for skilled welders that continues to grow and must to be met. The organised sector apart, the demand for skilled welders is in the unorganised sector including the demand in the households and a large informal set up that exist as huge number of roadside garages spread across the country.

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