Australian institute partners with Maruti Suzuki to impart auto skills training in India

"In India today, there is real demand for advanced skills training."

In a landmark Australia-India collaboration, Australia’s Kangan Institute has partnered with Maruti Suzuki and the Government of Gujarat to establish India’s first International Automobile Centre of Excellence (iACE).

Giulian Di Maggio, Director – Automotive at Kangan Institute (Source: YouTube)

Giulian Di Maggio, Director – Automotive at Kangan Institute, said in a statement:

“We are the first Australian skills training centre to set up a joint venture in India. We have a great partnership with iACE, and it shows the potential for high-calibre vocational training in India.”

Since its launch in 2021, Kangan Institute has helped iACE deliver automotive courses and industry-led automotive teacher training programs, including a new course in electric vehicle safety.

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Image: Kangan Institute (Source: website)

Kangan Institute has a long history of vocational education and training dating back to the 1850s. It runs 4 campuses across metropolitan Melbourne with approximately 3,000 students at any given time.

The institute moved its leading automotive programs to the state-of-the-art Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Melbourne in 2006.

Di Maggio added:

“In India today, there is real demand for advanced skills training. For example, the Indian auto industry is now incorporating far more technology in locally made vehicles, creating demand for more highly skilled workers.”

This observation aligns with insights gleaned by Austrade’s Delhi-based team.

Image: Leo Bremanis (Source: LinkedIn)

Leo Bremanis, Austrade Trade and Investment Commissioner in New Delhi, notes:

“There is a surge of interest in tech-based skills training in India. Training organisations and state governments in India are seeking to align to India’s National Education Policy 2020. The policy aims to embed vocational training in institutions and outlines a commitment to internationalisation.”

He further adds:

“It means Indian organisations are now looking to other countries for partnerships — to create and deliver advanced skills training programs.”

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Grant Petch, Project Manager at Kangan Institute, explains how an industry networking opportunity brought India and Kangan Institute together. 

“An Executive Director at one of India’s biggest auto manufacturers – Maruti Suzuki – met our Executive Director at an industry event. There was a meeting of minds.”

Maruti executives then travelled to Melbourne to visit Kangan Institute.

Image: Maruti Suzuki plant (Source: website)

Petch and Di Maggio add:

“Maruti liked the bespoke software we use to manage teaching. And they loved that we have specific ways of teaching – including self-paced modules. What they recognised was that Australia was very good at training apprentices and that those skills are transferable.”

The new iACE centre opened in March 2021 on a 2-acre site in Gujarat. Since then, Kangan Institute has developed multiple online training modules in Melbourne. iACE staff deliver these courses in India. 

Image: iACE (Source: website)

According to iACE General Manager, E. Rajiv, the student reaction has been amazing.

“Their curiosity cannot be quenched enough,’ says Rajiv. ‘Most attendees are students from local colleges in Gujarat. At iACE, they learn how to turn academic ability into a practical commercial service. Our teachers share the enthusiasm. Kangan Institute developed train-the-trainer modules, which we run jointly with dedicated support from Kangan Institute trainers.”

In the financial year to March 2022, iACE graduated 467 students. Kangan Institute anticipates iACE will train 3,000 to 5,000 students per year from 2023.

According to Rajiv, Kangan Institute’s involvement is ongoing.

“Australian vocational education and training has a great reputation. Partnering with Kangan Institute means learning global best practices and training methodologies. It also includes techniques for delivering large-scale training to an industry-based audience. We are working with Kangan Institute for all the futuristic training programs, like electric vehicles. There’s a lot of shared passion.”

Di Maggio says the centre has taken Australian vocational expertise and turned it into something unique.

“In Australia, we deliver the latest technology in terms of auto-skills training, but what iACE does in India is exceptional. It’s a very caring approach: the results are outstanding, and the staff commitment is amazing. The feedback from the students is great. They also like it because there’s very good alignment with a high-quality Australian provider that has a great brand.”

Kangan Institute was named Australian Large Training Provider of the Year in 2022. It is also helping India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to strengthen competency-based training and assessment for iACE trainers, as part of the Australian Government’s International Skills Training (IST) program.