The Retail HR Conclave organized by the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) and the Retailers Association’s Skill Council of India (RASCI) was aimed at creating an awareness on skill development in retail sector, and to deliberate on emerging job roles, skill deficit and demand, internship and training venues, placement opportunities, innovative practices, and various other opportunities and challenges in the sector connecting to Human resources. ASAP considers role of industry as crucial in strengthening the Skill training. The first Retail Conclave organized by ASAP was witnessed by the participation of delegates from human resource domain of retail industry.

Mr. Ravi Deecee, CEO, DC Books & Chairman, Retail Business Advisory Committee, ASAP in his presidential address pointed out the limitation in best practices in the training and short tenure of employment. Dr Reju MT IAS, CEO ASAP, eulogized the efforts of retailers in Kerala. He pointed out that ASAP is committed to live up to the expectation of industry and willing to tackle training demands in the industry. Dr. Reju urged the participants to play a constructive role in the skill development initiatives of Retail sector in Kerala and the ASAP initiatives.

Delivering key note address, Mr. Deepak L. Aswani, Chairman and Managing Director, Lachmandas Group & Member- Retail Business Advisory Committee, ASAP projected the influential role of retail industry in the economic growth, citing successful interventions of individual and conglomerates. The scope of online retailing is high in the post demonetization times. Even though we face neck to neck competition, e-commerce platforms make the retail sector more vibrant.

The floor was opened to discussion. Key discussion points were

  • 1. Industry’s expectation and skilled & Unskilled work force
  • 2. Demand aggregation from industry
  • 3. On the Job training
  • 4. Higher programmes
  • 5. Skill Premium

The group presentation and subsequent open forum was monitored by a panel comprising of Mr. P. Anand Ram, Deputy General Manager -Retail Operations & Business Development – Kerala, Landmark Group & Curriculum Head – Retail Business Advisory Committee, ASAP , Mr. Riju Antony, General Manager – HR, Zonal Head – HR (South), Reliance Retail Ltd. & Internship Head – Retail Business Advisory Committe, ASAP; and Ms. Nika Gupta, Head – Training & Operations, RASCI.

Concluding the discussion Dr. Reju IAS reiterated the need on addressing gaps in career awareness, aspiration and career growth in the retail sector. Industry can expect better tidings based on the inputs in this direction. Opportunities in up-skilling and re-skilling, more avenues of internship and placements have to be debated further as well. Along with successful trainees, ASAP plans to invite placement partners on the board in coming forums. He also briefed the upcoming Community Skill Park (CSP) in Kerala and requested support from industry. ASAP is going ahead with the plan of starting 20 CSPs across Kerala and Skill Development Centres (SDC) in all constituencies. Dr. Reju concluded with an optimistic note on continuing Industry engagement.