NEW DELHI: Despite great talent, India lacks skilled people in the hospitality and retail sector, Suvodeep Das, vice president, Sales & Marketing at Sodexo BRS India told India CSR.
Das said while the government was running its own Skill India programmes, it was important that the companies came forward to play their part.
Das said that Sodexo BSR in coordination with Generation India Foundation (GIF), in March 2018 under took a skill development programme in the hospitality sector where it trained 200 people to impart industry specific skills.
Sodexo BRS India is an Indian arm of the France-based Sodexo. The global benefits and rewards services company designs incentives and recognition programmes for employees in the form of gift passes, exclusive pass, e-gift passes and say rewards. GIF is an affiliate of ‘Generation’ – a not-for-profit, founded by McKinsey and Company. It was launched in 2014 to impart relevant and sector specific industry skills to young job seekers.
In the eleven-month programme, Sodexo trained over 200 students across three states Kalimpong (West Bengal), Barkatpura (Telangana) and Bangalore (Karnataka), Das said adding “some of the students were from very small towns.”. The students were given training in hospitality and retail sector, he said.
Calling the programme a “success” and also “gratifying”, Das said that the skill development led to 100 percent placement, with some making the cut to biggest names in the hospitality industry – The Leela Palace, ITC Hotels and TAJ Hotels etc.
Around 97% of the people were without job, till they got the training, Das said.
When asked if the company will like to organize, more such initiatives, Das told this news service that the company was evaluating the areas of its CRS activity for the next 2-3 years.
Company’s operations are based on the food & beverages sector and it would continue to contribute in the area, Das said.
Apart from this, the company has been associated with the Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) which is a non-profit organisation and runs lunch programmes across schools in India.
“We are closely working with Akshay Patra for a couple of years and we support them in the number of ways,” Das said. The company helps the APF through donations and through marketing initiatives, he added.
The French company also carries out a ‘stop hunger’ initiative as a part of its global corporate social responsibility, Das said.
Das declined to disclose company’s CSR budget saying that the company allocated “a substantial budget for the CSR activity” which was “much more” than the 2% that the companies are required to spend as per the Indian laws.