Saturday, August 04, 2012

Future Learning seeks international tie-up

Future Learning, the education and skill development arm of Future Group, is scouting for an international tie-up to run specific courses in visual management, sourcing, supply chain and even luxury retailing. The company, which was carved out as a separate entity four years ago, said it has identified 21 key sectors to impart skills in retail and services sector.

“Retail is relatively a new area for India. There is acute talent shortage and companies are spending huge amounts on wage bills. Also margins in retail are wafer-thin and companies do not want to lose talent to competition. We started the institute for in-house training but gradually moved on to conducting courses and modules for other industry players as well,” Muralidhar Rao, CEO, Future Learning, said.

Organised retail sector accounts for a mere six per cent of the overall $450-billion retail industry. It is will see 10-fold growth in the number of people employed by 2015, an ICRIER report notes. He said the company has identified 21 key sectors such as automobiles, financial services, logistics, among others, to impart skill in servicing and understanding customer requirements. “Essentially, the principles of retailing are same. We tweak them according to customer requirements,” he said.

Future Learning operates in three key verticals — Future Lead, Future Innoversity and Future Sharp. While Future Lead focuses on career progression, Future Innoversity conducts courses such as MBA and BBA in Retail Management. Future Sharp, on the other hand, focuses on skill development.

Future Learning is affiliated to the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and offers courses at four centres — Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Rao said it has also tied up with the Retailers Association of India to create professionals who are job-ready.

Speaking on its accreditation, Rao said that Future Learning is looking for an international tie-up as more international retailers are entering India. “In places such as the US, the UK and Australia, where retail is highly developed, institutes are accredited and we are in talks for similar accreditation.”

Asked about the Future Learning’s current revenues, profitability and its contribution to the group’s total business, he said, “The group does not consider this initiative as pure business...Future Learning is profitable, but investment for expansion is currently being funded by the parent organisation. “We are growing at about 40-45 per cent annually,” the CEO said. According to industry sources, Future Group is understood to have an investment of Rs. 250 million in Future Learning.

Source: The Hindu Business Line, August 4, 2012

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