Corporate Review

Arun Bhutani: living with a mission mind-set to create a future-ready workforce

20 Best Performing Business Leaders 2020 Interviews

The world is walking on the route of Industry 4.0 and India is preparing itself to take away the perk from this change. Globalization and Industrial revolution 4.0 have stirred the need of an industry-ready and job-ready workforce. For any country’s economic growth, skills’ plays the role of a growth catalyst. Hence, it becomes necessary for the economies to empower and enable their workforce to take control of the transition by upgrading their skills and thus, addressing the enormous gap between the skills available and employability. Skill development, the missing link is the key ingredient of the robust economic growth of a country. The imperative for skilling young people has been flagged as a national priority for almost a decade, with significant initiatives being launched by the government. But the reality states that only 10 per cent of the total workforce in the country receives some kind of skill training. While there is a dearth of such initia­tives on a prodigious level, a social endeavour is already beating the drum by impacting more than 500,000 lives in urban and rural India.

What started as a vision to support under­privileged kids for their primary and secondary education and helping them to get hands-on skilling, today sings a different tune and is proudly characterized among India’s leading skilling company. Fuelled by its unparalleled PAN-In­dia presence via its network of skill development centers, on-site skilling and skilling Vans, Lok Bharti Skilling Solutions Pvt. Ltd has emerged as a significant NSDC and Government partner, bridging the skill deficit gap and creating employ­ment and livelihood opportunities. Lok Bharti is implementing Skill Development programs with State Government of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Delhi/NCR for various skill development projects. Alongside, the venture has partnered with big names including, Reliance, HDFC Ergo, Mazhgaon Docks Ltd., LIC, NTPC, Godrej, Metro Rails, PTC, and others to shape up the skilled manpower and liveli­hood opportunities across India, under their CSR scheme. In addition, Lok Bharti Skilling Solutions Pvt. Ltd. has counselled over 110,000+ students for the need of skilling to change their economic level in society.

And that’s just the tip of an iceberg of a company which has successfully skilled/ re-skilled over 100,000 underprivileged youth candidates and placed more than 80% of them in economically viable jobs.

What has driven the vision of Lok Bharti Skilling Solutions Pvt. Ltd.?

Let’s hear from the leader who is instilling and inspiring dreams for many.

In conversation with Arun Bhutani, Chairman, Lok Bharti Skilling Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Laying the foundation

“I am a Mechanical Engineer but the interest in education and counselling pushed me into education Industry at an early date in my career, in 1987. There, I was exposed to international education and International skilling. In 2009, this concept was planted, when we, 5 friends, decided to join hands to give back to the society, through Lok Bharti Education Society. The initial response, results, and the Government’s empha­sis on skilling encouraged us to pool in some investment and make it an independent opera­tion, as Lok Bharti Skilling Solutions Pvt Ltd. We contrived a vision, to become the leading voca­tional institution for skilling & re-skilling people to augment their employability. We achieved a good break-through and got a chance to work with Govt, and soon became NSDC partners. After going through the rollercoaster ride for around 7 years, achieving peaks and valleys of success, in August 2017, few friends decided to play low on this front, and concentrate on their own business. This was the time when I decided to accept the challenge to control the reins of the company and take it through these tough times.

Reviving Lok Bharti

It was a rough patch for us; the capacity to invest further was blown up, the old team had dispersed, reducing to mere 7 members from 170. With patience and strong support from the team and family, we sailed through the storm. Having a few old clients including Metro Rails, Godrej, Reli­ance etc. rejuvenated our determination and by the end, everything was favourable. We started working on skilling the underprivileged youth, with emphasizing on women empowerment. Soon our efforts were noticed by the corporates and Govt alike and we were conferred with an impressive award by CII, for empowering women. Our patience and perseverance paid well and we are now a leading Skilling company in India.

Best Moments

Training 100 women in welding, an untapped skill for women to get into and watching them getting absorbed in jobs. The appreciation from the employer created a benchmark for us.

What does it take to be a business leader?

I have failed more times (say in 25 businesses) than I have succeeded, and that gives me a connecting point with my team. Though it has been quite expensive to fail so many times in terms of finance, resources and emotions, yet each failure turned out a big learning lesson. I often share my learnings from my ‘Failure Stories’ with my team and we see a solution to almost any problem, coming to us.

Mentoring the individuals on your team

I believe, whatever gets appreciated, gets repeated. I do give feedback on the shortcom­ings in private, because mistakes pointed out in person, gets corrected soon. I also share my visions with the team to align their vision with me. For me, to raise the aspirational level of your team to your own which prepares them as “Self-Motivated” team is the best mentorship.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Have a clear vision, with reasonable flexibility to meet challenges on the way. Spend some money on research, as it is cheaper than failing because of not doing the research. Be ready to take risks as there is no other way to win in this game called entrepreneurship. Identify the needs around you and offer solutions (find your purpose).

What is the one behaviour that you have seen derail more lead­ers’ careers?

Unable to swallow the pride; when things don’t go their way and not accepting the mistakes, especially if pointed out by a subordinate.

Road Ahead

I envision Lok Bharti to be the best skilling company, diminishing the gap between a job and employability and preparing the Indian Youth for employment.

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