Empowering India’s Workforce: The Transformative Role of TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Ramesh Alluri Reddy, Chief Executive Officer, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship.

1.      Can you provide an overview of TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship and its mission in the context of India’s workforce development?

TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship works towards addressing the employability crisis in India, where traditional education systems focus majorly on theoretical knowledge, leaving a significant gap in practical skills. As per the World Economic Forum, of the 13 million people who join India’s workforce each year, only one in four management professionals, one in five engineers, and one in 10 graduates are employable. Also, skills need rapid upgradation as businesses and technologies are morphing faster than ever, given the rate of technology adoption and change, especially post-pandemic.

Our Degree Apprenticeships (DA) program, in line with NEP2020, addresses the multi-stakeholder demand for higher collaboration between employers, universities, and skills, which is 1/3rd college, 1/3rd employment exchange and 1/3rd ITI.  In addition, our Work Integrated Learning Programs (WILPs) and NAPS and NATS apprenticeship program administration emphasize real-world skills and job readiness, ensuring that our youth are equipped with the competencies needed to thrive in today’s dynamic workforce. We aim to empower individuals with the practical expertise and industry-relevant knowledge essential for success by placing apprentices in various job roles and facilitating experiential learning opportunities.

At TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, we are committed to reshaping India’s workforce development landscape by fostering a culture of lifelong learning and skill enhancement. Through our innovative vocational training model, we strive to empower individuals to unlock their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economic growth.

2.      How do you address the skill deficit in India and enhance the employability quotient of the youth?

We have been at the forefront of private sector evangelization of apprenticeship programs by working closely with industry, government, sector skill councils, academia and the youth. At TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, it’s our mission to address the skill deficit in India and enhance the employability quotient of the youth through our comprehensive work based skilling and learning programs, including apprenticeships. The apprenticeship programs, which fall under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) and the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS), are governed by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Education, respectively.

Our apprenticeship programs typically span up to three years and involve a combination of on-the-job training and certification or education. For example, in the first year of our apprenticeship program, participants receive two certifications, including a diploma. Over the following years, they continue to gain additional certifications every six months, culminating in an advanced diploma at the end of the second year and a degree upon completion of the third year.

Degree apprenticeships offered through NAPS cater to both technical and non-technical roles, with varying durations. Technical roles typically last for one year, while non-technical roles span three years. This complexity arises from the diverse combinations of training and education tracks available to participants.
One of the primary benefits offered by our apprenticeship initiatives lies in their ability, from an employer standpoint, to foster scalability, replicability, and generalizability. This is achieved through a commitment to experiential learning, which enhances soft skills that are known to boost wages. Participants simultaneously acquire knowledge and skills while earning, through a blend of theoretical education and hands-on practice. Furthermore, our approach emphasizes the modular nature of qualifications, ensuring seamless progression from certificates to diplomas and degrees. We also employ diverse delivery methods, including online, onsite, on-campus, and on-the-job training, to accommodate various learning preferences. Finally, our programs carry significant signaling value, contributing to social mobility and enhancing employability.

At TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, we offer degree and post-graduate diploma programs tailored to individuals who have completed Class 12th or ITI, providing them with valuable skills and credentials to succeed in today’s competitive job market, as well as administer regular apprenticeship programs for 5th class and above.

3.      How does TeamLease leverage technology and innovation to enhance the learning experience and outcomes of the apprenticeship program?

We have invested in cutting-edge tools and platforms to provide trainees with a dynamic and effective learning environment and for employers to track end-to-end apprentices’ life cycles.

Central to our approach is our in-house app, which serves as a comprehensive platform for trainee engagement and learning. Trainees can access many resources through this app, including educational materials, assessments, and interactive learning modules. Additionally, our online portal,, provides trainees with a convenient platform to browse available jobs and apply online, streamlining the application process.

Moreover, we are at the forefront of incorporating innovative tools such as AI-powered chatbots and learning management systems (LMS). These AI-driven platforms utilize advanced algorithms to customise content and adapt to each trainee’s unique learning needs. By offering real-time feedback and interaction, AI technologies enhance engagement and facilitate personalised learning experiences.

Our LMS platforms employ innovative assessment strategies and continuous feedback loops to improve content delivery and teaching methodologies. This enhances the learning experience and ensures that trainees receive tailored support and guidance throughout their apprenticeship journey.

4.      How important are degree apprenticeships in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge gained through formal education and practical skills required by industries?

Our formal education system is qualification-skewed rather than skill-skewed, which has resulted in ½ of our graduates not being employable. Degree apprenticeships are crucial in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge acquired through formal education and the practical skills demanded by industries. This is particularly pertinent in light of the current challenges traditional educational institutions face in meeting the evolving needs of the job market.

Recent reports highlight the urgency of addressing the employability crisis in India. For instance, data reveals that at prestigious institutions like IITs, around 36 per cent of students at IIT Bombay are struggling to secure a job, with approximately 700 out of 2000 students registered for placements still without employment opportunities. Additionally, job opportunities for MBA graduates have decreased by 55 per cent in January 2024. Graduate unemployment is at 12.4% as per government data, emphasising the need for innovative solutions to enhance employability.

At TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, we recognise the need to equip individuals with theoretical knowledge and practical skills for success in today’s competitive workforce. Our apprenticeship programs offer a unique blend of classroom learning and on-the-job training (OJT), providing trainees with hands-on experience in real-world job roles to develop the critical thinking skills and acumen necessary for long-term career growth.

Through this holistic approach to learning, degree apprenticeships empower individuals to bridge the gap between academia and industry, enabling them to thrive in diverse professional settings and contribute meaningfully to the economy.

5.      What are the plans and initiatives to further enhance the impact on India’s workforce development?
In pursuit of our commitment to advancing India’s workforce development, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship is actively planning and implementing future-focused initiatives. Our upcoming endeavours include expanding our industry-focused product portfolio & offering specialised services as a solution. We have introduced a “Hire-Train-Deploy” model that covers Induction and short-term Trainee/ apprentice engagement solutions for organisations seeking seamless integration of young talent into their workforce. In addition, we have also initiated Managed Training Services (MTS) as a solution to facilitate tailored training programs, ensuring continuous learning and development for individuals and establishing high-performing talent attraction, development, engagement & retention processes for organisations. Furthermore, we are exploring global mobility for apprenticeships for our client partners looking to fill their global supply chain talent shortage via in-house apprentices, considerably expanding the scope of our workforce to address the global talent shortage. Lastly, our talent advisory consulting will guide organisations on effective talent acquisition and management practices. We aim to catalyse positive transformations in India’s workforce landscape through these initiatives, fostering sustainable growth and development.