LED lighting is emerging as one of the brightest career options in the Indian economy. But, unfortunately, there is not enough talent available to meet the growth

Diksha P Gupta


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(Image courtesy: www.cali-light.com)

The global economic slowdown in the year 2008-09 was a major blow to the engineering community. That was the time when many thought of switching to alternative career options that flourish despite economic downturn. Well, there is nothing that can guarantee a safe future but LED lighting is one field that is destined to grow in all circumstances, which is why the experts like to call it a future-proof career option.

LED is where the growth is
Vijay Kumar Gupta, managing director, Kwality Photonics, says, “LED enjoys the reputation of being a growing segment worldwide even if the economies are facing a global slow-down. One section that is consistently growing is LED-led technology. It will continue to retain its fast paced growth all across the world and India is no exception. We are growing at a rate of 25-30 per cent. I think if we can have government purchasing on proper track, we should see almost double the sales within the next two years.”

LED lighting will take time to become commonplace in India but the fast-paced growth in the segment is tempting many international players to venture in the market. A glimpse of it can be seen in the electronics and LED expos being organised in the country. Companies like Wipro and Philips are banking big on the Indian market and hence they have chosen to invest in this sector.

Shailesh K. Tokekar, group manager-marketing, Wipro Lighting, says, “We have a large manufacturing facility in India, based out of Aurangabad. It is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with all the latest equipment. We also have a state-of-the-art experience centre there and a testing and certification laboratory. Wipro has invested heavily into R&D. Around 30 per cent of the workforce at Wipro’s LED division works on innovating new technology. This is the dedicated staff that I am talking about. It is difficult to give a number but I think it is sizeable. Given the fact that LED is one of the most growing segments in lighting, we are looking for constant expansion opportunities.”

Needless to say, LED lighting is emerging as one of the brightest career options particularly in the Indian economy. But is there enough talent available to meet the growth? Unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’!

Dearth of talent
In LED lighting sector, the demand for talent is much more than the supply. Gupta paints the real picture of demand and supply of talent: “A large number of players are willing to enter the sector. Since it is too early to say, probably the sector may show a little bit of sluggishness. But once the sales take off, I think the amount of innovation required to keep pace with the rest of the world is quite large. And then there will a huge demand for the engineers as well as people holding diplomas from ITIs. This sector is already getting very lucrative because of the power supply constraints. Large-scale manufacturing of LED is already happening in east and west. India is also getting on the bus now. ”

Sumit Joshi, senior director-marketing, Philips Lighting, shares, “LED lighting is one of the emerging technologies but colleges in India have not upgraded themselves to meet this demand.”

Dheeraj Kapoor, director, Sahasra Sambhav Skill Development, adds, “Unfortunately, the colleges are not taking the LED lighting education seriously. The power electronics topic is handled in part in B.Tech courses, where they give preliminary education about LEDs. Students are not aware of the advanced LEDs, especially SMD devices, available in the market. They are not aware of the technology used in the SMD devices that are primarily driving the LED market right now. Power electronics is taught at a very basic level in the Indian colleges. So the current technologies that involve higher efficiencies are not covered in the actual curriculum. Thirdly, luminaries are not even touched upon.”

Here’s a solution…
The curriculum in colleges is designed as per the AICTE norms. In AICTE norms, LED as an industry segment is not very clearly defined, because it is a very recent development. Unfortunately, the curriculum taught in Indian colleges is outdated. It is not up-to-date with what is happening in the industry.

Like in other fields of engineering, finishing schools play a prominent role for engineers willing to enter LED lighting field too. Sahasra Sambhav Skill Development is one such institution in Noida. Talking about the three-month course that the institution offers, Kapoor says, “What we offer is an add-on certification course. Typically, B.Tech graduates in electronics and communication or electrical and electronics streams can enrol for this three-month programme. We cover multiple aspects of LED lighting.”

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