L to R: S. Selvakumar , Team Leader – Operations, Jhagadia, SGIL – Glass division; Balaji M., Manager , Knowledge & Skills, SGIL – Glass division; P. Padmakumar – Team Leader, HR , SGIL – Flat Glass division; Dr. Vadodariya Ex-Registrar, GTU and currently Principal of LD College of Engineering; Dr. J.C. Leelani, Registrar, GTU; and Dr. Askhai Agarwal, Vice Chancellor, GTU.
The Gujarat Technological University, in association with the Glass Academy, has launched the Glass Academy Skill Institute in Gujarat to train and certify students, engineers and entry level semi-skilled workers in the building façade industry and glass processing industry, and create a bank of skilled workforce. Approximately 350 students are expected will benefit in the first year of the operations.To mark the occasion, a memorandum of understanding was signed by Dr. Akshai Aggarwal, Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat Technological University, and Padmakumar, Mentor – Skill Development Initiatives, Glass Academy, and Head of Human Resources for Flat Glass Business and Research, Saint-Gobain in India.

Glass Academy
Glass Academy is an inclusive non-profit organisation, founded by Saint-Gobain, which works on knowledge dissemination amongst the various stakeholders in the Indian glass industry. Glass Academy is governed by an independent board comprising distinguished experts from academia and industry who have made significant contribution to the development of Indian glasscape. Glass Academy offers several training aids like online training modules (e-learning) on glass and glazing, skill institutes (building facade and processing) to facilitate quality workmanship, development of specific design tools, thematic workshops etc.With the advent of technology and availability of materials locally, buildings in India have started having extensive amount of glazing – either in the form of façade glazing or in the form of windows. Private and government infrastructure is also witnessing major growth in all parts of the country in which structural glazing plays a vital part of it. Owing to this boom, it is estimated that there are over 4,500 workforce in glass processing and 300,00 people employed in the organised and unorganised sections of the glass fabrication and installation industry.

Shortage of skilled hands
Glass has come into its own in the building industry. Over Rs. 3,500-4,000 crore of glass is being used in building industry. However, while the glazing industry has grown very fast, there are gaps in skills in installation and glass processing which has led to poor quality of workmanship, delayed completion and additional costs arising from rework. Also, the more complex site operations are installation of facades and it requires a range of skills and knowledge that are not yet been recognized as specific skill or trade.It is now as essential as traditional materials such as cement, steel, sand and blue metal. But this also raises a concern for those in the industry — shortage of skilled manpower — for handling glass is not like handling concrete or brick laying.

Glass Academy Skill Institute
The Glass Academy Skill Institute, a first-of-its-kind programme in the country, was launched in 2010 through an MoU between the Glass Academy and the Directorate of Technical Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Glass Academy has been at the forefront and spearheading several initiatives on skill development and in turn opening up opportunities to the needy youth in the state. The institute imparts glass processing and building facade skills to new entrants as well as existing workforce for the following trades in the glass processing and fabrication industry.

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