Ethical Performance
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Wal-Mart addresses skills in Punjab

May 2009

A retail training unit has been established by an Indian subsidiary of Wal-Mart to improve the work-related skills of people living in the Indian Punjab.

Bharti Wal-Mart Private has teamed up with the Punjab government to set up the Bharti Wal-Mart Training Centre in Amritsar at the Government Institute of Garment Technology, which is run by the Punjab government’s technical education department.

Unemployment is a serious problem in India, but unemployability, which creates the skills gap, is equally serious. Recent studies show that 57 per cent of young Indians lack access to training opportunities to make them employable.

Students at the Amritsar centre will be trained as salespeople, floor assistants and supervisors. About 125 are expected to be trained every month and all will have 100 per cent scholarships. Wal-Mart says there is a large element of self-interest in its move, as it desperately needs skilled people to work in its cash-and-carry outlets and retail stores.

Raj Jain, managing director and chief executive of Bharti Wal-Mart Private, said: ‘We are close to opening our cash-and-carry operations in the coming months and one of the major challenges we have faced is getting talent that is job-ready with the right customer service mindset and requisite skills set. It is simply not available.

‘We’re delighted to have found a forward-thinking partner in the government of Punjab, which readily extended its hand when we suggested we could offer our experience to help young people gain employment skills.’

Bharti Wal-Mart Private is a joint venture of Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart that serves small retailers, manufacturers and farmers. It aims eventually to create other similar centres in the Punjab.

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