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One-Stop-Shop for Assessment Solutions

By GovernanceToday
In Interview
March 6, 2017
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Started almost a decade ago by Harpreet Singh Grover and Vibhore Goyal, CoCubes has well created a mark in the hiring and assessment ecosystem. The CoCubes’ business,which has prominent verticalsof corporate, college and vocational assessments, has conducted over two million assessments for 600 clients across 350 cities. Harpreet Singh Grover, the Co-Founder & CEO, CoCubes shares more about his assessment and skilling India plans, how equipped is his company to create assessments that directly tie in with current and future employability with greater returns…

“We at Educomp have been  constantly skilling people on the use  of technology particularly in the area of IT/ ITeS.  Now, along with various Sector  Skill Councils, we  have taken up the mission to train  and empower people across  various sectors including Retail,  Automotive, BFSI, constructions, Life  science, hospitality, security and  domestic worker sectors. We  are poised to relentlessly train 100000 people in  next 1 year across these sectors.  The training will be conducted pan  India as we move  forward.“

Give us an overview of CoCubes business  and its contribution in skilling India.
As a hiring and assessment company, the foremost strategy is to connect employers with candidates. When we started, we observed, it wasabout making the connection alone and we thought that is important. Subsequently, in 2011 we realized that connection Alone does not help. What matters ultimately is to figure out what competency the company would need to hire people and what competency people need to have.

Talking about the assessment practices, online assessments are the common practice. We bought a technology assessment company and started doing assessments online. That was a very big change for us. A greater responsibility came, as we need to measure the skills properly, we need to measure for a particular job in lines of what skill is required, and we also need to be able to back both of them.

We do skill measurements for 600 corporates pan India, including the largest IT companies, automobile companies, for all of whom, CoCubes hires candidates. Hiring, followed by a strong skill assessment practice of CoCubes helps setting a benchmark for the skills.

Then as the third step, in the last 2 and half years, we are associated with the government initiatives and Skill India to develop online and physical vocational skills.

Not only we, or the industry, but even as part of the entire Skill India movement, the government also believes that it is not about any degree. Rather it is about whether one possesses the right skill or not. For a plumber it is not important for us to know what course he has done, rather, important is whether or how skillfully he knows his plumbing job. In a country like India where the skilling percentage is only 1-2%, which is far behind the marks of other countries who are at 40-45% mark, it is all the more important to focus on the right skills. That is where CoCubes stand today,doing skill assessments, hiring for jobs and working with the government schemes and initiatives while working with Sector Skill Councils.

How do you set benchmarks?
CoCubes takes care of benchmarking for all skill assessments. At what skill level can a person be marked as good enough to take up the job! For this, we need to measure the skills during assessments.The company then looks at the skill level and how much the person is able to perform with that. This benchmarking is for the organized sector.

Coming to the unorganized sector, for last two and half years we are the assessment partners of different Sector Skill Councils. Here, Government has decided the framework to assess the skill abilities. Within that framework, we measure the skill level the person possesses in order to get certified. And we measure that skill level.

So there is a shift in focus to the unorgnised sector now?
Definitely. It was absent till before some 3-4 years. Setting up a Skill development Ministry in skilling in itself is a big step forward in this direction. We went down the path of making social acceptance for different job roles, justifying why should one have a certificate on plumbing, or in tourism or in other sectors.

What changes has it brought in the assessment patterns of CoCubes while shifting focus from orgnised to unorganized  sector?
The problem is, in unorganized sector there is no employer. It is only an individual who has to do all the needful. So, if the government does not make the intervention here, for example, for a plumber to undergo a professional training, then who else? The whole skills programs are now driven by the government initiatives and investments. And we do the necessary assessments of skill sets. Earlier, even if we would have thought of assessing a plumber, there would have no buyers. Now, we can do a plumbing assessment and there is somebody who is willing to pay for it.

We would like to do skill assessment for at least a million people over next three years. Recently we are acquired by Aon Hewitt, which has a big focus on working with government through Make in India and Skill India. This will put us in a bigger role in both the organized as well as in the unorganized sector.

What are the domains you have taken up currently for skill assessments?
We assess on plumbing, IT &ITes, tourism, hospitality, retail, telecom and some more sectors.

Tell us about the Aon Hewitt acquisition? How does that bring value to your business?
Aon Hewitt is the largest HR consulting company, which helps organisations make better hiring decisions and improve performance by predicting the success of their potential employees. CoCubes, connects  academic institutions and corporates using assessments, creating a seamless hiring ecosystem. Aon is orienting its business focus in India to become faster in this space. While they have very India focus at this moment, but they were not doing any specific or vocational assessments. So we are doing the specific sector skill assessments for them. And the assessments are quite all round, covering all aspects of skills, attitudes, behavior, etc,. starting from blue collar to ceo levels. Our goal is to do global learning and apply these to Indian ecosystem so as to measure skills correctly.

What are the industry  concerns in the skill training or  assessment sector?
Govtjas put enough incentives in place. Secotr skill councils are proactively attending industry concerns. While it had a slow start but it will pick up soon. Through RPL the trainee gets benefit once certified as well as the industry also gets the benefit. For the unorganized sector, there are two parts- one is we become accountable under through CSR, the pther part of is entrepreneurship development. For exaplme, the plumber needs to see himself as an entrepreneur.

You have a lot many academic and institutional collaborations. What is your take on looking at formalizing assessment practices by integrating assessment in all skill education level?
Smarter engineering colleges are running good courses, with adequate assessment practices. Integration of assessment is a must in all skill education. If we are unable to measure the skill levels before and after acquiring the skills, the entire effort becomes meaningless. So formalizing assessment is absolutely necessary. Outcome mapping is vital. People who come forward for skilling should take responsibility for measuring the skills ultimately. Government cannot create jobs, which we must understand. So, it is trying to create a system which enables further creation of jobs. Now the government needs to look at creating the environment so that more jobs are created through entrepreneurship, and the existing enterprises can grow on a fast pace. Not only skills and jobs, government also needs to look at value creation, so that the jobs they get are recognized and well accepted.

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