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A job after college? Try reinforced plastics

Last updated on: February 23, 2011 15:53 IST

A job after college? Try reinforced plastics

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Dilip Kumar Jha in Mumbai
Faced with a big shortage of skilled workforce, the Rs. 15,000-crore re-inforced plastics' composites industry has started preparing to train fresh graduates through professional business schools.

The industry's representative body, the FRP Institute. has tied-up with Mumbai-based University Department of Chemical Technology to launch diploma and certificate courses in reinforced plastics composites.

UDCT is first conducting a summer vacation course with a batch of 40 students this year; there will be one in the winter season, too. After that, the course will be run through the year.

The institute is looking at more such tie-ups with other business schools.

Pradip Thakkar, chairman of the FRP Institute said: "The biggest challenge before us is to generate skilled manpower in the industry, which is currently affected badly by the lack of innovations over several years.


Image: Industry is facing shortage of skiller workforce
Photographs: Reuters
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We are in touch with many government departments to press the uses of more composites' materials, as in coaches and buses, for which innovative products will be required. This does not mean the industry is today unable to meet customers' requirement."

The industry requires skilled manpower for the next generation's growth, for which we need to start today, Thakkar added.

Today, the industry employs nearly 100,000 people directly and indirectly, of which 40 per cent are skilled. Investment worth about Rs 20,000 crore (Rs. 200 billion) is in the pipeline for the next five years. The industry requires another 100,000 professionals to deliver the demand of user industries.


Image: Sector has 100,000 employees
Photographs: Reuters
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Rapid growth in transportation requires innovative products for replacing steel and other metals for transport and marine applications. The FRP Institute has had several rounds of discussion with officials of the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala.

"The RCF officials were impressed with our views on the extensive use of composites and assured consideration of our proposal. Until now, they have been using more of steel materials, which, if replaced with composites, will not only save energy for running coaches due to lighter weight but also save investment money," Thakkar added.

The industry has proposed the government exempt composites' products from excise duty and allow 100 per cent depreciation on capital investment in composites' products The government must include such items in its focused product scheme for exports, Thakkar said.

Despite being a good conductor of electricity and being light weight, long lasting and maintenance-free, per capita consumption of composites products in India is 0.25 kg, as against 10 kg in America.


Image: Consumption of composites products is low
Photographs: Reuters
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