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Monday, Aug 05, 2002

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Aptech Training to focus on ITES, BPO sectors

M. Somasekhar

Despite the overall slowdown in IT training and education and also Aptech's growth, a lone exception has been ARENA, the multimedia arm, which has picked up in India and abroad.


IN tune with the changing currents in the information technology (IT) market, Aptech Training Ltd has firmed up its strategy to offer focussed courseware in the IT-enabled services (ITES) and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors where, industry pundits have predicted, lie the `mega bucks' for countries such as India.

In addition to a call centre training course called Calltech, special courses tailored to the needs of areas such as banking and finance, insurance, sales and marketing were in the pipeline, said Mr Pramod Khera, CEO and Managing Director of the company.

In 2001-02 all IT training and education companies showed de-growth and Aptech was no exception. But, ``we have taken measures and reworked our business strategy to stem this downslide in revenues. These steps have started paying off,'' Mr Khera told Business Line.

"We have done segmentation of markets and narrowed down to three broad areas of our strength. These include the ITES and BPO space; institutional business (the Government sectors) and working with the formal sector (schools, college etc), he said.

Despite the overall slowdown in IT training and education and also Aptech's growth, a lone exception has been ARENA, the multimedia arm, which has picked up in India and abroad. "Encouraged by this trend we have decided to expand it from the existing 6 countries, mostly South Asia to at least 20 in the next one-year," Mr Khera said.

The new countries where Aptech will enter are the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ireland and Latin America where the multimedia industry is strong and growing. "We have lots of competition in these countries as well,'' he said.

Another focus area in the international business of Aptech, which presently has a presence in 52 countries with a training network of 2,449 centres run on the franchisee model, would be China, Korea and Vietnam. In China, a joint venture had been formed with a Beijing-based company through the State Ministry of Science and Technology, the CEO said.

Aptech has opened 100 centres and trains 15,000 students through this joint venture company. The courses are offered in Chinese and parallel teaching in English is also done. The marketing chief of the joint venture is a Chinese. It has achieved 100 per cent growth in the first year.

"Our plans for year 2002-03 is to double the number of centres and replicate it in the next few years as well,'' Mr Khera said. Other international markets the company is planning to foray into are the Latin American countries, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, North and West Africa, Nigeria and Egypt in the coming years.

In most of these developing countries, despite the dotcom bust, investments in creating IT infrastructure have gone up, throwing up opportunities.

In terms of placement, though Aptech does not guarantee a job, our efforts to provide placement is rigorous, which has yielded good results. Despite slowdown 30,000 Aptech students got placement during year 2001 against 23,000 the previous year, he said.

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