TUV Rheinland, the global major providing technical safety, certification and training services, will invest at least ₹100 crore in the next three years in India. It has also geared up for some acquisitions and partnerships to shore up its presence in the country significantly.

In an interview with BusinessLine here, Enrico Ruhle, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, South Asia, said the company’s employee strength, which is 1,000 at present, will be doubled over 2,000 by the end of 2017.

Expansion plans Expressing positive optimism on industrial growth in the near future under the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government, Ruhle said the company will aggressively pursue a merger and acquisition policy so that it will result in multi-fold expansion. It is betting big on grabbing a fair share of the huge skill training opportunity. “We are looking at a projected 20-million-people-a-year skill training demand in India,” Ruhle said.

TUV Rheinland is all set to sign in a new partner in October. Without divulging the name, Ruhle said the partnership will be in the area of industrial services in India and overseas and will have around 1,000 employees. “We are looking at making three to four acquisitions by 2017, especially in the areas of training and infrastructure,” he added.

Eyes skill training The Bangalore-headquartered company wants to ride on the success of its acquisition of Kochi-based NIFE (National Institute of Fire Education) early this year, to expand its training base substantially. NIFE, with 75 offices, is focussed on vocational training in fire safety. The TUV Rheinland NIFE Academy is eyeing the Gulf countries as well.

Back home in Germany, it is amongst the biggest training providers, offering over 600 courses. Drawing strength from this, the company recently signed a contract with Siemens to be the expert trainer and run the latter’s Centre of Competence in Mumbai and provide training to nearly 1,000 people.

Similarly, another agreement with Vedanta Group will see the setting up of a Centre of Excellence in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. To be inaugurated in November, it will see around a 1,000 students being provided vocational training in welding, automotive maintenance, retail, and renewables, Ruhle said.

Starting in 2015, the target is to train 12,000 people annually and rapidly scale it up to reach a figure of one lakh in five to six years. Along with acquisitions, starting training facilities, and taking up projects as outsourcing from corporates, partnerships with German Industries for vocational training will also be firmed up to meet this ambitious plan, Ruhle said.

He said that India was among the company’s fastest growing markets globally. In the last four years, an investment of ₹100 crore has been made.

Focus areas: A total of 2 lakh sq ft of testing and training facilities have been created across the country. If you add the Seimens and Rajasthan facilities in the offing, this figure would be doubled, he added.

In the long term, the company wants to get into testing and certification of IT security, Agri and Food Safety, Wi-Fi and mobility areas as well as overall product safety, which include a whole range of gadgets that are flooding the market, Ruhle said.

“With the `Make in India’ initiative, we expect India to pitch hard to emerge as a global hub for manufacturing. There is potential for multinationals to set up manufacturing base in the country, taking advantage of the huge pool of youngsters, Ruhle said. “German companies are keen as I understand from my discussions. I am confident that we can gear up to provide the necessary global testing and certification requirements,” he added.