Partnering for success: Australian institute revs up auto skills training in India

In a landmark Australia-India collaboration, Australia’s Kangan Institute has partnered with Government of Gujarat and Maruti Suzuki to establish India’s first International Automobile Centre of Excellence (iACE).

Since its launch in 2021, Kangan Institute has helped iACE deliver automotive courses and industry-led automotive teacher training programs, including a new course in electric vehicle safety.

‘We are the first Australian skills training centre to set up a joint venture in India,’ says Giulian Di Maggio, Director – Automotive, Kangan Institute. ‘We have a great partnership with iACE, and it shows the potential for high-calibre vocational training in India.’

Kangan Institute is also helping India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to strengthen competency-based training and assessment for iACE trainers, as part of the Australian Government’s International Skills Training (IST) program.

Australia’s specialist automotive training institute

Kangan Institute has a long history of vocational education and training dating back to the 1850s. It runs 4 campuses across metropolitan Melbourne.

The institute moved its leading automotive programs to the state-of-the-art Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Melbourne in 2006.

‘We have approximately 3,000 students at any given time,’ says Di Maggio. ‘About 90% of our students are doing apprenticeships. This means they can learn and earn in a real industry workplace as part of their qualification.’

Kangan Institute’s reputation is well known across Australia. The institute was named Australian Large Training Provider of the Year in 2022. Today, its brand is growing in India through world-class training programs.

Rising interest in vocational training in India

‘In India today, there is real demand for advanced skills training,’ says Di Maggio. ‘For example, the Indian auto industry is now incorporating far more technology in locally made vehicles, creating demand for more highly skilled workers.’

This observation aligns with insights gleaned by Austrade’s Delhi-based team.

‘There is a surge of interest in tech-based skills training in India,’ says Leo Bremanis, Austrade Trade and Investment Commissioner in New Delhi. ‘Training organisations and state governments in India are seeking to align to India’s National Education Policy 2020.

‘The policy aims to embed vocational training in institutions and outlines a commitment to internationalisation,’ he adds. ‘It means Indian organisations are now looking to other countries for partnerships — to create and deliver advanced skills training programs.’

Australia excels at advanced skills training

An industry networking opportunity brought India and Kangan Institute together.

‘An Executive Director at one of India’s biggest auto manufacturers – Maruti Suzuki – met our Executive Director at an industry event,’ says Grant Petch, Project Manager at Kangan Institute. ‘There was a meeting of minds.’

Maruti executives then travelled to Melbourne to visit Kangan Institute. ‘Maruti liked the bespoke software we use to manage teaching,’ says Petch. ‘And they loved that we have specific ways of teaching – including self-paced modules.’

‘What they recognised was that Australia was very good at training apprentices and that those skills are transferable,’ says Di Maggio.

The 2 organisations quickly developed a shared vision. They decided to create an advanced auto training institute unlike anything that existed in India.

A strategic opportunity for Australian trainers

The new iACE centre opened in March 2021 on a 2-acre site in Gujarat. Since then, Kangan Institute has developed multiple online training modules in Melbourne. iACE staff deliver these courses in India.

According to iACE General Manager, E. Rajiv, the student reaction has been amazing.

‘Their curiosity cannot be quenched enough,’ says Rajiv. ‘Most attendees are students from local colleges in Gujarat. At iACE, they learn how to turn academic ability into a practical commercial service.

‘Our teachers share the enthusiasm,’ he adds. ‘Kangan Institute developed train-the-trainer modules, which we run jointly with dedicated support from Kangan Institute trainers.’

Accelerating the roll-out

In the financial year to March 2022, iACE graduated 467 students. Kangan Institute anticipates iACE will train 3,000 to 5,000 students per year from 2023.

According to Rajiv, Kangan Institute’s involvement is ongoing.

‘Australian vocational education and training has a great reputation,’ he says. ‘Partnering with Kangan Institute means learning global best practices and training methodologies. It also includes techniques for delivering large-scale training to an industry-based audience.

‘We are working with Kangan Institute for all the futuristic training programs, like electric vehicles. There’s a lot of shared passion.’

The future for Australia-India vocational skills training

Di Maggio is proud of what iACE has achieved in India. He says the centre has taken Australian vocational expertise and turned it into something unique.

‘In Australia, we deliver the latest technology in terms of auto-skills training, but what iACE does in India is exceptional,’ he says. ‘It’s a very caring approach: the results are outstanding, and the staff commitment is amazing.

‘The feedback from the students is great,’ says Di Maggio. ‘They also like it because there’s very good alignment with a high-quality Australian provider that has a great brand.

‘Our goal is to help pioneer a new form of skills training in India. We will continue to develop tech-based vocational courses that combine formal education with practical, hands-on learning to help our partners in India meet their skills needs — and help our learners achieve successful outcomes.’

Watch a video on Kangan Institute's success in India.

Australia-India Future Skills Initiative (FSI).

In 2022, the Australian Government launched the Australia-India Future Skills Initiative (FSI). It provides a formal framework for developing skills-training collaborations in India.

The FSI is a 4-year program led by Austrade. It is designed to help India upskill its booming workforce though partnerships with Australian training organisations. These include TAFEs, independent Registered Training Organisations, dual-sector universities and education technology companies.

To find out more about opportunities for Australian education in India, please contact

Trade and investment opportunities with India

The Australia-India Business Exchange (AIBX) helps boost trade and investment between India and Australia.