Chennai, Mar 29 (PTI) Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar launched here today BMW India’s “Skill Next” programme, aimed at imparting hands-on expertise and practical training to automobile engineering students across the country. Also Read - Tamil Nadu: Truck Carrying Mi Mobile Phones Worth Rs 15 Crore Robbed

The brand ambassador of the German luxury car manufacturer, Tendulkar launched the programme by assembling an engine and a transmission unit along with the Anna University’s College of Engineering students here at the main assembly line of the company’s factory at Mahindra World City near here. Also Read - Tamil Nadu: Ahead of Festive Season, Shops & Retail Outlets Allowed to Function Till 10 pm

Under the initiative, the luxury car manufacturer would provide 365 BMW engines and transmissions to various engineering and technical institutes across the country ‘free of cost’. Also Read - ‘My Party is Over, Hope There is No Hangover‘: Chennai Man's Self-Written Obituary Goes Viral, Makes People Emotional

The company officials said 365 engines and transmission units would be provided for learning purposes to the educational institutions at “no cost.” A company official said due to extreme rains in Chennai in the past, a ‘considerable’ number of engines and transmission units were ‘water affected’ and as per the BMW quality standards, these parts could not be used in the vehicles.

These parts were insured and insurer Bharti AXA General Insurance honoured the claims. BMW India planned for the initiative as the engines and transmission units would be used as a learning resource to impart theoretical and practical knowledge to the students, an official said.

“Skill Next is a vision which we are extremely passionate about. Apart from the theoretical knowledge, the aspiring engineers and the youngsters will have a special opportunity for practical training as well. It is like me playing book cricket without a bat,” Tendulkar said, after launching the initiative at the factory.

“The learning experience would also be a fantastic opportunity for the students to chase their dreams ,” he said, adding BMW India would have a solid ride in the automobile industry with the initiative.

BMW India’s president Vikram Pawah said thousands of students would get access to the technology apart from its theoretical knowledge.

“There is going to be a big shortage of technical skills in the next 10 years and under this initiative, thousands of students will get access to the technology,” Pawah said.

He said the students will also get an opportunity to learn in ‘motion’ and not in a ‘static way’.

Pawah said 40 after-sales master technicians would also conduct train-the-trainer workshops at BMW dealerships in more than 20 cities.

“The module has been devised by professional trainers from BMW Group India Training Center and BMW Group Plant Chennai. The workshops will be a combination of classroom sessions and hands on practical sessions…,” he said.

The occasion also marked the 11th anniversary celebration of the launch of Chennai factory.

Pawah said so far Rs 12 billion has been invested by the company in India.

BMW group’s Chennai plant Managing Director Jochen Stallkamp said, “We have grown in multifold ways and have expanded the capacity at the factory.” “We are locally producing eight different car models here. We will also start local production of Mini-Countryman very soon (at the facility),” he said.

He said over 100 engineering colleges and 125 ITIs will benefit from the Skill Next initiative.

According to the company officials, BMW Group India has 23 car models, 15 motorcycles and 50 dealership networks across the country.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.