Creating a job - ready workforce

IN SYNC: Aligning the engineering curriculum to industry requirements will see an increased placement record. Year after year, India produces lakhs of engineers, yet there is shortage of employable and skilled workforce. According to available data, only 20 to 25 per cent of the engineering graduates passing out annually are directly employable and the large pool of unemployed graduates keeps increasing every year.

In recent years, the Information Technology (IT) majors and top notch institutions have taken the initiative to train the students in campuses itself to get them industry-ready. It is a two-way process by which both are mutually benefited. The colleges get to show better placement record and improve on credibility. If you go by the numbers, the IT majors, who will be recruiting 1.5 lakh students this year, can directly absorb the students saving time and money.

Kala Vijayakumar, chairperson, SSN Engineering College, says, "The dynamic changes in the industry are effectively communicated to the institutes which are also a part of the Syndicate of Universities where they are actively involved in suggesting relevant changes in the academic programmes."
"Apart from technological skill development, there is a major stress on improving the soft skills of the students."

Srikant Moorthy, senior vice-president and group head, education and research, Infosys, says, "The Campusconnect programme developed by Infosys focuses on developing the competitive levels of the students. We aim to achieve this by training the faculty and also by organising webinars and seminars for the students."

In the Campusconnect's faculty enablement programme, both the content and approach are shared by Infosys. Faculty are encouraged to take up sabbatical at Infosys centres for three months and thereby gain first-hand experience of the industry. Students also get to visit IT companies during the industrial visits. Infosys also conducts a national-level contest for engineering students in programming skills. Students can also download projects from the Campusconnect portal.

On the same lines, Cognizant has designed 'Evolve' a training module for soft skills and personality development for students. They are trained to fall in line with the industry expectations. The training programme focuses on making students culturally aligned to the industry and work environment, improving leadership skills, decision-making, project management abilities, interview skills and soft skills. As an outcome of the training programme, some of the students are also absorbed in the industry. By building a sustained relationship with academia, the industry is also greatly benefited, say Cognizant professionals.

Engineering students get to do summer projects and internships in many IT companies. Wipro's Mission TenX, a faculty training programme, has been successfully implemented across institutions in India. Philip Praveen, training and placement officer, Rajalakshmi Engineerig College (REC), Chennai, says, "The contribution by IT majors in making students employable is phenomenal." REC largely collaborates with Tata Consultancy Services and organises workshops and guest lectures. The faculty visits the Innovation Lab of the TCS at Siruseri periodically.

The biggest investment for the IT companies is made in terms of time, since the employees are involved personally. A considerable time is spent on being in touch with the faculty, students and their changing requirements to bring about changes required in the programme.

While engineering colleges are working on innovative ventures and tie-ups with industries, majority of arts and science colleges are yet to reach the maturity level for the industries to play a pro-active role in student training.

The arts colleges do not have constant interaction with the industry to align their curriculum to industry needs.

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