Fill skill gap

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Fill skill gap

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 | Dr BK Panigrahy

Fill skill gap

Lack of job-readiness remains a major concern for a large number of graduates.Dr BK Panigrahy tells you how institutes can tackle this and make students job-ready

According to different estimates, India produces around 15 lakh engineers every year and three lakh management graduates. However, an important question here is whether all of them are employable? Do degree holders also bring with them the skills needed on the job? The answer unfortunately is in the negative!

India’s industry leaders and corporate houses have long been complaining of the gap between market demand and student academic knowledge. Lack of job-readiness remains a major concern for a large number of graduates and organisations underscore that they have to invest considerable time and money in equipping the fresh hires with the requisite training to be able to join the workforce effectively. Most engineering students in India have mainframe knowledge but lack job specific skills. This statement was confirmed when a machine learning based assessment of software development skills was conducted for over 36,000 engineering students. The recently concluded aspiring minds study found out that there is a massive skill gap when it comes to job specific requirements with employability for electronic engineers 7.07 per cent, designer engineer’s 5.55 per cent, civil engineers’ 6.48 per cent and for chemical design engineer’s 1.64 per cent. 

Theoretical knowledge of the domain, through absolutely critical, is not sufficient to make engineering graduates job ready. This is why apart from domain-based education, educational institutions must also modify their curriculum patterns to serve the objectives of giving practical knowledge, skill training and personality development.

Personality Development and communication skills

No matter how good an engineer you are, you also need to be a congenial personality to be able to work in a team. Interpersonal skills and the art of communicating effectively are very important skills particularly for people whose work requires people handling. Personality development and communication skills programmes will assist people in realising their true potential as well as instill in them some significant interpersonal skills. Colleges must focus on inculcating traits like positive attitude, right body language, power dressing, importance of commitment and choosing the correct words while communicating — both written and verbal.

Industry internship programmes

Prior industrial experience and exposure to practical training are the most critical elements that make an individual job-ready. This is why it is very important to ensure that students undergo several internship programmes during the course of their education.

Closer industry-academia ties

For educational institutions to be able to train students in what is exactly needed on the job, they must have a close understanding of the same. This is why it is extremely important for educational institutions to develop closer ties with the industry. This must be done through regular visits and mentorship programs with industry leaders. At the same time, industry members must also be taken on board while deciding the curriculum of courses and modifications needed in it.

Foreign language courses

Engineering is a thriving industry which employees around 10-15 million people across the globe which means engineers from one part of the world may at some point or another work with those of a different country which is why a foreign language course will come in handy especially when they have to work together. From automotive, aerospace, construction to civil, chemical and IT engineers play a key role in many sectors which is why colleges and universities must offer foreign league courses to engineering students as it helps them adapt well to challenges and make them a global entity.

Flexible curriculum

Future engineers need to be more than just technically competent as they must be able to refresh their skills continually to remain relevant in an ever-changing world. Introduction of provisions for additional courses, electives and micro specialisation will help students gain the upper hand in job interviews as well pursue other topics of interest study of which can come in handy if the need to utilise the specific knowledge arises.

The writer is Registrar, IIIT Naya Raipur


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