Leeds University looks at improving Indian students' employability

Making employability the buzzword, Britain's Leeds University is keen to forge ties with Indian industry to get a sense of its needs. It is also in talks with the IITs and IISc for research projects and student exchange programmes.

"We have a large number of Indian students. To improve their employability opportunities in India, we are talking to corporates here to find out what they are looking for in the graduates," Martin Holmes, director (Marketing and Corporate Engagement) at Leeds, who is on a visit here, told IANS.

According to "Aspiring Minds", an employee assessment service provider's 2012 National Employability Report, about 83 percent of Indian engineering graduates are unfit for employment.

Holmes said Leeds university, in an innovative step towards improving the employability of students, has recruited "employability officers".

"We have appointed employability officers who engage with students to develop skills to get employment. These officers help them develop their skills, prepare CVs and get groomed to fit the needs of employers," Holmes said.

"We would like to do that for international students as well. The needs of industry in India would be different from thse in the UK because the economy here is growing at a faster rate. so we are meeting corporates to create an India-specific model," he said.

Leeds University has over 33,000 students from over 145 countries, including 5,000 post-graduates. It has 481 Indian students, mostly in the business and engineering streams.The university is also looking to forge ties with Indian universities and research institutes in the fields of science and technology.

Peter Jimack, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said talks were on with IIT Delhi, IIT Chennai and IISC Bangalore for research ties and students exchange programmes.
"We are looking forward to forging ties with Indian universities for research and student exchanges. We need to have a two-way relation with India which would benefit both sides," Jimack said.

"So far, it has been a one-way approach, with Indian students coming here. But now, with your higher education sector and economy growing, it is the right time to forge ties with India which will be beneficial for both sides," he said.

Holmes and Jimack, currently on a tour of India, will visit Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
In Delhi they are visiting IIT Delhi and Delhi Technical University and giving lectures to students, meeting a few corporates and engaging with the alumni.

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