Equipping with skills

SKILL-CASTING

Equipping with skills

Thomas Mathew discusses how molding freshers has become the prime task of an organisation that hires freshers to meet industry requirements.

India turns out roughly four million graduates every year. They have a great potential and adequate support to be equipped with skills essential to develop remarkable innovations which overall contribute to the growth of our nation.  However with the fast growing industries, the curriculum they study often gets outdated and lacks key business skills such as communication, team work, problem solving, risk taking and coping with deadlines. This calls for a makeover in our education system to bridge the gap between curriculum and Industry.  Molding a fresher becomes one of the prime criteria for an organization which hires such freshers to meet the industry requirements.

Looking at the educational scenario in India, most of the students would like to pursue professional programs like engineering and medicine.  With very few seats made available for medicine, getting a MBBS seat is extremely difficult and the next popular choice students opt for is engineering. Engineering is one of the preferred choices for students at the plus two level in India. The competition for the top institutions is intense with students spending a lot of time and money on coaching classes to get an added advantage for the entrance tests.

Freshers are the crux and cream of the job market. Getting placed in a job after college will be their prime focus and they find any place exciting to begin their career. They enter into the professional life without a clear roadmap for their career.   They face a tough time finding jobs that suit their skills and goals, out of the 2000 odd professions in the market.  However, aligning and adapting to the needs and requirements of the organisations they join, guides them to a clear pathway for advancement in their careers and gain experience across industries.

Changing trends

Out of the four million odd students who graduate in India every year, 8 to 10 lakhs are engineers.  Seats in engineering colleges have risen at a rapid pace over the last decade. Gradually, supply has begun exceeding demand.  Reports estimate the country's technically qualified talent output at 10,72,800 while the net employee addition is just 3,40,000. So the total talent output has jumped nearly 300 per cent over the decade. The demand for engineering has resulted in mushrooming of engineering colleges in the country. Despite this, the industry complains of lack of trained quality engineers. 

With the current economic situation and the fluctuating job market, companies are adopting different strategies to deal with the internal employee retention and hiring college graduates. Hiring new graduates have been a gamble for organisations to contribute to their growth.  The hiring process is efficient and stringent.  The selection process may see only one out of 100 potential candidates who come for the interview.

These selected few engineers live on a shoe string budget in the initial months and they put continuous hours in studies which are done in different sessions using different pedagogies to fill the gap of skill requirements between the Industry and Universities. The freshers struggle to equip themselves to meet the demanding requirements of the organizations.  With diversified industries hiring these freshers, the scope of work widens the gap of producing essential skills for universities and moulding these freshers to suit the requirements of their industry becomes a challenging task.

Task of moulding

Moulding a fresher is an investment a company does, not only to cater to growth of the company but individuals also. Forming an engineer out of an engineering graduate is a classic case of metamorphosis. It is a period of struggle for engineering graduates to prove themselves as experienced engineers who can take up serious projects.  Training is the best way to equip fresh university pass outs to meet the skill requirements of the corporate world.

This investment in training fetches long term benefits consistently. However, there are challenges. Once experienced, engineers move out looking for better prospects. But for an organisation, it believes that it has contributed to the growth of the organisation as well as individuals.

Training programs include both technical and non-technical skills. While technical programs enhance the specific skill sets that meet the requirements of the organisations, non-technical programs aim at improving the confidence level in individuals. This will have a positive impact in the way the person communicates as well as carries himself during any interaction.

Checking of communication skills happens in the initial rounds of recruitment and those with good technical skills but poor communication lose out on the job. But certain companies believe in choosing candidates with required technical skills and provides training to improve their communication skills.  The company aims to encourage engineers from rural part of the state and imparts ample training to mould them effectively.  They have produced some great engineers who are now working in different parts of the world contributing to some of the best embedded technologies. They train them on soft skills and specific English courses to improve their language and communication skills as they cater to clients from International markets also.

The Training and care provided to a fresher in the initial months can provide the basis of a life time relationship with the organisation.  Values practiced by organisations are very important in influencing its own employees, especially the younger ones.  With changing trends and times, goals and dreams also change. The enthusiasm among freshers helps them align to the Industry, collaborate with the needs and mould them as individuals. 

But, a company may lose out on the efforts it invests on the individual.  A strong discipline and ethics can leave a mark on the individual’s mind which makes him/her realise the values he has carried with him in his journey from a fresher to a full fledged engineer. 

Some of them take it as a burden and some of them realise the purpose, but at a later stage in their careers, these individuals recognize the purpose and the value that was given to them by the organisation. This journey of an individual from a fresher to an experienced engineer leaves him with a beautiful feeling of transformation in life.

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