Skill Development Engineering a new India

National attention is today focused on the education of scientists and engineers,thanks to the increasing importance of technology in our modern economic system and the increased globalisation of scientific and technological ideas, development, and production. Elets News Network (ENN) spoke to experts who believe that skill development has to be at the core of engineering.

While focusing on the skill development across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi government is laying special emphasison skilling the youths to make them job ready. Taking it forward in a positive way, Chattisgarh will have a skill development university very soon.

Vivek Dhand, Chief Secretary, Government of Chattisgarh informs, “We are planning to open a livelihood University soon in the state as we are also focusing on skill development.”

Educating and skilling the youths of the country to enable them to get employment is the altar of the government.It is expected that overall Indian education sector’s market size will increase to Rs 602,410 crores (US$ 100.23 billion) by FY 15 from Rs 341,180 crores(US$ 56.77 billion) in FY 12. On one hand while statistics present a burgeoning opportunity, certain numbers also point out at the difficult task ahead as they suggest less than 25 percent of the graduates are actually employable. “The development of skills for 500 million Indians in less than 10 years is not only a matter of national urgency; it is astounding in its scale”, says Dr. A. DidarSingh, Secretary General, FICCI.

Sunil Arora, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneur-ship (MSDE) at the launch of the Hu-man Resource and Skill Requirement report, commissioned by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and authored KPMG shares, “There is achanging paradigm in skill training to-wards demand-driven training to en-sure employability and placement of the youth. While the reports give an insight on the quantitative side of human re-source requirement in each of the sec-tors, the research has also led to useful qualitative findings in terms of highlighting key job roles in the sector, existing skill gaps in the sectors, key interventions required to map supply and demand, etc.These will help us create a strategy tobind together the islands of excellencethat we already have in the country.”

Agreeing to the fact that there is a need to provide skill training even to the Engineering students, Dr. G. R. C Reddy, Director, National Institute of Technology, Goa says, “India today produces 1.5 million engineering graduates a year, most of them in what we call ‘circuit branches’- computer Science, IT, Electronics’ and Electrical Engineering. It is however, agreed by all that 75 per cent of these graduates are unemployed. The reasons are that both government and private colleges lack teachers of appropriate scholastic standard. Again, this is so because bright students are not joining postgraduate programmes nor are taking up research and teaching as a profession.”

Due to the fact that organisations operate in an increasingly competitive environment, it results in a need for continuous employee skill development.The rapid pace of technological change requires everyone to continue learning throughout life. Although there are a number of broad skills that employers look for in candidates, such as strong communication and organisational skills or technical knowledge, each individual field of engineering and job role will have their own specific skills set.

Emphasising on skills

Realising the importance of skill education to be imparted at the higher education level, the government has planned skill development initiatives across the country. With India metamorphosing into one of the fastest growing economies, job creation and skilling seem to be natural tools to ensure sustainable growth. As per India Skills Report 2014,of all the students entering the job market across the country, hardly 1/3rd meet the criteria of the employment set by the employers.

The severity of the situation is accentuated by many levels when the economy is looking up, new jobs are get-ting generated; but there are not enough“skilled” people available. It is this gravity of the situation that has started various initiatives to combat this problem.

In fact, the Government of India has adopted skill development as a national priority over the next 10 years. The Eleventh Five-Year Plan has a detailed road map for skill development in India and favours the formation of Skill Development Missions, both at the State and National levels, to create such an institutional base for skill development in India at the national level, a “Coordinated Action on Skill Development” with three-tier institutional structure consisting of the PM’s National Council on Skill Development, the National Skill Development Coordination Board (NSDCB)and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has been created.

Further aiding the skilling mission, in the most recent development, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) signed 13 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with twelve (12) Canadian educational institutions, including nine (9) colleges. The objectives of these MoUs are for starting Academies of Excellence for training trainers and assessors, and to create Transnational Standards with Canadian Sector Skill Councils.

Current concerns over reforming engineering education have focused attention on helping students develop skills and an adaptive expertise. In this backdrop, Ashiv Shah, Head of TIFAC Centre of Relevance and Excellence at Ajay Kumar Garg Engineering College(AKGEC) feels, “It goes without saying that the fundamentals in Engineering are core to creating a good engi 32 May 2015 / digital LEARNING neer. However, in the present backdrop,we are looking at the global picture, skill development is indispensable.”

Skill Development

He further adds, “Engineering colleges need to upgrade labs and tools, in addition to their curriculum in respect to the material available worldwide. Unfortunately engineering curriculums have not been revamped for the last many years. Today, skill development needs to majorly and urgently focus on manufacturing practices. Till now, skill development was concentrated on the servicing sector and this has to change.”

Suiting industry needs

The industry today wants readymade solutions. It comprises 30 per cent of major corporate giants, while the 70 percent belongs to small and mid-size industries. While the major companies do involve in training their resources,the remaining do not feel that they can afford to invest the time and resources.Also, in a fast changing job market,there is the fear that employees may change jobs soon, or even go to competitors, and the investment in the training becomes a waste.

Akshay Munjal, Director, BML Mun-jal University shares, “Our aim is to nurture ethical leaders with practically-oriented knowledge benchmarked with the best global standards to enable them to lead organisations to success. To make students more industry ready, we impart great importance to internships,industry visits, and labs and workshops.We also have strategic associations with world renowned organisations such as IBM, KPMG, and Siemens to ensure that our faculty and students are up to date with the latest industry practices.”

Focusing on the University’s curriculum co-designed by Imperial College London their curriculum imparts life skills such as communication, negotiation, and presentation, along with perspective courses on arts, literature,and world civilisations. This combined with technical knowledge allows BMLMunjal University students to be more well rounded, and makes them both job ready and gives them a platform to launch their careers as entrepreneurs.

S.No Sector Employment Base in 2013(million) Projected Employment by 2022(million) Increase Human Resource Requirement(2013-2022)
1 Auto & Auto Components 10.98 14.88 3.9
2 Beauty and Wellness 4.21 14.27 10.06
3 Food Processing 6.98 11.38 4.4
4 Retail 38.06 55.73 17.13
5 Media & Entertainment 0.4 1.3 0.9
6 Handlooms & Handicrafts 11.65 17.79 6.14
7 Leather and Leather Goods 3.09 6.81 3.72
8 Domestic Help 6.0 10.88 4.88
9 Gems & Jewellery 4.64 8.23 3.59
10 Telecommunication 2.08 4.16 2.08
11 Tourism, Hospitality & Travel 6.96 13.44 6.48
12 Furniture & Furnishing 4.11 11.29 7.18
13 Building, Construction & Real Estate 45.42 76.55 31.13
14 IT & ITES 2.77 5.12 2.35
15 Construction Material & Building Hardware 8.3 11 2.7
16 Textile & Clothing 15.23 21.54 6.31
17 Healthcare 3.59 7.39 3.8
18 Security 7.00 11.83 04.83
19 Agriculture 240.4 215.6 -24.8
20 Education/ skill development 13.02 17.31 4.29
21 Transportation & Logistics 16.74 28.04 11.66
22 Electronic & IT Hardware 4.33 8.94 4.61
23 Chemical & Pharmaceuticals 1.86 3.58 1.72
24 BFSI 2.55 4.25 1.7
Grand Total 459.46 578.62 119.16

The near future is going to be full of new jobs. Even today, in most streams,not just engineering, that market is full of jobs which were unheard of sometime back. Researches by top organisations like Harvard and LinkedIn support this. A recent survey suggests that an average American in their professional life will now be changing 15 jobs as compared to the present five jobs.This shows how fast-changing the market is.

Giving a picture of what the industry feels, Paresh Joshi, Academic Director, Statione Info Services Pvt. Ltd.,explains how their station language labis fostering excellence in higher education. “Need for Skills Development has been recognised across the spectrum of employers, policymakers, educators and youths, and for raising the employability of the youths from 15 per cent to further respectable level, Skills Development is a must. Station-e Skills Development Centre (SDC) has emerged as One-Stop solution across India and it can be established at college and university cam-pus to cater to the need of employability skills,” explains Joshi.

A holistic view of the engineering eco-system shows that there has to be reconsideration of the environments in which today’s engineering students will work, leading to new goals for their education. Only then can the country move to the next level.

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