Bridging Industry-Academia gap to accelerate graduate deployment

Employment is a subject that is discussed much but not enough is said about employability. Every year, lakhs of young talent graduate from engineering colleges in India. There is demand for their skills too, as is apparent from the volume of campus placements taking place every year. But is this talent ready to hit the road running? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no. Nearly 80% of Indian engineering graduates do not have the technical and behavioural skills to navigate the corporate structure. That’s a staggering number, especially for organizations that conduct campus recruitments regularly. Training fresh graduates for highly skilled roles in the knowledge economy costs IT industry immensely.

Until 2019, ITC Infotech used to spend around 3-6 months on fresh graduates in the learning centre to impart training on their behavioural and technical skill sets before they could be assigned to projects. In the limited time institutions have with students, the focus is highly on the academia and they completely miss out on preparing students with the requisite skills that’s required in the corporate world. Top grades don’t always translate to practical understanding and application of knowledge. Even today, academia and industry continue to be poles apart and students continue to struggle with specific skills required in their corporate roles – both technical and behavioural aspects.

Each employee has a far longer learning cycle, which delays their deployment on projects. This is a significant loss of time for both – the employees and the organization. Added to this is the challenge of limited social skills that hinders idea- and knowledge-sharing between cross functional teams.

ITC Infotech saw the opportunity to bridge this academia-corporate gap and embarked on a sustainable campus learning program – Prarambh.

Prarambh, a new beginning

At ITC Infotech, we have always looked for innovative solutions to bridge the skill gap between what fresh graduates bring to the table and what the industry needs.  We fundamentally believed that students did not have to wait to join the organization to start their learning program. Hence we designed the program to start in their final year after the offer letter is rolled out. Thanks to its virtual nature, Prarambh facilitates a socialized learning environment where peers from across the country can collaborate with each other as well as with ITC Infotech leaders and subject matter experts.

Launched in 2019, Prarambh strives to upskill the incoming batch of campus hires while reducing the time and efforts spent in training after onboarding. The program has efficiently bridged the industry-academia gap in several ways.

  •   Reduced time and efforts in training – Imagine a bootcamp training period is reduced to nearly one-third of the usual time. Prarambh made it possible with intensive training for 6 to 9 months after preplacement offers while students were still in college
  •   Reusable training materials –Our outstanding, reusable modules put an end to the woes of repetitive efforts in creating training materials. These materials focus on actual job requirements across technical and behavioural aspects
  •   SME connect facilitation-In addition to the training, we firmly believe the new joiners must understand how each domain functions and get a high-level, real-life perspective from leaders. Therefore, we have facilitated their periodical interaction with our SMEs
  •   A perfect amalgamation of formal and informal learning-A balance of formal and informal education was introduced. With this approach, Prarambh has recorded active participation and holistic development in students and they were also able to interact with peers from other colleges across the country.
  •  Interaction through a social platform – To improve networking skills, we introduced the informal social platform Wiksate, which helps organisations engage employees in knowledge interactions to deliver formal and informal (social and experiential) learnings. More importantly, the online platform enabled us to deliver anywhere, anytime online learning which became even more critical during the pandemic and students could learn at their ease.

ITC Infotech continues to nurture a culture of constant learning, skilling, and reskilling to prepare its workforce to be future-ready. Prarambh will continue to be focused on strengthening the industry-academia engagement and reducing the skill-gap to support the company’s growth and transformational journey.


Author:

Reena Daniel
Chief Of Staff (CHRO Office)
ITC Infotech

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