Even as several companies from India Inc., confirm that theoretical knowledge is very essential for engineering students they point out that the practical knowledge that students gain is far too limited. Though company can brag about the fact that they source talent from leading B schools, the million dollar question that leading HR experts are asking is, even though business schools impart decent theoretical knowledge, are students equipped enough to face real life practical situations at the workplace? Experts from the engineering manufacturing and the consideration fraternity confirm that there exists a huge imbalance between theoretical and practical knowledge and hence, they are carrying out innovative initiatives in an endeavor to groom and nurture engineering talent of tomorrow.
The tilt of the course design is on theory and not so much on the practical application. There is a definite need to review the same and come up with more suitable approach in making learning skill based. The course design must include aspects on the latest trends in technology advancements, best in class practices in organizations, and the education must include case studies and incorporate the softer aspects required to make a student’s transition into his/her work life a smooth process.
At Godrej &Boyce, they try to bridge the gap between theory and practical knowledge though the Graduate Engineering Training (GET) program. Godrej runs a formal GET program for a period of one year or fresh engineering graduates who join them through campus placements. During this traineeship the engineers are given a mix of theoretical technical and behavioral development inputs to enhance the individual’s competency with the objective that once they are absorbed in regular employment, they are able to contribute effectively to the overall business. Besides this during induction, they are given exposure to the businesses, the products, services and so on. They are then put in the business and are assigned projects to work on and are given cross functional job rotations to gain practical learning at the shop floor. This planned development inputs spanning across the year of traineeship helps to gain knowledge and process understanding and also develop them on the soft side of managing self and team so that when they are absorbed in regular employment, they are able to hit the ground running.
In this cut throat competitive environment, it is essential for organizations to reduce cost, excel process efficiency and offer better services to the customer and these necessitate the quality improvement tools like six sigma, lean manufacturing, TPM, TQM., 5S etc to be practiced in the organizations. Vedanta Resources Plc, a Company that offers various platforms to identify and mentor talent like: (1) Group Leadership Program (GLP) was introduced with an objective to leverage the core skills of our best talents and disseminate best practices and systems, across the group (2)Entrepreneur projects are assigned to unearth entrepreneur skills among employees in which the employee from conceiving stage till the project completion stage takes the ownership and (3) Stars of business facilitates towards creating successful managers and empowering them to move far beyond their current roles, unleashing their confidence and ability to contribute as most successful business leaders of tomorrow for the Vedanta Group, across the world. Poor supply chain infrastructure and lack of mechanization are the biggest problems other than adequacy of talent. The institutes must focus on this aspect with more project oriented learning which will help students map theory with the ground reality. This should significantly reduce the learning curve for the talent pool once they are at their workplace.