Why Industry-Driven Training Is Critical For Employ ability Amongst Indian Engineers

Jaydev Sanghavi, Executive Director, Aarvi EnconHaving completed his BE in Chemical Engineering from Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, Jaydev has been associated with Aarvi for over two decades now, and has been at the fore front of the company’s key decision making process.

With increasingly digitised operations and automation across the spectrum the world is witnessing a paradigm shift in the ways businesses today are functioning. As new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence(AI), Machine Learning(ML)and Internet of Things(IoT) penetrate industries at a rapid pace the emphasis on convenience and efficiency has evolved from just that to augmenting the roles of human teams with the use of these technologies. However, this is also a two way street, where the demand for engineers with robust skillsets to operate and enhance the use of these advanced tools and systems is at an all-time high. The problem which lies here is that despite a large number of engineering graduates in India every year, most of them do not have adequate skills to be deemed employable.

The Employability Scenario In The Age Of Emerging Technologies:

As per a study by Aspiring Minds over 80 percent of engineers graduating in India are unemployable due to a lack of new-age technology skills. The situation of existing employees will also be along similar lines if the necessary measures for reskilling and upskilling are not taken at regular intervals, given the rapid pace at which new technologies are changing procedures.

As per Gartner research while Artificial Technology is likely to get rid of 1.8 million jobs by 2020, it will create an additional 2.3 million jobs within the same period. Therefore, it is essential to equip the existing and future talent pool with relevant skillsets to make the most of the opportunities to bolster the growth and development of the tech sector.

The major challenge plaguing the talent pool of fresh engineering graduates is the insufficient understanding of the fundamentals and in turn the practical application of core concepts of coding. The widespread implementation of Automation(AI, ML & IoT)3D Printing, Smart-Plant software ERP Solutions, SAP application, Digital and Cloud Technologies are propelling this demand further. There is therefore a growing gap in the technical knowledge across domains as well
as soft skills needed to effectively handle clients amongst these graduates.

Only a handful of institutions lay emphasis on handson learning tailor made according to the industry requirements of various technical domains. The majority however focuses primarily on theory within rigid course structures which hinder students from gaining a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This greatly limits the extent to which fresh engineers can apply their existing skills in the professional realm.

How To Bridge This Gap Through A Practical, Focused Approach?
What engineering training in India needs today is for industry experts and academia to come together within dedicated institutes to cater to the dynamic needs of the technology industry. The focus should be on creating a curriculum that is centred on the practical application of industry oriented skills. This will help to harness the potential of the current talent pool by enabling them to create and innovate using advanced tools for large scale impact.

Engineering jobs of the future will require people who can not only enhance existing infrastructure but also to design and create new ‘smart’processes and systems

Engineering jobs of the future will require people who can not only enhance existing infrastructure but also to design and create new ‘smart’ processes and systems. As per Forbes data, the portion of jobs that require AI skills has grown 4.5 times since 2013. However skills like creativity, critical thinking, empathy and communication will also gain greater importance. Amongst those list¬ed in the World Economic Forum’s 10 Critical Skills for the Future Job Market, Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and People Management are those that will be crucial in the engineering space.

While machines can crunch numbers and optimize processes, they cannot produce solutions that the innovation and creativity of humans can churn-out. Additionally the 'human touch' is essential in the interaction with and management of people.

In order to create a skillset involving the above mentioned, institutes must encourage engineers to think outside the box and learn to adapt to various situations. Engineering talent must work on real world problems through industry projects guided by expert mentors and come-up with solutions to unique situations resulting from new technology. In an increasingly machine-dominated world engineers will need to have advanced problem solving skills which will assess the socioeconomic impact of technology, be it the development of cities, effect on people, or the environment.

Once the ball is rolling, organisations will benefit from having a large talent base which is already prepared with the relevant skill sets. On the other hand, employees will have time and space to unleash their creative and innovative best in the age of automation. This presents a win win scenario for both as the optimised processes and resulting impact is likely to propel the growth and development of the organisation as well as the employees for the long run.

The advent of advanced technologies has opened-up a sea of opportunities waiting to be tapped into in the technology space. With a workforce adequate in numbers but severely lacking in skills, India must flip this trend on its head by encouraging the implementation of emerging technology and associated processes at all levels from the learning to work stages.For this, it is essential that organizations, educational institutes and engineering talent actively imbibe a culture of upskilling and reskilling through practical application and experiential learning.