The campus recruitment in engineering colleges began a few months ago with many IT companies taking in students in bulk. They were followed by companies in the manufacturing sector, who also roped in a sizeable number of students.

With the pace of recruitment slowing down, students from lesser known branches of engineering dealing with the study of materials, including rubber, plastics, polymer, mining, ceramics, petroleum and production and manufacturing are anxious. They now are banking on the few specialised firms in their areas of study that would come for recruitment shortly.

Experts say that the job prospects for the young graduates in many of these fields is not rewarding in the initial years as they are emerging areas. While most of the companies pay anything between Rs.15,000 and Rs.20,000 a month to fresh recruits, the job profile and growth opportunities favour only the dedicated few.

Since there are overlapping fields of engineering, companies prefer graduates from known branches of engineering that cover a wider range of subjects over specialised branches. For instance, chemical engineers are preferred over petroleum technology or petrochemical engineering graduates, and so are graduates in textile engineering over those who have a degree in apparel or fashion technology, say experts.

Another concern is the higher eligibility criteria, say students, quoting the instance of companies including John Deere that did not select anybody in its recruitment process from Anna University this year. “Unlike IT companies which focus on communication skills, these companies expect you to be well-versed in subjects related to material and mechanics,” says M. Tamil Selvi, a production engineer from MIT. Many companies prefer boys, and girls are often recruited only for quality management tasks, adds M. Jayanthi, her classmate.

Lack of equipment and trained faculty, and an outdated syllabus are the other challenges, say students. “For almost two years, we had a single lecturer tutoring us on aspects of gating, moulding, clamping and designing with no practical sessions,” says Amudham. A. a polymer technology student, working as software tester.

The syllabus has to catch up with industry requirements, says Vinotha V, a student of Agriculture and Irrigation, CEG. “More exposure to advancements happening globally and field work will help,” she suggests.

Besides, work sites of many core companies are located in suburban towns and places in north India that pose problems to candidates who do not wish to relocate. In fact, a lot of students from these branches have already opted for IT companies.

Most core companies expect students to join within a month of selection, hence they rope in students at the end of the seventh semester, unlike IT companies that give them time, says N. Balasubramanian, Assistant Professor, (chemical engineering), AC Tech. While more than 70 per cent of students get placed in IT companies, others choose research, and some choose to return to their fields after some work experience, says S. Sivanesan, Department head, Chemical engineering, AC Tech. In the case of emerging fields of engineering, even companies take time to be aware of such courses being offered, he adds.

To help students develop interest in such fields, he says, schools would have to conduct awareness workshops on the importance of studying material and its uses. “Every branch of engineering has scope but it depends on the student how he/she decides to go about it,” he adds.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012