Young engineers scale down ambitions

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BIG COMPROMISE: Girls wait for their turn at the centralised selection for apprentice training in Hyderabad on Thursday.
BIG COMPROMISE: Girls wait for their turn at the centralised selection for apprentice training in Hyderabad on Thursday.

D.V.L. Padma Priya

HYDERABAD: With their future encapsulated in a folder, the anxious faces looked around nervously as the names were being registered. With a prayer on their lips, the youngsters made their hesitant walk towards the interview tables.

That was the scene at the Government Institute of Printing Technology on Thursday where the centralised selection for apprenticeship training was on. Representatives of over 30 major industries were present at the two-day programme being conducted by the Board of Apprenticeship Training and Commisionerate of Technical Education.

“The chances of getting an IT job are bleak and I thought this is a good opportunity for me to acquire technical skills,” said M. Deepak, an engineering graduate from Khammam. And the apprenticeship programme seemed like the next best option after he was laid off by a call centre.

That seems to be the trend among many young engineers who clearly see the writing on the wall and have scaled down their ambitions, so to say. Otherwise, why would they clamour for apprenticeship where the payment is relatively meagre compared to the five-figure salaries they had been earning before?

“Job security is more important for me rather than salary. Anyway, I wasted my time in a call centre for a couple of years; now I want to get back to my core subject of electrical engineering,” explained N. Ashok, also from Khammam.

There are others like K. Vijaya, an electrical engineer, who now insists that it was better to be an apprentice with a reputed public sector company like the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). “Here, chances of being absorbed are high. After my BPO stint, I find being an apprentice with a stipend of Rs. 2,650 a stable option,” she said.

“Last year, only 186 graduates turned up, but now we have seen over 600 engineering graduates on day one and we expect at least 1,000 on Friday,” said Madhusudhan Rao, Training and Placement Officer, Department of Technical Education.

The Training Board too plans to double its intake. “I would not expect a mechanical engineer with a distinction to apply for an apprentice post with us. But this year the trend seems to have changed,” observed R. Prabhakar, Principal, Zonal Staff Training College, APSRTC.

“In the past few years, manufacturing industry has suffered due to lack of manpower as most graduates preferred IT sector. This recession will favour core engineering industries,” said E. Shivshankar, a scientist from National Remote Sensing Agency. Agrees A.A. Hussain, Senior Deputy General Manager, ECIL: “We have had a tremendous response this year and noticed that many candidates are reverting to their original engineering subjects.”

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