EDUCATION PLUS

Grooming students for corporate environment

While corporates attempt to find a fine balance between academic achievement and interpersonal skills in potential employees, a majority of students passing out of colleges are found to be lacking in communication and interpersonal skills. Most often, in colleges soft-skill development takes a back seat in the scramble for academic pursuit.

This gradually widening gap between the industry’s expectations and the students’ skill sets have motivated companies such as Expertus, a human resource firm based in Chennai, to collaborate with colleges for training programmes. Expertus has a ‘College to Corporate’ programme through which students are groomed according to the needs of companies.

The programme is drawn over 36 - 60 hours and combines classroom training, e-learning as well as web-based assessments. Designed for students who are in their final year, the programme sharpens their interpersonal skills and their personality. “With India becoming a global economy, a corporate employee is required to multitask and interact with clients worldwide,” says Srinivas Krishnamurthi, managing director, Expertus.

In the case of engineering students, the programme focuses on numerical, verbal and analytical abilities. The communication development module focuses on English language skills and the finer aspects of interpersonal communication. A platform is also provided for students to practise their language and communication skills.

The company has tied up with around 10 colleges in Chennai and is planning to expand it to other parts of Tamil Nadu.

For colleges, tying up with an external agency helps in planning the training programme effectively. “The faculty members tend to concentrate on academics. Their primary focus is on making the students strong in their core subjects. With help from experts in soft skills development, our students can be moulded according to the industry’s expectations,” says P.M. Beulah Devamalar, Dean, Placements, Sri Sairam Engineering College. The college runs the ‘College to Corporate’ programme for one year. For a student in college, the first year is purely for academics, the second for aptitude development and the third, for soft skills development.

From training fresh graduates in technical and soft skills, 3 Edge Solutions, an IT Finishing School based in Chennai, is expanding their operations to colleges this year. It has already identified about 10 colleges in Chennai and Coimbatore for starting competency development programmes for pre-final year students. It includes both technical as well as soft skills. The programme is for 14 weeks. The firm is also eyeing smaller cities such as Erode for their programme, says V.K. Susil Kumar, consultant, 3 Edge Solutions. “The colleges have been very receptive,” he adds.

Rajalakshmi Engineering College in Chennai has been conducting a residential programme for its pre-final year students during their summer and winter vacations since 2005. For 10 days during each break, students stay at college and undergo rigorous training, which includes basic aptitude, group discussion, HR and technical interview skills.

The college invites experts from the IT industry and corporates to conduct the training sessions. Students do not have to pay for the programme, says G. Visagan, Head of Placements and Training at the college.

ANASUYA MENON

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