EDUCATION PLUS

Recruitment slowdown and finishing schools

Job scarcity: Candidates throng stalls of different companies at a job fair.

Job scarcity: Candidates throng stalls of different companies at a job fair.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

SRUTHI KRISHNAN

With a vast employable talent pool waiting in the wings, how relevant are finishing schools?

Seeking to gain an edge over competition, many students are queuing up before finishing schools, which promise to increase their ‘company-readiness’.

But in times of an economic slowdown, when there is a vast ready-to-employ pool available, the relevance of the existing model of finishing schools is being questioned.

Sriram Rajagopal, AVP, Human Resources, Cognizant, says, “We strongly believe that IT finishing schools bridge the industry-academia gap and play an important role in fulfilling the growing requirement for industry-ready professionals. Today, IT careers are much more than mere coding skills and soft skills are as important as technical proficiency and consistent academic records.”

Stressing the importance of soft-skills, he says, “As a company that provides solutions to business problems leveraging technology rather than mere technology capability, we believe that soft skills are indispensable to an individual’s ‘employability’.

These skills hold the key to engaging in higher-end work and delighting the customers. Resources trained in finishing schools have an edge over others in terms of their behavioural skills and process orientation.”

Focussing solely on the industry’s requirement is the difference between an educational institution and a finishing school, says P.P. Ramanujan of 3Edge Solutions, an information technology finishing school in Chennai.

He explains, “Students learn the software development life cycle (SDLC) as a theory in college. Here, the trainees are expected to execute, practise and show desired results.”

A recent development is educational institutions considering having a finishing school component on campus, says Mr. Ramanujan. Satya Pal Reddy, an official from Vaagdevi college of engineering, Warangal, says that his college has partnered with a finishing school to provide soft-skills and hands-on training for a whole semester.

Students do their final-year project under the supervision of the finishing school authorities, he adds. The cost is subsidised by the college, and students have to pay a minimal fee.

Companies seeking to cut costs are also partnering with finishing schools, says Mr. Ramanujan. The companies screen candidates based on a set criteria and a provisional offer is given. Depending on the successful completion of the course, a regular offer is given, he says, explaining the model.

But in times of recession, when the number of ‘ready-to-employ’ candidates is greater, the relevance of finishing schools could be debated, says Mr. Rajagopal. “However, the relevance and importance of IT finishing schools was felt when the industry was growing at a much faster pace and the readily employable talent pool could not meet the demands of this growth story. Today, since the pace of demand has slowed and the needs of the industry are met much within the employable talent pool, the relevance of IT finishing schools in a manner in which it is currently functioning is being debated.”



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