Infosys Technologies will soon forge partnerships with Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnakata to launch a major programme to train Scheduled Caste youth. The IT major will also tie up with select educational institutions in these states for the programme.
A pilot programme to train 89 engineering graduates, all from Scheduled Castes or members of socially disadvantaged communities, as Infosys prefers to call them, was completed in late June at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. The Ministry of Social Welfare collaborated for the programme.
After completing the six-month Special Training Programme, 76 students got jobs in top companies like Wipro, Hewlett Packard, Mindtree Consulting and Infosys, which intends to place 450 more students next year.
“We will part-fund the partnership,” said Mohandas Pai, director, human resources, Infosys. “Our faculty will first train the teachers. The training module will be the same that we have for Infosys graduates with emphasis on communication skills and training to help people overcome low self-esteem.”
Low self-esteem was common among these students due to social pressures and their tendency to stick together in a group, said S. Sadagopan, director, IIIT, Bangalore. “The students coined a phrase: ‘as good as any, better than many.’ They were academically sound but lacked technological exposure and skills to help them find jobs in good companies. We have trained them certain technologies and skills that would make them more industry-ready,” he added.
Three institutes were selected for the courses —the IIIT, Bangalore, the Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur and the Symbiosis Institute, Pune. More are being sought. The cost of the training to Infosys will be around Rs 2.5 crore. Infosys estimates that if other companies follow its example, India’s private sector can help at least 50,000 educated SC youth annually.
Pai said Indian industry presently faces 20 per cent shortage of skilled manpower. This model would help bridge the gap. “Training is important because the education system has failed to turn out employable students. India Inc must spend on training if it has to grow,” he said. “Not jobs, but employability is the challenge. We want to make disadvantaged youths employable so that the chances of their landing jobs increases. Corporate India must recognise we have a challenge and address it. We are willing to share this model with others,” said Pai.