It is a neat conundrum: India produces nearly 400,000 engineers every year, but only one in four is employable. The country churns out lakhs of graduates every year, but a mere 10 per cent can be employed in the information technology (IT) sector.
Many companies are looking for ways and means to ensure that prospective candidates fit right in at the time of hiring. But candidates can also do a bit of self-help, by taking up the services of IT finishing schools.
The idea, broadly, is to bridge the competence divide between professionals seeking to be a part of the sector, and the companies trying to cut down on training time and related costs.
"Many engineering graduates who pass out from streams like mechanical or civil do not have the requisite technical skills for IT. In other cases, computer engineers are found wanting in communication and softer skills. Finishing schools can assist the candidates and the prospective employers to close this gap," says 3Edge Solutions director Prasad Kolisetty.
Technology majors are experimenting with innovative techniques like recruiting science graduates, or partnering with existing institutes to introduce company-specific courseware in the last few months of the college curriculum. But with technology jobs expected to nearly double to 1.7 million in the next four years, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) forecasts a shortage of 500,000 professional employees in the technology sector by 2010.
"In the short term, we have to think of ways to groom the qualified students in an effort to make them 'employable' in the industry," says Nasscom president Kiran Karnik. Nasscom itself has been exploring the possibility of 2-3 month courses in a finishing school for IT professionals.
3Edge Solutions started its first batch of 40 candidates in December in Chennai. "We will be starting a new batch of 35-40 every three weeks. In the next six months, we expect to open two new centres and are looking at Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra," he said.
Nasscom is looking at a pilot model in 4-5 cities, and then get rolling in IITs and NITs, apart from other educational institutions. "This is in an advanced stage of discussion and we expect it to be rolling early in 2007. Conceptually, we have agreed on the business model for this, which is quite self-sustaining," said Karnik.
Evidently, the vacuum is large enough for the finishing schools to try and create a niche for themselves.
Email Prerna K Mishra: pmishra @hindustantimes.com