Bridging the Skills Gap

Bridging the Skills Gap

On the occasion of 49th Engineer´s Day, the Institution of Engineers decided to focus on skill development for young engineers, to reform the country´s core sectors.

A theme of national importance is chosen every year by the National Council of the Institution of Engineers and deliberated at its various state/local centres to educate the engineering fraternity in general, and the society in particular. This year the Institution selected the theme as "Skill Development for Young Engineers to reform the Core Sector: Vision 2025".

As the global economy progresses, there is immense pressure on global flow of goods, services and knowhow, with some industries declining due to their inability to face the brunt of rapid, continuous change.

However, the process also creates new avenues of opportunities. This in turn creates the demand for re-skilling of workforces, as well as skills upgradation and training & development, to promote new skills for those freshly employed in new industries. Governments across states have taken some initiatives to address the major challenge of scaling up disparate skill development initiatives of different official departments. Within a short span of time (less than 10 years), a lot of skilled manpower has to be developed, as required by the market. The requirement of skilled manpower in all the major sectors of the country is not only a matter of national urgency, but is also increasing in scale. The Government of India has set a target to impart the necessary skills to 500 million people by the year 2022. The five sectors, which have been identified with the expectation that they will create the majority of jobs are infrastructure, auto, building & construction, textiles, and transportation.

Like other sectors, shortage of required skills is one of the major problems facing the thousands of engineers who join the workforce every year. Their lack of employability is a major hurdle in the growth of the Indian economy. Different employer surveys have addressed this knowledge gap problem, and have emphasised on the need for developing skills to improve productivity.

In manufacturing, IT, infrastructure and power, engineers play a crucial role. As per the analysis of feedback given by various employers, the specific skills that technical professionals - including engineers - need can be categorised under core employability skills, communication skills, and professional skills.

Any governmental policy recommendation aiming to address the skills gap has to cover the following areas:

  1. Addressing the prime skill factors through assessments, teaching methods, curricula, and real-life case studies;
  2. Emphasise on soft skills development;
  3. Exercise skills in a simulated environment; and
  4. Customise courses to meet customer demands.

Remembering Sir MV
September 15th is celebrated every year in the country as "Engineers´ Day" to commemorate the birthday of the legendary engineer Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

Popularly known as Sir MV, Visvesvaraya was internationally recognised for his genius in harnessing rainwater resources in India. He designed automatic weir water floodgates, which were first installed in 1903 at the Khadakwasla Reservoir, Pune. Sir MV also designed a flood protection system for Hyderabad, giving him celebrity status in India.

Sir MV was responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mysore, a project he directed in the capacity of a chief engineer. He served as a dewan of Mysore state. Sir MV also turned around the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works, set up the Mysore Sandalwood Oil Factory, and founded the Bank of Mysore. He was born in a remote village of Karnataka, the state that is incidentally now the hi-tech capital of the country.

Due to his outstanding contribution to society, the Government of India conferred the Bharat Ratna on this legend in the year 1955. He is also called the precursor of economic planning in India. Sir MV´s learned discourse on economic planning in India, Planned Economy for India and Reconstructing India, was the first available document on the planning effort in the country, and it is still held as the parent source matter for economic planners.

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