Deriving Value out of Value Added Education

It is a well known statistic that not more than 30% of Engineering Graduates are directly employable. What about the rest of those who pass? Many of them are either under-employed or looking for options for building up their capabilities. The Industry says that the reason for this underemployment is that the candidates fall far short in terms of technical capabilities or ability to communicate effectively and become productive members of their teams. In my long experience of more than 3 decades, I can say with confidence that there is no unemployment of professionals, what we have is unemployability. There is a huge shortage of good qualified professionals.

M.F. Lokhandwala

This is where the mushrooming “Value Added Training” institutes come into the picture. They promise the moon in terms of 100% placement assistance and what not. As this sector is not regulated, a lot of fly by night operators have entered this field and create confusion among the minds of the graduates. Students and their parents pay steep fees for these value added courses. It is important that they ensure value for their money. This article is meant to throw some light on how to distinguish the genuine from others.

The most important thing to do, is to check out the credibility of the training Institute. So, what factors are involved? Let us check them out one by one.

1. The Quality of the Course: The questions to ask are – Does the content of the course really bridge the gap? Does it prepare you to be employed by good companies? Is it only theoretical or does it involve industry based assignments? Is the course properly structured?

A quality course would teach the theoretical concepts with a problem solving approach and would have a mix of theory and hands on practicals, assignments or projects that are live, i.e. with a focus on solving real life problems in the industry and business.

2. The Quality of the Faculty: The questions here could be – Who are the faculty? Are they senior industry professionals with long standing experience?
Ideally, the Senior Faculty must be from the Industry, with a long exposure to the practical aspects of the profession. They should also have the passion to convey the knowledge and skills to the next generation. They should be involved in the teaching not just showpieces as facades for junior trainers.

3. The Quality of Training: The Quality of training depends on a variety of factors, such as contents of the course, the faculty, the training method and the assessment. Chalk and Board methods are passé. Even standardized Powerpoints are now outdated. Is handholding involved? Are individual needs considered and catered for? Is it relevant to the industry and upto date?

4. Industry Relationships: Is the training Institute part of the Industry? Is it well connected with the Industry? What sort of linkages does it have? A good value added training Institute would be involved in the domain industry at multiple levels. Another factor to check out is whether the Institute conducts corporate training and who are its clients. This one factor is a good indicator of their credibility and it leads to good placements. The track record of the Institute in placements is an important indicator of the Industry relationships.

5. Quality of Certification: The two common modes adopted for certification up till now are, certification from Government or Quasi Government Bodies and self certification. Government certification as we can clearly see has failed to deliver favourable outcomes as the huge numbers of unemployable graduates testify. Self certification is fraught with issues for credibility. To overcome the shortcomings of both these models of certification, large companies have established a third model, where the training Institutes are authorized training centres, based on a clearly defined curriculum, methodology and outcomes. This ensures that such courses are recognized by the Industry, ensuring good placement to the student on one hand and surety of quality to the employer on the other.

6. Quality of Resources: Many of these value added courses require training that is based on specific software. The good institutes use the latest and licensed version of the software, thereby ensuring that the training is up to date. This ensures a better relevance to the employer and so the chances of placement are improved. Pirated software could lead to trouble.

If these factors are considered in totality, the common pitfalls of building up a career for a fresher are avoided. A student who is willing to work hard along with all the favourable factors mentioned above can look forward to a good career ahead.

M. F. Lokhandwala, Senior Advisor to a no. of Companies. He can contacted at [email protected]

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