Embarking on the Journey towards creating a Synergy than just filling the Gap between Industries and the Academia
Enroute to Employability, a mega national event was organised and hosted by city based Parul University, where Chairman, Managing Directors, Presidents, Vice Presidents and Human Resource Heads, from leading companies and industries across India, took the stage in a series of panel talks.
The agenda is creating a synergy in order to overcome the ever-growing gap between the industry and academia. The event was successful in creating a common platform which brought the stalwarts of the industry and the University students together under a common roof. The event hosted 20+ Eminent Speakers and 300+ Industry Delegates.
The event was a convergence of CEOs, CHROs, Presidents, VPs from Top notch MNCs and speakers from academia to generate outcomes in terms of policies and practices in conjunction with an action oriented dialogue on Employability: Dimension, Issues & Challenges and Action Agenda for Heightened Employability Quotient.
The four panel discussions were organised during this event, focusing on bringing out clarity and enlightening the students as well as industry delegates regarding some of the most critical and concerning issues pertaining to labour markets globally.
The platform hosted some of the most renowned personalities in the industrial sector, with Dr Anil K Khandelwal, Former Chairman and MD of Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank as the Guest of Honour and Kumase Simon Powoh, a Cameroonian based CEO Gulf Field Higher Institute of Petroleum, as the Chief Guest. In addition to these personalities like George Sparschuh, President, Schott Glass, India, Rohit Parulekar, Sr Vice President Schindler India, Shirish Divgi, Managing Director, Plastics Machinery Asia, Gaurang Joshipura, Managing Director, Zeppelin India amongst others shared their industrial expertise with the students.
A total of 20 plus speakers took the stage, sharing their insights on the various areas of discussion which included, Gender Equality at Workplace, Inclusive Growth and Skill Development towards Industry 4.0, Apprenticeships and Work Integrated Learning Programs and Mismatched Expectations between Students and Employers. The discussions were successful in enlightening students and educationalists regarding the expectations of the industry, while at the same time allowing the students to express their concerns towards some of the industrial standards of operation.
“Just as i remember my learning days, students of today also need to learn not only to gain knowledge, but to learn so that they develop the necessary skills, and go on to apply these skills for the development of the nation,” said Dr Anil K Khandelwal in his opening remarks. This summit acted as a pioneering event towards the path of creating the much-needed relations between the industry and academia, as it provided students with the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the industrial experts.
Initiating the event was a panel of 5 experts, who were discussing regarding the recent trends in gender equality at the workplace and the various ways in which the Indian society could archive the equal pay by 2030. The panel comprised of Sonali Mungale, Arun Raghav, Ashish Garkrey, Shankar Srinivaasan and Yamini Krishnan as the moderator.
The discussions were commenced by what the moderator termed “the elephant in the room” as she went on to pose the question ,”whether India as a nation is having the ecosystem which supports gender equality at the workplace by 2030”. In response to this question, the speakers expressed the changing scope of the Indian economy, as a result of the emergence of technology, whereby apart from the manufacturing jobs where there are limited opportunities for women, the IT industries came up to tilt the scales into balance, by ushering a new era where women in India have been receiving more employment opportunities in these sectors.
“So many times i have heard of companies hiring more women under the banner of simply creating diversity in the workplace, but I believe diversity alone is not enough, as there should be inclusion, it is only when the women are fully included within the operations of the industries when we can say we are on the path to equality,” said Arun Raghav.
With the objective of enhancing the capacity of Industry personnel and to catch up with the ever-growing technological advancements of the fourth industrial revolution, the second panelists successfully shared their insightful perspectives on this topic. Running under the subject “Be Bold for Change, Inclusive Growth Through Skill Development Industry 4.0”. Through this discussion, the experts were expressing the reason why it is important for employees to continuously develop their skills, and the creation of platforms for skill development.
Not only were the discussions focusing on the industries, but they were also highlighting the need for the Universities to continuously reframe and restructure their curriculum so as to meet the contemporary advancements in technology. The panel was comprised of Sandeep Tyagi as the moderator, Shirish Divgi, Gaurang Joshipura, Rohit Parulekar and Georg Sparschuh.
“The Inspection process of products, which was initially done by highly trained inspectors, has now been replaced by fully automated machines, which use a highly advanced technology, and still, manpower is required to operate these machines, the jobs aren’t being lost to machines but the jobs are continuously advancing. So, the key is to ensure the continuous development of the individual” said George Sparschuh President, Schott Glass.
The recent expansion in the scope of HR with the inclusion of policies such as Economic Social Governance ESG, Diversification and Inclusion, the role of the HR directors has become of vital importance. As they need to stand in the gap, and create conditions which are conducive for the employees as well the environment surrounding them. This was a shared sentiment amongst the panellists, during the event Enroute to Employability.
The third panel went on discuss regarding the vital importance of apprenticeship programs in promoting work integrated learning amongst the students. With the shift in the job market from a point of theoretical knowledge, to a point of practically applying the knowledge. “Mere theoretical knowledge will not be able to take anyone too far especially in regards to the manner of life we take in the business world. One should learn about the market and develop themselves in accordance to the ways in which they can contribute to it,” shared Dr Ankita Singh in response to the question posed by the moderator.
The frameworks of the Apprenticeship Act, has been providing various regulatory frameworks which the various industries have been implementing, as a way of creating a suiting environment for student apprentices. However regardless of the existence of this Act, still many of the students have not been able to find a satisfying and fully engaging work environment, thus they end up leaving the work places before completing the program. Mr Suresh Muchipalli, went on to express that “the expectations from the side of the candidates are far much more than the delivery of the benefits which are associated with apprenticeships, however students should focus more on the learning benefits which come with the apprenticeship programs rather than the financial benefits”.
“Mismatched expectations between the students and the employers, a focus on industry academia intersection rather than bridging the gap” was the topic of discussion in the fourth panel which was shared by the Industrial and academic experts. The discussions were focusing on implementing various solutions which can be put in place as a way of not only bridging the gap, but going the extra mile by creating a common point of intersection where these two institutions meet. The panel comprised of Rohan Lele as the moderator, Kavishwar Kalambe, Srikanth Kalyanasundrah, Sanjay Nagore and Dr P G K Murphy.
“The ancient gurukuls followed a learning system whereby the gurus where the experts, and they would only allow their students to complete their learning after being fully satisfied that the student has fully internalised the principles behind the learning. Could the non-existence of such a learning system today be the reason behind the mismatches between the industries and academia”, asked Wilfred Mukawu a student under the University’s Faculty of Law. A question to which Mr Rohan Lele, responded by saying “Learning should not be like an assembly line, students should not only gather knowledge, but they should learn to apply that knowledge, I believe these mismatches can be truly resolved if all the Universities followed the learning systems in IITs and IIMs, where the practical application of the knowledge is of great importance”.
The platform received great appreciation from the Parul University students and faculties as they saw it as a much needed intervention as they are in the future of shaping careers. “In this era we are living in, one of the most vital elements which is needed is the need to establish a sense of connectivity between the Industries and academia, and once we establish a sound network, we can effectively work together towards shaping the future careers of our students and eventually contributing to the growth of the Nation as a whole,” shared Dr. Devanshu Patel, President Parul University, while appreciating the efforts of the industrial experts.