FTCCI Launches Industry-Academia Connect to improve the employability of Engineering Graduates and address the growing demand for Talent in Emerging Tech

▴ Industry-Academia Connect
Prof UB Desai appealed to industry experts to become “Professor of Practice” to take real-world practices and experiences into the classrooms and also augment the faculty resources in higher education institutions. India needs product engineers to make it a product nation if we are to become a multi-trillion-dollar economy: Pankaj Diwan, Co-chair of ICT Committee of FTCCI

Hyderabad, 27th March,2024 ... .The ICT(Information and Communications Technology) Committee of the Federation of Telangana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI) on Wednesday launched at FTCCI at Red Hills the Industry-Academia Connect initiative in the presence of leaders from Industry and Academia.


Prof UB Desai, founding Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad and Advisor to the ICT Committee of FTCCI was the chief guest unveiled the initiative along with other leaders Mr Sikanth Sinha, CEO of Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK), Sangeetha P, Director of FTCCI, Mohan Raidu, Chairman of ICT Committee; Pankaj Diwan, Bala Peddigari, Co-chair of ICT Committee, Manish Guptha and others.


Addressing the gathering, Prof UB Desai said this is a long-felt need. It has been discussed for decades, but somehow has not gained momentum. Industry is more focused on quarter-on-quarter performance, while academia year on year. So, there is a little connection. Second, if any such collaborations materialise another dimension arises: who owns IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)?. Academia industry connections are much stronger in the USA, and we can learn from them. He welcomed the UGC and AICTE initiative— Professor-of-practice, which helps to take real-world practices and experiences into the classrooms and also augment the faculty resources in higher education institutions. In turn, the industry and society will benefit from trained graduates equipped with the relevant skills. He appealed to industry experts to come forward and become a Professor of Practice.


The focus of the initiative Industry-Academia Connect was to solve the talent paradox where on one side there are a lot of engineering graduates looking for employment opportunities and on the other side, corporates and startups were scrambling for good talent, especially in emerging technologies like AI, Web3 and others, informed Mohan Raidu, Chairman of ICT Committee


Speaking about things that culminated in forming this initiative, Pankaj Diwan said that it got triggered in November 2023 when we crossed the aspirational 4 trillion US $ mark of our GDP. If we aim to reach a US $ 5 trillion economy as envisaged by the Prime Minister of India, where do you get the skilled manpower required to help our economy reach 5 trillion US $? There is a huge gap. The blame game is on. That is when the idea got germinated.


We need product engineers to build a product nation. We need a product mindset to build product engineers. We are aiming for 5000 students to benefit from this initiative in its first phase. What do we need, bricklaying or an architect who gets into design mode? he asked. We want you to be architects of the IT industry, he announced.


In an era like this building solution is not that difficult, what is the need of the hour is identifying the problem, understanding the right problem, and articulating the problem statement, Pankaj said


We need the best mentors, to help validate problems, ideas, and solutions. A resume is a thing of the past. We want students to build their portfolio which replicates their experience in learning by doing, he said.


Giving her welcome address P. Sangeetha, Director of FTCCI highlighted the importance of a teacher, a guru who is equal to God. It is a divine platform to learn, network, and connect. The FTCCI Industry-Academia Connect initiative is the need of the hour to develop employable candidates. She assured full support from FTCCI to the initiative to make it to be the most impactful initiative.


Mr Sikanth Sinha, CEO of Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) in conversation with Pankaj Diwan in a fireside chat said institutes teach syntaxes. They are just producing glorified clerks, not those with a product mindset. They are just fit to serve the service sector. Computational thinking encourages people to approach any problem systematically and to develop and articulate solutions in terms that are simple enough to be executed by a computer or another person.


Ten Engineering Colleges have been onboarded in Phase 1 of this initiative which promises to be a game changer by enabling engineering graduates with Real-world problem statements.   These ten colleges include BVRIT, Narsapur Campus; Mallareddy University; Geethanjali College of Engineering and Technology; MLR Institute of Technology; Nalla Malla Reddy Engineering College; Sphoorthy Engineering College; Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology; St. Peter’s Engineering College; SR University and one another institute which couldn’t make it to the function


FTCCI has partnered with TalentFarm.ai, an AI-based platform, incubated in T-Hub for the implantation of this initiative.


The initiative has attracted wide support and four MoUs were signed and exchanged between FTCCI with TASK, T-Hub and T-Works.


In his video message Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Special Chief Secretary, IT, Industries & Commerce, congratulated FTCCI and TalentFarm.ai for this initiative and revealed the current government’s intent of encouraging long-term Internships with Industry. While some premier institutes such as IITs manage to bridge the gap between industry and academia, the governments’ colleges lag and initiatives like this augur good for them.


The event was attended by several Industry Leaders including Mr Rajesh Dhuddu, Global Head, Emerging Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Mr Rama Iyer, Head, Innovation GMR Group, Mr Shrikanth Sinha, CEO, TASK, Mr. Sujit Jagirdar, CIO, T-Hub and Mr Anand, CEO, T-Works, Mr Avneesh Bhatnagar, Principal, ServiceNow amongst others


The half-day launch program concluded with two panel discussions, one on Managing Talent in Disruptive Times and the other one on the Role of Women in a $ 10 trillion economic reality. The Panelists were drawn from industry and were domain experts.


The ICT Committee also announced a Faculty Fellowship where a few nominated faculty of partner colleges work for the cause. The committee also announced that they were working on building a few Centres of Excellence, Student Fellows, who will have unprecedented access to industry events.


Two hundred students, faculty, and industry representatives participated.

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