In today's world, placements define the success of an educational institution. It is all a number game and the bottom line of reaching a near perfect score in terms of students placed is the ultimate objective of any college. But, for an institute to reach the epitomes of success is an uphill battle for the placement office as it requires a whole lot of hard work and industry exposure for the students. Five years ago, the placement at SJB Institute of Technology was about 29 percent, a cause of much worry for the administration. However, the tables turned quick enough and in 2012 the institute's placement hit an all time high of 96 percent. Adding to their laurels, the college was also chosen as one of the top 45 engineering colleges among 3000 participants to be awarded the National Employability Award in 2013. Major credit for this commendable task goes to the college's Department of HRD, founded and headed by Prof. Gurucharan Singh. Prof Singh is presently the Dean-Corporate Affairs, HR & Training for the BGS Group of Technical Institutions which comprises of four engineering institutions and five polytechnics. He was presented with the Performing Minds Award 2012 -13 ( Best Placement Officer Award) for the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar in the National Employability Conclave held in January 2013.
His journey in this field began as a training and placement officer over a decade ago. However he soon realized that in order to improve the percentage of placements, the institute required efforts in a different direction. He then set up a new concept of the Department of Human Resource Development (HRD) in place of the conventional placement cell and successfully introduced various HRM concepts in SJB Institute of Technology. "The Department of HRD is playing a major role in developing the students to the needs of the industry which is the primary factor that boosts placements in any institute," says Prof Singh.
The Department of HRD exclusively takes care of the institute's branding, building corporate relationships, training, counseling and motivating the students and last but not the least - placements. Keeping in mind that the students are the greatest human resource, even administration, introduction and implementation of rules and regulations pertaining to this group of Human Resource, also comes under the purview of the Department of HRD. The Dean along with the Department of Human Resource considers it important to ensure a place for the students in companies only after branding the college impeccably by developing a proper infrastructure setup and building proper relationships and making the students industry ready.
Counseling and Training: An Integral Requirement
Prof. Singh and the HRD Department concentrate extensively on counseling and training the students to shape them into well adjusted individuals and professionals. "Apart from academics, our students are introduced to a large range of activities as the Department has embedded training in the curriculum," Prof. Singh adds. He further explains, "The Department has a separate folder for every student and ensures that we monitor every student's progress in academics and extra-curricular activities regularly." With a credit rating system in place, the HRD Department counsels and guides students with regards to their strengths and weaknesses. "Since most of the students rely on their peers more than themselves, it is crucial that the HRD Department helps students realize their own true potential," he adds.
While making it a priority that the interaction of the HRD Department with the students has to be right from day one, he also believes that the Dept of HRD should also be in constant touch with the parents, who are also major stakeholders, and with the other departments in the institute.
Preparing Students for the Real World Battle
In order to help the students become industry ready, the department armed with Human Resource Management concepts stresses in training to develop three core skill sets: (a) Core Employability skills such as Communication, Listening, Interpersonal, Leadership; (b) Professional skills such as Technical, Problem Solving, Creativity; (c) Personal skills such as Professionalism, Business Ethics, Attitude as mentioned in latest policy research work paper by Blom & Saeki. "I strongly believe if educational institutions develop these core skill sets in students, then there will be no problems with placement. Furthermore I will tirelessly work till all institutions under me reach near 100% placement or all my students whether from rural sector or urban sector have jobs. "Prof. Singh says. The Dean & his HR department are working with leading organizations in Industries to ensure the development of these core skill sets.
The Industry Connections
Prof. Singh has over 32 years of experience which includes 10 years of experience in corporate interaction, placements and training. He is firm believer of discipline and focused training. He believes in building a strong relationship with corporates and the alumni. Colleges must ensure that students from the very first year onwards shall be exposed to the industry. He ensures that all students are trained extensively in accordance with the requirements of the industry and all training modules have been designed by Prof. Singh himself. He has been instrumental in designing and setting up a unique infrastructure for the Department of HRD which has been greatly appreciated by the Corporates. Institutes, that are in constant interaction with the industry in terms of guest lectures and industry visits help students gain a lot of real world knowledge which makes a huge difference to a student's employability.
Prof. Singh also believes that students must make optimal use of their free time. "Students have over 6-7 months vacation time during the four years of their degree. They must utilize this time in acquiring additional knowledge by way of training, internships, additional courses, certifications and gain competence in any foreign language which will help them enhance their chances in obtaining a good career," Prof. Singh adds.
The BGS Group of Technical Institutions today is largely benefitting from Prof. Singh's experience and innovative ideas. It is his hard work and dedication that has helped shape several careers throughout the years. Along with his HRD Department he aims to continue on the same pursuit and take the BGS Group to greater heights of success.
Prof Singh would also like to take this opportunity to invite all companies who want to make positive changes in the educational institutions, or need help with end to end solution with regards to fresher's recruitment, to contact him to ensure a proper industry-academia relationship program is evolved.