Category Archives: Engineering Education

Aerospace manufacturers in Bangalore

Focus on nurturing designing skills

Make in India today is not addressing ‘Design in India’. Except for a few highly sophisticated technologies, we should by now have been able to design most products in India. Why has this not happened in spite of India boasting of the largest pool of young qualified engineers?

Let us look at the thrust sectors over the last two years — Electronics System Design & Manufacture (ESDM), aerospace and defense indigenisation. These areas involve state-of-the-art design and manufacturing capability which should result in truly Indian products and services. However, in spite of a six decade legacy of ‘licenced manufacturing’ of age-old products, we still haven’t demonstrated our capabilities of creating home-grown Indian products.

Over the past two decades, manufacturing in India has been dying a slow death due to various reasons. The most important of which has been the extraordinary growth of the information technology sector and the huge opportunities it provided for employment of graduates. This in turn attracted and encouraged the workforce, especially engineers, to focus on honing their skills in this field, while neglecting to improve their capabilities in the core engineering domains.

Contrast this picture with China where an environment was created that enabled the country to leapfrog over many advanced nations to become a manufacturing superpower. China welcomed global multinationals to set up their industries there — whether they were for fabrication of ICs or manufacturing aircraft. But they did not stop there. Through a close coordination between universities and the industry, China managed to reverse engineer these technologies to create their own design teams — from sophisticated aircraft and semiconductor fabs right down to stuffed speaking toys.

India needs skilled engineers

If the ‘Make in India’ goal has to make an impact on the Indian economy, we need to first skill our engineers in the art of products design and further to manufacture them in innovatively designed factories manned with skilled engineering manpower. This represents the core issue to our problems. We don’t have the skilled engineers to design products and drive the cogs of the manufacturing wheel, especially in the high-end technology fields.

This problem is magnified in the Aerospace and Defence sectors, where we need to build capabilities not only in design but also in robust processes, documentation and project management. Studies show that out of the 1.5 million engineering graduates emerging from universities across India every year, only 4 -7 per cent are employable in the core engineering industries (Aspiring Minds, Report 2014).

An earlier study by the World Bank (2010) shows that employers are not satisfied with the fresh graduates they recruit, providing  evidence that ‘the Engineering education institutions and the system does an inadequate job of developing analytical, evaluating and creative engineers.’

There is a lot of buzz about skilling, but again, the emphasis is only on skilling lower-level technicians. While this is important, it is imperative that we train and skill our engineers in the high value-addition areas of product and engineering design. Engineers aspiring for jobs in high technology companies in the core engineering sector, such as Aerospace, Defence or ESDM, find that they are completely out of their depth, and need to be trained for several months on the job, before they can be productive.

Skilling of engineers cannot happen overnight. This has to be part of an integrated scheme that develops interest, aptitude and aspiration to excel as a practising engineer. Design skills lie at the top of the pyramid that includes a variety of multi-disciplinary skills besides the need for being very systematic and analytical. A designer also needs to continuously keep abreast of technology and use it to innovate continuously.

A good design takes into consideration the entire product life-cycle that includes ease of use (User interface), ease of manufacture, maintenance and repair, among others. Design capability results from a closed loop process comprising Design, Analysis, Manufacture and Testing, as well as Maintenance and Support.

Such skilling cannot be done in a college environment. Universities and engineering colleges need to tie up with industries to provide the engineers hands-on exposure to live projects within the industry. This is where the limitations of the present university education system prevent a holistic exposure to practice. And this is where industry has its role to play, by giving a practical exposure to the aspiring engineers.

The need of the hour is therefore to bring all stakeholders together to the table to chalk out a holistic plan. This includes colleges, universities, industry representatives as well as the government representatives. Each one has an important role to play. To ensure the success of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we need to think holistically. We need to ‘Create in India’, ‘Innovate in India’, ‘Design in India’ and ‘Manufacture in India’.

The original article appeared on DeccanHerald.

Aerospace skilling in bangalore

Focus on design, else we may create screwdriver technicians in name of skilling

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today launch the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to mark the World Youth Skills Day. The government has set a target of skilling 40.2 crore people by 2022, under the new National Policy for Skill Development, which will also be formally launched today.According to Union Skills Development & Entrepreneurship Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the targeted population, 54 percent is in the agriculture sector.

The vision of the skill development policy is to create an ecosystem of empowerment by skilling on a large scale at speed with high standards and to promote a culture of innovation-based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all citizens.

It has four thrust areas,and addresses key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of integration with formal education, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure and trainers.

What really matters is how the government put this into action.

This should be a concern for all players in this area – the government, the industry, the vocational training institutions, training providers, assessment agencies, certification providers and student financiers.

What should the policy do to make the policy a success? Firstpost spoke to specialists and analysts, who while welcoming the new initiative of the government, suggested a few measures that the policy could look at and help plug loopholes at the ground level: The government is talking about manufacturing in India. Time it focused on design in India, says G Raj Narayan, Chief Mentor of DRONA and Founder & MD of Radel Group, that delivers indigenous solutions in Aerospace, Defence and Electronics.

“Design has a large and longer impact on what we are manufacturing. When you do that, you are adding in a huge way to manufacturing and using Indian talent. Manufacturing under licence get us nowhere. Then it would mean skilling 1,000 employees in screwdriver technology,” he said.

Skilling has to be at a higher level than merely creating technicians. Lack of artistic skill in design and manufacturing is a big gap in India. One of the way to get the youth to be interested in skilling is to introduce hobby courses in school at the high school or mid-level.

“Right now, marks are important for students and parents to get to engineering and medical seats. If skilling hobbies are introduced at the school level, school and college dropouts will be empowered to get a job. Academicians are needed to look at integrating this policy at the school level. All stakeholders should be involved by the government to make the policy a success,” Narayan said.

The original article appeared on FirstPost