Tag Archives: Skilling in aerospace engineering

Aerospace skilling in India

Corruption in education, skilling & placements

The VTU deserves a pat on its back for coming out in the open to acknowledge the existence of a “Placement mafia”

In a country where every well intentioned plan or program breaks down due to large numbers of takers and seekers, corruption in the field of education, skilling and placements can be no exception. As the report specifically refers to the involvement of ‘private companies’, it is clear (if any such clarity was ever required) that the private sector is no stranger to corruption. Corruption is today so deeply entrenched in the psyche of every Indian that he/she strongly believes that it is a way of life to be reconciled with, whichever side one is on.

However, if this nation aspires to become a global economic power in the next decade, the first steps will have to be in self-belief and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude that addresses every problem in a holistic and positive frame of mind. This takes us right back to education and skilling, right at the school level, not just about arithmetic and languages, but about values in life. This is what will lead to a clean and ethical manner of learning. This is what constitutes the beginning of ‘Soft Skills’. As part of graduation in Arts/ Commerce/ Engineering/ Medicine, etc., the student should automatically upgrade in soft skills that ultimately establishes the self-belief.

Aerospace skilling in India

If it was only corruption that was rampant all around us, we certainly couldn’t have fought three wars with our neighbours, put a satellite around the Mars, built our own fighter aircraft, aircraft carriers, missiles, etc. besides earning the tag of a nation of software professionals. We must therefore acknowledge that there still are a good number of clean, efficient and ethical engineering colleges as well as training and placement organisations that do not deserve to be shoved into the same basket as the rotten eggs. The VTU, as any other university, has a distinct role to play to address the situation arising out of this scandal.

One of the buzzwords heard in every seminar and workshop on education and skilling today is ‘Industry-academia’ partnerships. While everybody would want to boast of being a partner in this activity, there is hardly any perceptible change in the students being industry-ready when they graduate. The same complaint of ‘unemployability’ continues to be heard even today, and in a louder voice. How can this situation be changed?

Firstly, just as practising doctors are employed as faculty in a medical college, faculty in engineering colleges also need to possess at least a few years of industrial experience. This is rarely the case even in prestigious institutions. The next best alternative is to engage guest faculty from reputed industries with a proven track record in their domains. This is where the VTU can help by identifying specialists from industry in various disciplines who not only possess a minimum qualification in engineering, but also a rich practical experience that can help in orienting the students to practical applications. In addition, VTU can identify specific industries, irrespective of whether MSMEs or large companies, based on their domain expertise, infrastructure, proven track record and resource persons, as a database of training and skill providers. VTU can act as coordinators to link, monitor and certify the whole process of training and skilling through a process of evaluation. While this could also be open to subjectivity and corruption, an open and transparent system of administration can certainly minimise this.

The next step would be to validate and certify training institutes which possess practical training infrastructure for the skills that they are supposed to impart. It is a proven fact that the best training institutions are those either attached to or run by an industry. So, why not classify and categorise them so that students as well as colleges can seek their services as required in a transparent manner? This could be done through a process of accreditation.

Lastly, but most importantly, we as a people need to change our thinking. The root cause of many of these problems is the importance given to ‘scores’ and ‘marks’ rather than actual performance and practical skill.  A country full of people obsessed with certificates and marks for everything from primary school to engineering colleges and even music examinations, must change its focus to evaluation of practical skills, capability and performance. After all, it is the practical skill and capability of an employee that is the only consideration after the first job placement. So, why not make the first job placement itself a practical test for skills and competence? Then, perhaps, nobody will run for a paper qualification or certificates!

Aerospace skilling in bangalore

Why it is difficult to start a new venture in ‘Aerospace & Defence’ sector.

The original article appeared on EntrepreneurIndia.

It is not feasible for a budding entrepreneur to start a new venture in the A&D sector, for several reasons, the most important being the requirement of extensive domain knowledge & considerable work experience.

The term ‘start-up’ is a catch-phrase today. Start-ups are increasingly achieving success in every sector – be it technology, healthcare, eCommerce, services, etc. However, this is one phrase that cannot be applied to any enterprise in the A&D sector, since the long gestation period ensures that by the time the industry sees any returns, it can no more be classified as a ‘start-up’. Lack of funding, lack of trained technical manpower – right from engineers to shop floor workers, unfavourable procurement policy of government and restriction on the export of defence items etc, are some of the key challenges that discourage a new entrepreneur to step into the A&D space.

Here are four reasons highlighting the challenges faced while starting a new venture in  Aerospace and Defence:

1) Starting a new venture in A&D sector requires specialised knowledge – be it in the electronics, mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic domain. This sector needs products with high precision, ruggedness to withstand extreme conditions, and reliability over a long period. Therefore, the enterprise should have the capability to design and manufacture these specialised products.

2) The stringent testing procedures are expensive and time consuming. The entire cycle, from understanding the RFQ and bidding, to the final testing, acceptance and receipt of payment from the defence organisation is a very long one.  The entrepreneur should be able to withstand the financial burden for a long period of time. Since it is a ‘long-gestation’ industry, finance is not as easy to obtain as in other fast-growing sectors.

3) The A&D sector is a highly demanding and specialised engineering sector. The industry needs to possess a distinct culture that lays emphasis on rigidly controlled processes, quality of output, attention to details, documentation and traceability, etc. Any industry that possesses these qualities and enjoys accepting challenges can find this sector highly rewarding and satisfying.

4) Since the A&D sector is dominantly controlled by the Government agencies, one need to be extremely patient and bear the slow decision making processes, even in cases where there is an urgent requirement.

Thus, it is not feasible for a budding entrepreneur to start a new venture in the A&D sector, as it requires extensive domain knowledge, considerable work experience and the ability to bear the financial burden for a length of time before realising any returns.

Making youth self-sufficient to take up entrepreneurship in A&D sector

In an attempt to empower fresh engineering graduates with the basic skills in design and manufacture, Raj Narayan initiated a training program named DRONA, a school of engineering practice. The program exposes fresh graduates to live projects and focuses on creating skilled engineers, especially for the Electronics and Aerospace & Defence sector. This gives them an insight into the complete design and manufacturing process of specialized defence equipment. Any engineering graduate, who opts for the DRONA training program at Radel, will be mentored by veterans of industry and well-known guest faculty.

DRONA attempts to address all the key issues associated in imparting skills to the engineers. The trainee goes through a complete transformation of the thought process, by which the critical, analytical and innovative skills blossom. At the same time, the graduate is trained in systematic quality analysis and documentation processes.

A major weakness among the engineers lies in communication skills. The Drona program provides training in written and oral communication skills, business etiquette and time management too. Drona offers courses ranging from 3-day orientation to a complete 6-month program.

Over the years, the program has transformed more than 150 such engineers. Radel has launched Drona as an initiative focusing on producing skilled engineers so that they cannot only ‘Make in India’, but ‘Create in India’, ‘Design in India’ and ‘Innovate in India’.