THE INDUSTRYACADEMIA BRIDGE Graduates can be made ready for the world of work by building academia-industry partnerships, says Chris Traynor

For millions of young graduates, the job market in India can seem to be daunting. But it can be made easier given the right approach. In today’s market, a degree is not sufficient to land a job; much more is needed to help candidates stand out from the crowd. Graduates who have done excellent academic work, extracurricular skill-building and work experience during their academic tenure are more ready for work, compared to those who have only had a theoretical education. These graduates find a job more quickly as they are already aware of how organisations operate in the ‘real world’. To make graduates job-ready, both industry and academic institutions need to collaborate to enhance skills and knowledge. 
 The best graduates are aware of the industry they want to work in, its dynamics, its expectations and various demands. They are completely familiar with the key job responsibilities offered to them. When graduates display all the skills and knowledge needed by the industry, the industry will not hesitate to recruit them. When universities improve industry partnerships, students have access to experience, which will reinforce what they learn in the lecture hall and their industry experiences will help them in finding good jobs. Building links with industry is therefore a vital part of a university’s remit. 
Work experience and industrial placements remain crucial to career development and success. These activities help students test new ideas and concepts, put academic learning into practice and also develop their professional skills and profile, thus making them more employable. 
 Moreover, universities can capitalize on opportunities born out of research collaborations with the industry. To create new knowledge and theories, academics always look out for collaborations with organisations in their field. Collaborations such as these offer companies a chance to accelerate growth not only through new research techniques, but also create strong relationships that can be used to encourage students to take up research posts in commercially meaningful settings.  Universities and colleges can offer industrial exposure to students as a part of the curriculum in the form of industrial visits, project placements and guest lectures from industry experts. Universities can also consider embedding industrial placement opportunities within the curriculum. 
Experience can also be gained through volunteering opportunities in local charities as well as in positions of responsibility in student societies. These opportunities help to develop important transferable skills and can lead to new contacts, which can be invaluable when applying for work. 
In competitive industries, universities should partner with industry bodies to organize knowledge-sharing sessions for their faculty. Such partnerships can help them understand the latest industry trends, challenges, demands and expectations faced by a young workforce. As a result, faculties will be able to help students gain practical knowledge about the ongoing trends in various sectors. 
 Universities need to ensure that the curriculum is industry-relevant, so that they can help students to not only excel in their studies, but also do well in the professional world. This comes about when universities develop partnerships and alliances with industry leaders, organisations and businesses. Where both industry and education work closely, talent can be nurtured and a workforce ready for the demands of the 21st century can be created.


Source: Ascent

Date: 16th October 2013



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