A note on the additional skill acquisition for college students

My area of research have been Skill development for IT sector and I can comment the following based on my 4 years of experience in the local market and total 10 years of experience in the IT industry. As you know the resource cost amounts to 60 to 70 % or more for an IT company.

The normal hierarchy is Management –>  senior managers–> junior managers –> project leaders –> technical leaders –> freshers. baabtra’s focus was mainly on freshers for the IT industry.
Our Aim :
Provide job ready resources who are ready to work on the project in two or three weeks time.
My possible Solution : 
I have put the solution first as you can have a quick reference.
The problem is psychological and social rather than technological. So we can not solve this problem through only technological means.
1. Market skills and not certificate or marks. There is a market for certificate and not for skill. There is no demand in the mind of the student for skills. There is only demand for certificate, passing exam and marks in the mind of students and parents. We can not change it. So provide grace marks for additional skills. For example if a student completes 50 hours of training with A grade, he will get 20% mark for mathematics or something. It will be convincing for parents as well. In school people join for NCC and Scouts for grace marks. Parents don’t block it as there is grace marks.
2. Degree students will not attend classes on Saturday again as they are not motivated. Studying is not cool and perceived very bad by students. So we must communicate that skill is not studying. We should plan for ads in newspaper and video (may be a viral video on Youtube) which conveys this message. For example a person who jumps the wall and goes for a movie is cool but a person jumping the wall and studying is treated very badly by the peers. So the person who jumps the wall to watch a movie must attend the skill classes and it must be perceived cool.
3. There is advertisement for PSC coaching, Bank coaching, GMAT, GATE, CAT etc but not for skill development. So students just keep on studying without knowing where it will take them. They just want to answer something “what are you doing? ” No one in our culture asks “Why are you doing it?”. So our ads must out perform these advertisements. Otherwise again we will have degree holders and post graduate holders writing PSC exams in lakhs (more than the people who go to schools). So when a person things what next after degree or PG, he/she goes for PSC or GATE or CAT or Bank coaching. The market is driven by marketers and we must become good marketers of skill. 
4. Provide internet /Make internet compulsory in all the colleges especially professional colleges. It will definitely demand teachers to perform better as they will be scared.
5. Catch the students in the first year and make them visit the industry. Now industrial training and visit is happening in the final year. So they are already spoiled before they visit and understand what is industry. Then they get into a mindset that it is too late now and they don’t have the energy to bounce back. ASAP can sponsor it. It will be treated as cool in the students’ mind.
6. Provide training to parents. They don’t allow even good students to get additional skill stating that this will reduce your academic performance. To some extent it will be removed if we provide grace marks. This is not a very good solution in my opinion as they acquired skills in pre-knowledge era. Still we can try.
7. Conduct TV program with 1 crore price(reality show) for selecting best student and teacher. The challenge must be to get someone from a village or school to get into google or a big company.
8. Choose students from different college for the training and make it one batch. 
In a nut shell, if we don’t create the demand by marketing it will be hard selling and it is very hard when it comes to something perceived very negative(studying by students).
Please find some of my observation below :
Expected outcome from the industry from a fresher: 
Industry is expecting for the students to develop a certain type of logical skills and basic communication skills. Even though basic communication skill is lacking industry is expecting them to be proactive and take ownership of the work assigned to them. The candidate should stay with company for at least 3 years for them to be profitable for the company.
Reality on the company side: 
I am taking the case of small and medium size companies who don’t have separate campus and money for preparing the fresher candidates or train them for 6 to 9 months.
1. Management decides to hire 10 freshers. HR contacts multiple colleges or goes for a job for or puts the advertisement in the news paper or publish in web portals. Around 1000 to 1500 apply. HR spends a lot of time on screening the candidates. Finally around 150 candidates come for the interview and 20 to 30 have been short listed for second round. Offer is discussed with 20 people and mostly 10 people reject because there is a commitment period of 1.5 years or 2. Or if they are good, they already have an offer with another company. Training is started with sometimes with 10 people or less than that. During the training period, some of them get demotivated and leave the training. Not because the training is tough but they feel that training is tough as they are not exposed to such activities before. Finally company gets 6 or 7 candidates (freshers) after 6 months who can produce some impact or billable to the client.
2. The anti-climax starts when a bigger company is looking for 6 to 1 year experienced candidates. A candidate goes to the bigger company with 50 to 100% hike and he invites all his colleagues from the company as he gets reference bonus. Some of the candidate go or the company is forced to hike salary for the employee. The companies investment to build the resource is totally wasted and growth of the smaller company is stagnated as they are not able to execute projects on time or not able to bid more projects for lack of good resources. The smaller companies are becoming training institutes for the bigger companies.
What the student feels? 
Wherever they go for a job in IT, companies ask for experience. They hear about some of their friends who got into TCS or Infosys. So their mind is set to get some experience and they see the company they get job is just a platform for them to get experience. Otherwise also people mindset is for change now. They get bored very soon with a company and will shift as soon as the commitment period is over. There is a study on this. Now fixing anything has become more costlier than getting a new product (in most of the cases). This character spreads to our human nature also. The mind is set and it is very difficult to change it after they get into an organization.
Other psychological problems : 
There are a number of students who want to actually learn new things and technology. But they all feel peer pressure and afraid that they will loose friendship if they go for any courses on Saturday. As you know studying is not treated as very cool. Everyone wants to be the bad guy (back bench guy) who became hard worker later.
PSC/Bank Coaching/Government Jobs V/S IT 
There is a feeling that IT jobs are tough in the market. The students always ask their seniors about the job and how they are doing and all. The senior when joined in the company had no clue about the industry and software development. So finally he/she ended up spending lot of time learning the new technology. But the fresher doesn’t have the knowledge the actual output he makes is very low  and he is learning things which he/she should have done in the colleges. So people develop a negative thought about the IT jobs. Thanks to the special case of Kerala where a party completely opposed computer and that opposition still have an impact on the IT. So people who live in IT still feel that they are cyber coolies even though they have better life than any other job in the market. So the college graduates get scared and they take the path of going for higher studies. The marketing of coaching centers adds to this thinking and they end up taking another degree which is of not much use. The parents also get into the trap. They feel that my kid must get the maximum knowledge(they misunderstand knowledge with degree/pg certificates) and support studying. But actually the student trying to post pone his skill development and getting into a job.
Most of the teachers are freshers and train the trainer programs will not work. The teachers are not motivated to do anything extra. Money is not a motivating factor for teachers as they are coming to colleges for time pass. If someone is looking for extra money they want to make it outside their academic system so that other people are not aware of it. There are very good teachers but normally most of the teachers are not motivated.
They run with market demand. If there is no requirement for CS this year, they will promote Mech or Electrical. They are least bothered about the skill development as long as they are getting admissions. The southern colleges are different from this especially colleges under christian management. There is an awareness and demand among these colleges to improve skill of the student.
Baabtra.com can provide : 
We have a very systematic way of understanding the requirements of the companies and impart the skills to the candidates. So we help companies to reduce the cost for resources in the IT which is the major cost. The cost for technical lead and middle level manager can also be reduced if we have really skilled freshers. There is enough talent in the market if we can guide them properly and train them.

About Haris NP