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My Advice To Youngsters Is...

By SHOBHA WARRIER
July 05, 2024 09:48 IST
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'To those who have just finished engineering or MCA or BSc, BBA, I will say they should take up whatever internship opportunities they are getting.'

'They should look for opportunities to learn the latest tools.'

'They should think innovative and try to solve problems. Only when you sharpen your skills, you will remain relevant.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.
Jubilant students at the convocation ceremony at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

A recent report on the hiring of fresh engineering graduates has come as a rude shock to those who are passing out of colleges this year; that 2024 saw the worst hiring in 20 years!

Are we seeing a repeat of the 2008 meltdown?

Will the current situation go back to what it was a few years ago when India's IT majors recruited fresh graduates from colleges in their thousands?

What has changed now?

Aditya Narayan Mishra, managing director and CEO, CIEL HR Services, explains the employment scenario.

"What is required today is an innovative mindset, solution-oriented mindset, problem solving mindset, and growth-oriented mindset," Aditya Narayan Mishra tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier in the concluding segment of a two-part interview.

Many experts are of the opinion that the Indian education system does not let a student think innovatively. They learn by rote. Do you think this is a reason for unemployment?

Our education system is heavily based on information. We are asked to read books, remember and produce it in the examinations. Then, we get a mark sheet and based on that, we apply for jobs.

So, the students were taught only to do the repetitive job.

Today, we have Chatbots and Google who has all the information, and information is available on the touch of a button. In fact, we have an overload of information.

The new skill the new generation needs is, how to deal with information and separate the wheat from the chaff. But we are not teaching our children that in high school.

Our exams are not testing a kid's ability to process the overload of information. But when the kid comes to the job market, he is expected to deal with so much of information.

Similarly, another skill the younger generation needs to have is, problem solving. But in our schools and colleges, we practice some problems and reproduce the answers.

What is required today is an innovative mindset, solution-oriented mindset, problem solving mindset, and growth-oriented mindset.

You mean our education system needs total revamping?

Absolutely. If you look at the education system in the US, they did not focus on science, technology and maths but in India and China, those who were born in the 1970s and the 1980s, focused on science engineering, medicine, technology, by rote learning.

It worked in the 1990s and early 2000s. Maybe in the 2010s also.

Now in the 2020s, with Gen AI and other automation technologies that have come in, it is a different world.

Today, it is not required to study science, technology, mathematics alone. You can study political science, history or English or any language but you need to have the skills to deal with problems, deal with information, deal with machines, deal with human beings, etc.

You need the mindset for continuous learning which is not taught in schools or colleges.

It is not just a problem in India. Not many countries are investing in this.

Do you think if the education system doesn't change, we will miss the bus?

We will miss the bus to use all these new tools, and doing the high-end work.

In US, some people focused on R&D and product development while we did services. That is why India has TCS and Infosys while the US has Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Similarly, if we miss the bus again, all the high-quality work will happen in the US and the developed world while we will suffer from unemployment, and social tensions which is already visible in some parts.

IMAGE: Aditya Narayan Mishra. Photograph: Kind courtesy Aditya Narayan Mishra

What is your advice to the young graduates who are coming out of colleges now to a reality where not much hiring is happening?

To those who have just finished engineering or MCA or BSc, BBA, I will say that they should take up whatever internship opportunities they are getting.

Many companies are willing to take apprentices, trainees and interns. This is necessary to get a real-world experience.

Without real world experience, you tend to lose your sharpness.

It is very important that they pick up any apprenticeship or internship.

Number two: They should look for opportunities to learn the latest tools and luckily, there are a lot of opportunities today especially on social media where people are posting real life challenges and experiences.

Basically, they need to keep themselves updated.

Number three: They should think innovatively. It could be doing some entrepreneurial projects; anything innovative in any field, maybe in an area which is not aligned with their education.

They should think innovative and try to solve problems.

Only when you sharpen your skills, you will remain relevant.

In a few months, the next batch of graduates will come out and you will become irrelevant.

What will you tell those youngsters who are going to join college now?

They should choose whatever area they are interested in or passionate about.

They should not listen to those who have limited information on the world.

They need to think differently.

They need to follow their passion; painting, history, science, philosophy.. anything is fine.

What is going to be very crucial in today's world is a multidisciplinary approach. So, one should not say that I will only become a specialist. For example, along with history, you can also learn technology.

This is the advice I will give to the 17 year olds who are starting their college education.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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