Emergence of the Emancipator: The Training Committee
PROLOGUE AND OBJECT:
While having other academic stuff on the table during the junior year, coping up with the overall development of one’s skill set is a little strenuous. Unlike hard skills which are purely academic or technical and can be imbibed from schools and colleges, soft skills are non-academic positive traits which cannot be rote. With a group of enthusiastic students ready to help out, the goals can be notched down pretty comfortably. Training and Placement Cell of NIT Rourkela has started a committee, Training Committee, to work as a sister organisation to the Placement Committee, to serve some highly important purposes which have been jotted down below:
- Make the students ready for the placement season by equipping them with industry required skills set.
- Area of interest is the one thing which if not chosen wisely may have a blight, affecting the career of an individual. This led to some initiatives focussing on helping the students choose their field of delight.
- Alumni pursuing higher education in renowned universities are the first approach for the doubts running continuously inside the student’s head. Hence, the committee ensures good connections with the alumni.
- To ace, an interview, having the right soft skills and confidence is one the important recipes. Hence, to inbuilt these traits among the students is one of the major purposes of why this committee has been formed.
The proposed body would be working independent of the Placement Committee but under the Training and Placement Cell for the development of the employability of the students of NIT Rourkela.
Upon asking Sashank Sai, an alumnus and one of the founders of this committee about the formation of the committee and how they pulled it off in front of the authorities he said,
When we created a rough draft of the initiative, we approached the current placement committee with the idea where we had a solid brainstorming session for making the model foolproof.
We were then asked to quantify the model, team numbers, the workload, the objectives and the power jurisdiction in the form of a formal draft that was to be pitched to the Training and Placement cell head.
This draft was further discussed at length to make it as sound as possible. This, when pitched was received with open arms by the TnP head. So overall, all the work went with the creation of the model. The officials responsible were more than happy to welcome the work.
The training committee will be taking up the following initiatives
COMPOSITION OF THE TRAINING COMMITTEE
The team comprised of 25 members, out of which the committee has 3 secretaries, Rohit Dash, Deepak Kumar, and Swaha Swayamsiddha. 20 Training Committee Coordinators (TCCs) will be responsible for organizing SSD sessions and the other five will conduct the open-to-all coding classes. The committee has ensured that the candidate has a proper skill set for being a TCC, the selection process for coordinators included cessation of a set of three tasks and a post-interview.
TRAVERSING THROUGH SOFT SKILL DEVELOPMENT (SSD) SESSIONS
You might be exceptional in technical skills or any other hard skills, but it amounts to little if you don't work well with others. Some of the most important professional skills for employees alike simply cannot be taught in the classroom or measured on a paper. These traits are soft skills. Considering the importance of soft skills, Training Committee came up with an idea of SSD Sessions which would be comprised of:-
● Mock Group Discussions (GD) sessions
● Mock Personal Interview (PI)
● Just-a-minute (JAM) sessions
● Case Study Groups
At first, there will be two screening GDs conducted by the TCCs which would aim to segregate students into three groups. Group 1 amount to have students who already have good communication skills and Group 3 comprised of students who have poor communication skills. Students will be regrouped for even semester. Based on the communication skills of the groups, Training committee has landed up with a schedule for each group:
|Odd Semester||Even Semester|
|Group1||2+1(optional) GDs and 1 PI||2 case studies/1 demo class(for MSc students), 2 GDs and 1 PI|
|Group2||3GDs, 2 JAM sessions, and 1 PI||2 case studies/1 demo class(for MSc students), 2GDs, JAM sessions and 1 PI|
|Group3||4GDs, 4 JAM sessions, and 1 PI||2 case studies/1 demo class(for MSc students), 3GDs/1GD+1 demo class(for MSc students), 3 JAM sessions and 1 PI|
The time management for conducting the sessions smoothly is very impressive. The sessions comply from 6 pm to 8 pm on weekdays excluding Friday. This lane them with 6 sessions in their hands. Each GD will consist of 8 students. Two TCCs would be assigned to 100 students and the concerned students can report any issue to their assigned TCCs.
WORKSHOPS AND OPEN CLASSES
Instead of brainstorming over various sites for classes on the industry required languages like PYTHON and R, how would it be if you will have them all in your college? The Committee’s initiative for a better tomorrow doesn't just incorporate soft skill training sessions therewithal has decided to conduct workshops over the work which is done in a non-core sector.
The main grounds behind such an initiative is to ensure that the students primarily the sophomores and the junior year pay proper heed on what is expected of an employee in the non-core sector. This has been aimed to be achieved with the help of our alumni based in various sectors. In the first year of working of the committee, the Coordinators will be contacting Alumni targeting at least 3 workshops per semester.
Deepak Kumar Said,
The dominant reason behind conducting open classes on Python and R programming is their demand these days especially for Analyst profiles. Python primarily can be utilized for a wide range of applications like scripting, developing and testing. Since our curriculum doesn't involve classes on these tremendously popular and widely used languages, we have decided to have open classes on them.
Python classes will be held in the odd semester whereas R Programming in the even.
The committee focuses on coding and soft skills which will help students in various aspects but how will it help a student in finding his interest? On this Sashank says,
The committee does focus on coding and soft skills, but we also plan to conduct CV breakdown workshops.
The cv workshops would consist of an open workshop related to one stellar profile of one of our alumni of one particular field.
There would be a step and step breakdown of the cv and the way those were achieved. All this leading to the final destination as to where they are now and what they are doing. This would help the students see what paths lead where and how.
Clinching the Participation
Nevertheless, it is for the welfare of the students it is very much possible to witness the failure of the committee if the students would not turn up. To ensure the participation of the students, the committee has planned to adopt a point system which goes as follows:
Each student will have to meet the basic requirement of points across both the semesters.
If a student falls short of said number of ‘points’ in the odd semester, he/she will have to make up for the difference of points in the next semester.
Any extra ‘points’ collected in the odd semester, would be carried over to the next semester.
If at the end of 2 semesters of training, a student fails to fulfill this criterion of the total number of ‘points’, required action shall be taken against the student, in consultation with both the Training Committee and the Placement Committee members.
A PLATFORM TO WORK ON PROFILE DEVELOPMENT:
The PD(Profile Development) Sessions would largely focus on CV building for prospective candidates using Skype interaction with alumni who are pursuing/ have pursued higher education in renowned institutes.
Since there would be 6 such sessions throughout the year, the focus would be on 6 different fields:
- MS profile.
- MBA profile.
- PSU profile.
- Ph.D. profile.
- M.Tech profile.
Completely out of the box profiles.
Talking about the internship opportunities, Deepak Kumar said,
Internship scenario in our college can be improved further. College regulations prohibit a student from undertaking a six-month internship, which some of the renowned firms offer, owing to academic constraints and projects. However there are many off campus non core internships, both international and domestic that have a duration of 2-3 months and offer a good amount of money. The committee members would put in the required amount of research and help perspective candidates with the information. Along with that, the committee will be coordinating with Monday Morning to keep the students updated on the application deadlines of various Internship programs (MITACS, DAAD, etc).
Being an alumnus, we asked Sashank, how helpful did he find this initiative to be, here is what he said,
I would have saved a lot of time and effort if I had been a part of something like this.
My efforts would've found direction. I knew a lot of my batchmates with exceptional skills but they found it difficult to crack through interviews because of soft skills or a lack of knowledge of coding, that was unfair.
I personally had a phobia of coding and if possible I would definitely attend the basic coding classes even now(chuckles).
Keeping all that aside, students are introduced to a number of myths like CG is not important which are all based on hearsay. we would like to tackle that as well.
Considering we increase the skill set of the students as a whole, this increases the overall student quality of NITR which would result in an advantage in the placement scenario.
An informal light-hearted talk session was planned out for the third year students pertaining to their placement and internship scenarios with Swaha Swayamsiddha, Rohit Dash and Deepak Kumar taking the center stage. The session began with the introduction of the above-enumerated members of the training committee. This session aimed at exterminating the major issue of lack of culture among the students of NIT Rourkela.
Rohit Dash went on explaining what lack of culture means. He emphasized the fact that the students lack the clarity of what they want to build upon in the future. The absence of soft skills and self-expression has been a major problem is what he stressed upon. Then came along Deepak Kumar who talked about SSD(Soft skill development )Team which was in action last year and how the 20 handpicked members of this team executed an exercise in the even semesters with all the internship and job providing companies gone away. However, the exercises were kind of monotonous as said by him and hence to improve upon this he and another alumnus Sashank Sai started the training committee. Carrying out things in an organized manner they planned on segregating the students into groups and have sessions on a regular basis. Secondly, he spoke about how they plan to help the students pursue MS by giving them a sumptuous idea of the previously successful alumni and this would be pseudo mandatory for the students to have an interest in. The later phase would span out the time for profile development in accordance with the student's skills. Next in line was Swaha Swayamsiddha who gave a detailed overview of what the committee plans on doing for the betterment of students. Starting with JAM (Just A Minute) sessions, group discussions, taking mock interviews, having one on one conversations to make the students get into their comfort zone and also being multi-linguistic if need be, she enumerated all the exercises. She brought forth how from the input collected from these periodic exercises they will divide the students into different groups and work on them accordingly for their development. She continued as she spoke about how the aptitude tests, coding classes and core development session classes would be held to further the interest of the student. Rohit Dash summed up the session elucidating the work of training committee as follows:
- Conducting PATs(Placement Aptitude Test)
- Soft Skill development sessions
- Having generic coding classes
- Professional development sessions
- Familiarizing the students with a variety of internship opportunities
Following the talks was a question-answer session where the students had their queries answered by the training committee members. With this, the proceedings came to an end.
Here is what Swaha Swayamsiddha had to say regarding the session
Apart from developing the aptitude skills which are very much important, we want the students to develop better communication skills. We want to make sure that the students choose a career that they want and not to go with the flow following somebody else and later in life be disappointed with what they had chosen. With several career options available we want the students to choose one of their own according to their interests and skills. We will keep motivating the students and want them to put in efforts from their side and not just attend sessions owing to the strict point system or any other factor. It is high time for them already and when they sit for placements we want to make sure that they have a firm choice of their own. This will be mutually beneficial to both the students and the companies that come offering jobs and internships.
Rohit Dash too had a say of his own as jotted below
When I was in my third year, I myself did not prefer to turn up for these sessions. I personally felt that it wouldn't do me any good but this here is an effort for the people who come in here get some sort of additional value to be it soft skills or some sort of professional clarity. I hope that the students coming here take this in a disciplined manner that they are only gaining something through this. They should take this seriously because this is being done for them and not for us.
With the unrivaled vast initiatives taken by the Training Committee, Team Monday Morning wishes them all the luck for their better success and better output from the buildup process for the betterment of students.