Budding techies to lend a hand to state SMEs

In coming months,students from hundreds of technical colleges in Gujarat would troop into industry clusters to find out the problems they face and help solve them.

Written by Adam Halliday | Ahmedabad | Published:January 30, 2011 4:40 am

In coming months,students from hundreds of technical colleges in Gujarat would troop into industry clusters to find out the problems they face and help solve them.

The idea is two-fold: students would benefit from solving,or at least attempting to solve,these real-life technical problems and the industry would benefit by getting solutions at no extra cost and perhaps find future employees who would already have had experiences in their factories.

The idea has been mooted by,among others,Professor Akshai Aggarwal,Vice Chancellor of the Gujarat Technological University (GTU),who on Saturday ordered all 502 colleges affiliated to GTU to form “Udisha clubs” with faculty and student members. Their deadline is February 15.

To kick off this “Udisha Clubs” concept,an “Industrial Shodh Yatra” has been planned for this coming weekend.

Students from the Vishwakarma Government Engineering College (VGEC) at Chandkheda are expected to visit the Vatva GIDC with their principal,M R Patel,and ask industrialists there what problems they face,and if they are willing,allow students to take up projects where they would attempt to solve them.

“In my experience,the problems that these smaller industries face are usually not major but minor ones. So we believe our students can easily help solve them if they are tasked with it. The hope is that industries share this belief,” said Patel.

Professor Aggarwal said the initiative is to “put into action what we have all been lamenting in seminars all these years and change what newspaper headlines have been carrying in regular intervals,namely,that there is a disconnect between industry and academia and that a miniscule percentage of technical graduates are employable”.

The visit to Vatva is expected to be a “faith-building process” so the students understand how industrial units function while the units gain confidence in the students.

The immediate future looks promising.

Tanmay Mehta,secretary of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI),said the response of their member associations have been positive and industrial units are “open to sharing the gaps and issues they face on a day-to-day basis”.

The GCCI,which is partnering with GTU for this initiative,has already sent letters to these associations which generally comprise Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),Mehta said.

“The SME sector is a major growth driver of the economy,” he explained,“and the main challenge to SMEs is getting a good talent pool to choose from. Besides this,many of the innovations that we are sure students would come across in their research is something that we SMEs sorely need but not getting enough of.”

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