Are internships helpful in getting you industry ready?
With degrading value of engineering in India, AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) is trying to rejuvenate the field by bringing change in the very process of getting a degree.
The short answer is -
Internships are extremely necessary to ensure that technical students get exposure to the industrial environment, current technology relevant to their subjects and opportunities to learn, understand and sharpen real-time technical and managerial skills.
These skills are paramount, especially to curb the current situation of poor quality engineers in the colleges mushrooming across the country. Internships help generate interest in genuinely gaining knowledge and understanding its applicability in work. They also help students become successful professionals - a tag which needs you to have excellent soft skills, entrepreneurial and leadership ability, team spirit and commitment, besides expertise in your chosen field. You learn the basics of real work only when you enter the industry. India's work culture operates under this vicious circle where one needs experience to get a job and a job to get experience. This dilemma can only be solved with the help of internships.
What is the role of AICTE?
With degrading value of engineering in India, AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) is trying to rejuvenate the field by bringing change in the very process of getting a degree and this is a decision which is going to have a great influence on future engineers. AICTE has finalised its policy on mandatory internship for engineering students, mandating 600-700 hours for B.E./B.Tech. and 450-500 hours for diploma courses.
To enforce the mandatory internship system, AICTE has taken certain steps to make the process of scoring an internship smooth. According to the new system,
- 14-20 credits should be earned through internships for a degree
- 10-14 credits for a diploma
- Students can also earn credits for entrepreneurial activity/project work/seminar and inter/intra-institutional training
(1 credit is equivalent to 40-45 hours of work)
Training and Placement Cell
All AICTE-approved institutions are now required to have a dedicated Training and Placement Cell headed by a Training and Placement Officer (TPO). They should allow a minimum of 1 per cent of the total budget for the cell’s functioning. It should also arrange internships for students in industries or relevant organisations after the second, fourth and six or seventh semester, or according to guidelines of the AICTE/affiliating university. They can also create an online system to arrange and manage internships.
Also now it is mandatory for a student to earn ‘Activity Points’ on top of their academic grades. AICTE has formulated a mechanism to earn such Activity Points. While those pursuing regular 4-year degree programmes must earn at least 100 Activity Points during the course, diploma students need atleast 75 points during their 3-year course.
Internship and Job Portals
To assist in the students in the internship process and reduce the great divide between companies and students, AICTE has created an AICTE Internship Portal where a student from any AICTE approved college can fill in his details and apply for an internship. You need to upload your resume and start applying to the right companies for the position they are seeking. If the company likes your application, they will contact you and if you clear the hiring rounds, you will get the internship. In addition, it has also launched a AICTE Job Portal to help students find attractive placements and in turn, assist industries in getting suitable candidates as well!
Objectives of Internships
Here are the objectives that AICTE has outlined for their internship program. They believe an internship will -
- Expose Technical students to the industrial environment which cannot be simulated in the classroom and hence create competent professionals for the industry.
- Provide possible opportunities for students to learn, understand and sharpen the real-time technical/managerial skills required on the job.
- Provide exposure to the current technological developments relevant to the subject area of training.
- Bestow ‘Industrial Internship’ experience that will be used in classroom discussions.
- Create conditions conducive to the quest for knowledge and its applicability on the job.
- Learn to apply Technical knowledge in real industrial situations.
- Help students gain experience in writing Technical reports/projects.
- Expose students to the engineer’s responsibilities and ethics.
Benefits of Internships for Students
As a student, I would be glad to be given the chance to work in an organisation and learn job skills before stepping out into the real world. An internship offers myriad benefits -
- An opportunity to get hired in the Industry/ organization.
- Practical experience in an organizational setting.
- Excellent opportunity to see how the theoretical aspects learned in classes are integrated into the practical world. On-floor experience provides much more professional experience which is often worth more than classroom teaching.
- Helps them decide if the industry and the profession is the best career option to pursue. Opportunity to learn new skills and supplement knowledge.
- Opportunity to practice communication and teamwork skills.
- Opportunity to learn strategies like time management, multi-tasking etc in an industrial setup.
- Opportunity to meet new people and learn networking skills.
Where to find an internship
Internships are not that easy to find, especially considering the number of graduating students in the market, but if you try hard, there are a lot of opportunities. Explore creative ways to find the right Internship during your internship search to make the process worthwhile. AICTE is also helping in the internship search through their internship portal. The process is little tricky but certainly works. The T&P cell of your college will be able to help you get internships via AICTE portal.
While in the internship, it is paramount that you present yourself well and keep an eye out for potential jobs. Learn the Basics of landing your preferred job and build your skills accordingly. It would be much better to keep these things in mind while you are in your internship itself, so that you don't miss out on potential opportunities.
I hope that helps! If you need any further, feel free to ask out in the comment section.
Saloni Khandelwal is the Co-founder of Exambazaar (www.exambazaar.com). Exambazaar is revolutionising the Coaching Institute Discovery and Application Space, and is the complete guide for Competitive Exam Preparation in India. Saloni graduated from Computer Science, IIT Delhi in 2011 and thereafter worked in Investment Banking in Deutsche Bank, London for 5 years.