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Forget jobs, engineering graduates finding it difficult to pursue internships

Abhijeet Anand | New Delhi |

Even though the government is intent on developing skills of unemployed youth through schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), however the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) are reportedly not interested in providing internships to the engineering graduates.

Apprenticeship Act says that all firms need to have 10 per cent of its employees as apprentice every year. In 2014, an amendment made was in the Apprenticeship Act, which increased the percentage from 3 to 10.

The Act applies to engineers as well as diploma holders. But, the PSUs generally hire diploma holders and technicians through HRD Ministry, Bureau of Practical Training (BOPT).

PSUs are now hiring engineering graduates; according to their performance in the Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering (GATE) exam, which is conducted jointly by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and IITs and their personal interviews. The weightage for the GATE scores is higher.

Out of the over 3 lakh students who apply for internships only 1.38 lakh got internships in 2016-17. These internships are supposed to develop skills of the engineering graduates. It is estimated that out of the 16 lakh students who pursue engineering every year only 3 lakh end up with jobs.

When informed about the issue, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said that he will have to find out what is happening. Even as the government is opening up new IITs, the future of those completing engineering courses from the sundry private engineering colleges is uncertain. A large number of them do not get campus placements.

Sources in HRD Ministry say that those pursuing courses like Ceramic Engineering or Geophysical Engineering from IIT also do not get jobs.

HRD sources say that almost all the private companies take interns because they get a qualified engineer or a diploma holder at a nominal sum of Rs 5,000 and Rs 3,700 respectively of which half the amount is paid by the government.

Engineering graduates and diploma holders have to apply online for internships through BOPT which is managed by the HRD Ministry. For the one year internship that they get in the company, they get a certificate from BOPT. This helps the engineering graduate seek jobs in other companies.

An official said that in some sectors which are not very sophisticated in nature, the need for diploma holders could be more. “Where there is modernization, the requirement of engineers may be more. Mining sector is one such area,” said the official.

The demand for civil engineers seems to be at an all time low. Of the 1.38 lakh engineering graduates and diploma holders who were able to get internships in companies in 2016-17, the number of civil engineers and diploma holders were only 7,000.