When it comes to setting benchmarks and leading the way Infosys has never been found wanting. And it is this quest for excellence that led to the launching of Spark -- a programme that helps increase the aspiration levels of students and encourages networking among students and working professionals.
Through this on-campus, one-day programme, Infosys is helping students from Class VIII, IX & X, degree and engineering colleges help assess their industry readiness.
In an e-mail interview with Prasanna D Zore, Srikantan Moorthy, vice president and head, education and research at Infosys discusses how Spark -- and other projects like Campus Connect, Project Genesis, Catch Them Young and Rural Reach Programme -- helps the student community come to terms with a fast-changing information technology space in India.
What is Spark all about and how does it help the student community?
Spark is typically a one day programme which exposes students to the best in class learning environment and techniques. Through this on-campus event held at Infosys Development centres across the country, students from different age groups and segments ranging from high school to degree and engineering colleges (from urban and suburban areas), can assess their industry readiness and check and calibrate their aspirations meter.
Does it help in finding meaningful employment to graduates who attend it?
Spark attempts to ignite students by exposing them to latest advances in the field of information technology sector. This will help students make informed decisions on career choices and goals.
Can you elaborate on gender sensitivisation part of the Spark programme?
Senior women employees interact with girl students and provide information on career opportunities for women in IT. Also, employees give information to students on the gender inclusive practices in place at Infosys and other companies -- sensitising them to the unique challenges that working women face; at the same time encouraging girls to aspire.
How many students have benefitted from this programme yet and how do you measure it?
Spark has impacted over 15,000 students and nearly 1,000 faculty members across Indian cities. Spark has also ignited students who were disabled, underprivileged, from several women's minority institutions and government colleges.
What's your advice to those young Indians who have been laid off or are worried that they may not have their jobs tomorrow?
It's essential that graduates improve their competitiveness and ensure that they chart a course of learning and development. As the environment is challenging, it's essential that the youth are competitively skilled.
What are the other initiatives at Infosys that are helping students/graduates come to terms with their skills and talents?
Infosys Technologies Ltd has launched various programmes aimed at evolving a model through which Infosys and academic institutions can partner for competitiveness, enhance the pool of highly capable talent for growth requirements in the information technology (IT) space. It includes programmes like Campus Connect, Project Genesis and Catch the Young and the Infosys' Rural Outreach Programme.
Launched in May 2004, a first of its kind industry-academia interaction programme, which imparts faculty training and helps in keeping the college curriculum updated. The Campus Connect Programme has covered more than 35,000 students and helped nurture their skills till date. Around 510 colleges are involved and have benefited from the Campus Connect Programme. About 2,300 faculty have been given training to ensure that the lecturers are up to date.
This is another initiative which aims to address the talent shortage in the BPO industry. Genesis includes programmes like Train the Tiger and Principal's Conclave which tries to align curriculum and teaching methodologies at colleges with industry requirements.
Catch Them Young
The Infosys Catch Them Young programme launched in 2007 is targeted at exposing high school students, across the country, to the power of information technology (IT). Selected students undergo an intensive training on basic software development concepts besides working in teams on a project to develop a software application in an area of interest. This project utilises and demonstrates the power of IT.
The Infosys' Rural Reach Programme
This module is targeted at promoting computer awareness and literacy among rural school children. RRP is a one-day computer awareness programme, aimed at students from classes 5 to 7, studying in rural schools, and delivered in the local language.
This gives us the confidence to look at this pool of talent even more aggressively going ahead. Infosys has contributed more than 50,000 trained people to the country, making a concrete difference to the availability of trained manpower in India.