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Bengaluru: A path-breaking initiative to empower students with hands-on experience

Hans India 2020-01-29 01:20:48

Bengaluru: Just within a few months of its inception, St. Francis College, Bangalore launched a one-of-its-kind internship programme for its first-year students, to give them an opportunity to be a part of the professional environment during their course. The real world experience in the form of access to professionals and work environment, immensely contributes to the learning of students.

This trailblazing initiative is sure to catapult St. Francis College's position as a thought leader among institutions. Since academia and industry are two important pillars of our economy, a robust collaboration between the two will enable growth in the education system and produce an employment-ready workforce. Situated in the heart of Bangalore, in the vibrant neighbourhood of Koramangala, St. Francis College established by the Franciscan Brothers, is committed to mould the younger generation into high-profile professionals. The state-of-the-art campus offers the finest resources and amenities for holistic learning and development of the students.

Br. Sayimon, Director, St. Francis College, said, "It was my vision to address the employability issue that students currently face across India. Through our internship programme, we are among the first colleges in the country to bridge the industry-academia gap. We have given all 400 of our students from across India a big boost, to be more confident as well as enhance their readiness for the corporate world. Our first semester students are now better prepared to understand the nuances of the corporate world and interpret the business scenario."

Commending the college on the initiative, Prof. Japhet, Vice Chancellor, Bangalore Central University said, "At a time when India is grappling with lack of skilled workforce, it is encouraging to see how St. Francis College is grooming candidates with hands-on exposure. I congratulate the institution for taking up the task to bridge the industry-academia gap. This internship program is sure to serve as a model to be emulated across other universities as well. Initiatives such as this will be key to realizing our government's vision to drive employment."

Over 105 leading companies across various spheres of business and NGO's descended at the campus at a unique interactive event to offer internships to students. All the 400 students were assigned projects based on their interests, the nature of work and location. The top recruiters included the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Decathlon, VLCC, Zivame, Tripvillas, Ingo Electric, Eat Raja, Datacor Informatics, I am Here App, JBrown, Life VR, Integro, Nightingales Medical Trust, Little Sisters of the Poor, Dream India Network and many more. While the minimum period for internship was 15 days, the maximum extended up till 6 months. The students could continue to work post 3pm on weekdays and weekends.

Through the internship programme, the students gained first-hand exposure to various corporate functions including communication, business development, social media marketing, financial literacy, data entry, website development, interacting with clients in India and overseas, outreach and much more.

Speaking at the successful completion of the program, Sameera Fernandes, Dean, St. Francis College, who has over 19 years experience in the corporate world and international affairs said, "We wanted to address the employability issue right from the start. Our courses have been designed keeping in mind the future of work. We also wanted our students to understand and experience work culture, so that they have a right perspective on the academic front and see its implementation right through. As a thought leader in the industry, my plan is to bridge industry and academia. One way was to change the 'stereotype' of a fresher.

"Now our students have industry experience right from the first semester, over and above gaining exposure through guest lecturers, panel discussions, industrial tours and project reports. By the time they graduate with a degree in their hand, the students will have already have commendable work experience across 6 companies/sectors in their resume, she added."

The internship program has given students at St. Francis College, the opportunity to use their years on campus to explore various sectors/industries and then choose their 'career of choice' once they graduate. It also ensures that the younger generation enjoys their work and pursues their passion. The students are key contributors at the work place and also bring about change in the work culture. St. Francis College also takes pride in introducing new courses to expand the horizons of students. An aviation course affiliated to IATA Canada is in the pipeline, which will give students an option to pursue alternate careers after pilot and cabin crew training. An interior design course which would give students professional exposure through internships and enlightening lectures by visiting faculty, is also in the offing.

The college is also committed to mould students to be socially responsible. Students from St. Francis College recently participated in a Polio Eradication Drive in association with Rotary International, WHO and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase their social consciousness.