In the words of Edmund Burke, “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper”. Adverse situations allow one to be innovative and think something out of the box. The deadly corona virus pandemic had brought the entire world to a standstill. Thankfully, the somber days seem to have passed by and things are now returning to normalcy.
As per an estimate by Aspiring Minds conducted in 2019, 80 percent of Indian engineers were unfit to find a job in the knowledge domain, and the corona virus pandemic induced recession has only worsened their situation. Millions of them are either unemployed or are stuck in jobs contradictory with their degree majors. The simple reason stated for this kind of despondency is the fact that there is a large mismatch between their ambitions and their job readiness. Engineers in India seem to trudge along the long trodden path of merely ‘earning degrees’ which, in today’s times, is simply insufficient to make them fit to be a productive component of the economy.
A reciprocative relationship exists between an industry and an institute. Needless to say, times are changing now and so are the demands of the industry. Thus, the obsolescence of certain technologies is obvious. Newer and innovative ideas are always useful to any industry and such ideas must find acceptance in the minds of budding engineers, who aspire to gain a berth in the noble engineering profession.
Bridging the present sizeable gap between academia and industry is the most pressing priority at present. With this very vision, the veteran Mechanical Engineering Society in its maiden initiative conducted a six-day long, Industry Readiness Training Workshop from November 2, 2020 to November 7, 2020 under TEQIP Phase III. The theme of the workshop was:
“Current industrial alacrity and career opportunities in the field of Mechanical Engineering.”
The esteemed speakers for the event were our very own alumni of BIT Sindri, from the batch of 197,2 who shared a fairly bigger picture of the current industry with the fellow techies. The eminent list of guest speakers comprised:
- Er. Anil Jha – Former CMD & Director (Technical), NTPC
- Er. Prem Kumar Singh – Chief Engineer, Coal India Limited
- Er. Raman Srivastav – Former Director (Technical), SAIL
- Capt. A. Choudhary – ex-Indian Army, Head of Services Division, Maruti-Suzuki
- Er. Janardan Sharma – former Chief Manager (R&D), BPCL.
Nearly 100 students from the departments of Mechanical and Production Engineering actively participated in the workshop. Various topics were taken up by the speakers for deliberation, as is described hereafter.
The event was inaugurated by Mr. Sanjay Kumar Singh (HOD – Department of Mechanical Engineering). Sir welcomed the speakers and briefed the eager audience regarding the objective of the workshop. Thereafter, the session was presided over by Anil Sir, who discussed about the prospects of non-conventional energy in near future and the key engineering opportunities associated with it. He explained how the alarming depletion of fuel resources has forced large economies of the world to shift their focus towards non-conventional means of energy. With a quick questionnaire from the audience, the session was declared over.
On the second day, Captain A. Choudhary Sir laid emphasis on the expectations of the industry from the future workforce. He also shared personal experiences as an Army veteran and narrated how he managed to take out some quality time for himself despite the tight schedule. Captain A. Chaudhary also emphasized on the importance of self-discipline as a major life-defining etiquette and how it can go on to transform one’s life.
Third day was coordinated by Prem Sir who presented his findings about the current BIT syllabus for Mechanical undergrads. Sir rated the syllabus as ‘excellently comprehensible’ but also suggested the department to include software related courses such as ERP in Project Management and so on. This intuitive measure made the students realise the pitfalls in the course structure and encouraged them to find alternatives to the same. Sir suggested that inclusion of a course on ‘Analysis of Renewable Energies’ in the curriculum will surely help the students to carve methodical paths for a sustainable future. The main motive of the session was to throw light on how we can bring the two spheres of book-learned theory and pragmatism together to solve real-world challenges.
On the fourth day, Raman Sir, a senior steel industry stalwart, talked about the process of iron making and the advancements that have been lately incorporated in it. The key points of the session included the history of iron production, processes involved, factors like quality of raw material, role of temperature and pressure, blast furnace and various pollution control measures employed by the industry. Raman Sir also delved deep into the current trends in the steel sector and the present day demands of steel-sector employers. Sir also urged the Mechanical undergrads to not hesitate even once to join the steel industry, which is generally considered a field predominantly occupied by metallurgists.
The fifth day was declared as an “Open Interactive Session” between the dignitaries and the eager participants. The session threw open a platform to the students, bubbling with queries, to converse directly with the speakers. The students queried lively on key issues such as internships and placement opportunities for mechanical undergraduates. Some were also keen on how the students could play a pivotal role in the restoration of lost glory of BIT Sindri and maintain the legacy of the prestigious Mechanical Engineering Department. The speakers shared instances from their own BIT days and gave an insight to the students to draw parallels and proceed further. The session really acted as a catalyst and upped the tempo of the students. The dignitaries encouraged students to pursue higher studies and not to worry about joining the industry immediately after passing.
The last day of the workshop was coordinated by Anil Sir. He talked about green energy and electric vehicles and also threw light on the scope and challenges that they might face. An insightful presentation with real life comparisons presented a clear picture to the audience. Sir also urged the students to study about the recent developments in the EV sector and try out research opportunities in the same. The presentation was later followed by an intriguing question-answer session.
Towards the end of the workshop, Mr. Sanjay Kumar Singh (HOD – Department of Mechanical Engineering) proposed a vote of thanks to all the speakers and requested their constant mentoring in future endeavours.
The session was declared closed by Mr. Amit Mishra (Assistant Professor -Department of Mechanical Engineering). The workshop was entirely organised by the members of Mechanical Engineering Society in close coordination with faculty members of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Before bidding a final adieu, the panellists expressed their overwhelming satisfaction at the assiduous zeal of the entire Mechanical Department and reaffirmed the students about the future prospects of conducting similar workshops.