<![CDATA[CGP Academy. UK - Blog/Articles]]>Sun, 22 Nov 2015 20:17:48 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Are graduates ready for the workplace?]]>Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:33:35 GMThttp://www.cgpacademy.com/blogarticles/are-graduates-ready-for-the-workplaceOriginally published at http://www.indiaincorporated.com/

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by: Joan Reilly
The recent announcement in India’s Union Budget proposing a national multi-skill programme, ‘Skill India’, with the aim of instilling the youth of India with an awareness of the importance of employability and entrepreneur skills, is very welcome.

The lack of employability skills is not, however, a problem unique to India. As the global economy recovers, and more and more businesses develop an international focus, it is crucial that there are sufficient numbers of graduates with the requisite skills to progress within a company and realise their full potential.

The alternative is high rates of attrition, and the likelihood that economic recovery will stall. However, employability skills are not easily acquired in an academic environment.

For many HE (Higher Education) institutions the employment of graduates is a key performance indicator. The focus, however, is often on the numbers employed and not necessarily on where they are employed.

In India, discussion with many Placement Officers indicated that their priority is to ensure that graduates are in employment without considering the actual preparedness for the workplace. An extreme example is when I gave a presentation at a college in India to over 100 students, a month away from their final examinations, and not one of them had started to compose their CV. The students, at that stage, had been given no opportunity to consider their key competencies and how these could be matched to their career aspirations.

Discussion with leading employers in India also indicated considerable concern about the dearth of employability skills among graduates, highlighting communication, teamwork, creativity, and cross-cultural awareness. As a result employers have to invest in expensive training programmes to address the lack of skills among graduates.

Programmes,of course,that are more vocationally-oriented do go a long way in preparing graduates for the work place. However, such programmes are only available to some students. Indeed, in India it may be argued that the system of affiliation of colleges to universities leaves little opportunity for innovative curricula.

The lack of employability skills, however, is a global issue. There are examples of HE institutions with initiatives that actively encourage preparedness for the workplace. In the UK for example, the University of Kent’s Careers and Employability Service offers an online programme on key skills leading to the University’s Careers Employability Award. Durham University offers workshops on a range of employability skills that are delivered by employers. Student feedback on these initiatives is very positive with participants indicating how much better prepared they are for the workplace.

There are examples of good practice in India. However, many programmes that focus on the development of employability skills tend to be initiatives led by individuals who have the vision to realise the importance of preparing students for work.

The proposed ‘Skill India’ programme is an opportunity to address the lack of employability skills among graduates and equip them with the necessary skills to be successful in their careers, and ultimately, contribute to the economic growth of India. 

<![CDATA[Four areas Modi government can focus on in the North East]]>Sat, 09 Aug 2014 02:41:20 GMThttp://www.cgpacademy.com/blogarticles/four-areas-modi-government-can-focus-on-in-the-north-eastOriginally published at Economic Times
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by: Nikhil Agarwal
Cherrapunji is not the wettest place on earth anymore (as per popular belief), now it is Mawsynram - a sleepy town in Meghalaya not far from Cherrapunji. Surprised!! Many such stories about North East would make you wonder about the most magnificent regions of our country.

The North East Region comprises of eight states of India - Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram. The eights states are connected through land to the rest of the country by a narrow 26 km wide "chicken neck" or "Siliguri corridor" running on the top of Bengal, squeezed between Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. With a population of around 40 million, North East region is the utmost 'gifted' region w.r.t natural resources, flora and fauna. Yet, the integration of the region with mainstream of the country is not as it should be.

Strengths of the region

1) Education: Education and literacy rate of the region higher than national average of 74%. In 2013, Tripura has become the most literate state with literacy rate of 94.65 percent (Kerala 93.91)

2) Sports: Some of the finest sports persons hail from the region like Mary Kom and Bhaichung Bhutia.

3) Natural Resources: The region is blessed with the richest natural resources in the country.

4) Culture and Heritage: The region has given us finest & the most unique forms of dance, art, handicraft, martial art and culture.


1) Unemployment: Despite of higher education and literacy rate, the staggering unemployment rate is worrisome. For instance: Nagaland has 27% and Tripura has 15% unemployment rate in 2013.

2) Poor Infrastructure: Development of infrastructure ranks below the national average.

3) China: Defence interest of China. China has repeatedly shown parts of the region as disputed territory, resulting in constant tension in the region.

4) Insurgency: Separatist movements like ULFA, AVNC, NSCN, KYKL, PLAM keeps the life on the edge in the eight states.

Key Focus Areas

No doubt the region needs substantial focus. The region has suffered repeatedly due to negligence and lack-of-focus from the previous governments. The current government under Mr Modi has given clear directions to the ministers to integrate & bring the region 'upto speed' with the rest of India.

The government has to divide its priorities - near-term (within next five years) and long-term (between fifteen to twenty years). The key focus areas for the government in the 'near-term' should be health, education, infrastructure and implementation (I would name ministers in the government to address these concerns).

1) Health (Harsh Vardhan): Due to the rough terrain and underdeveloped infrastructure, it won't be easy for the minister to implement the health programs. The region needs thousands of hospitals, nurses, doctors and health workers. In the near-term, it would be challenging to train these thousands of medicos to service the region. The minister should find new mechanisms like eHealth and dedicated Remote Diagnosis Centres (RDCs) to spread health programs in the region.

2) Education (Smriti Irani): HRD minister has proposed a new education policy for the country. The current education policy was proposed in 1992, since than world has seen substantial changes in education sector. The region needs a special provision in the new education Policy to promote technical and entrepreneurial education. The students from the region should be encouraged to start their own ventures after college/university education. The minister could invite leading industrialists to setup the vocational/technical universities (like applied sciences universities in Germany). These 'corporate' sponsored institutions would train students in necessary technical skills and assist them in setting up new businesses. Each new entrepreneurial venture will provide jobs to the youth and reverse the brain drain from the region.

3) Infrastructure (various ministries): The infrastructure development for the country is the major agenda for the Modi's government. The railways, power, surface transport, civil aviation and urban/rural development ministries have to develop collective master plan for the region. The first step should be to create seamless connectivity between the eight state capitals. The 'connected' capitals can share resources among themselves to reduce dependency on bigger cities. The second step should be to overhaul the infrastructure of the region by 2025. My belief is if the government can 'connect' state capitals, it would be a sizeable achievement during the current term of the government. The PMO along with DoNER should mandate ministries to start working on the plan.

4) Coordination and Implementation (Gen (Retd) VK Singh): The DoNER minister has most important and probably the toughest task of coordinating and implementing the projects in the region. The momentous task of managing eight states chief ministers and various ministries of the central government is not easy. Incidentally, the minister has first hand experience of the region being commanded the army eastern command in the past. The projects should be implemented with precision and efficiency. We cannot afford any further delay in the development of the region. The ministry should cultivate 'brand' north east to woo the investment and tourism from India & abroad. The mantra of self-sustainability shall be imbibed in the region for uniform growth and development.

Through this article, I want to highlight the racial discrimination and attacks against people of northeast region in the national capital. These incidents in Delhi are deeply saddening; government should take serious note of the incidents and the perpetrators should be bought to justice immediately. Minister of Home Rajnath Singh and Kiren Rijiju should ensure safety for the people from northeast to bring back their confidence. As citizens of the country, we should not leave it only to the government and the ministers for this critical task. Integrating northeast with rest of India is our collective responsibility towards our country and we should fulfil it well.