Infosys Technologies Ltd. launched Campus Connect, an industry-academia partnership initiative, in May 2004, with 60 colleges. The initiative was aimed at deepening the industry-academia bonds and building a strong foundation for the future needs of both academia and the growing IT industry. The nationwide initiative, now global and in its sixth year, focuses on creating industry-ready IT professionals, by aligning engineering talent with the needs of the industry.
The Information Technology industry is growing at a healthy rate with businesses heavily dependent on IT applications for their operations. More and more enterprises are utilizing IT outsourcing as a strategic means to achieve business goals such as cost reduction, business innovation and competitive advantage. India has become a global hub for IT services export and has witnessed exponential growth of employment opportunities.
The IT services industry is, by nature, ‘people-centric’ and the demand for quality manpower is rising continuously. Quality manpower is essential to remain ahead of competition in the global market place. It is not uncommon that each of the major players is recruiting over 10,000 entry level engineers each year in the recent years. IT service majors have noticed certain skill gaps in fresh recruits from engineering colleges. The need for industry academia partnership has been strongly felt and this is required to enhance the readiness of engineering graduate workforce and to make engineering students industry ready. Infosys, through the Campus Connect program, shares with academia its mature technology training methods, courseware, student project samples and other such learning resources that have been developed, practiced and perfected.
The Campus Connect program has several program components weaved together to create synergy for effective, fast-paced learning; namely, Conclaves, Road Shows, Faculty Enablement Programs (FEP), Industrial visits through Spark, Sabbaticals, Foundation Programs, Soft Skills Capsule Roll-out, Sponsored Events and Seminars.
Campus Connect Conclave
The purpose of the conclave is to bring together the target engineering college management under one roof to discuss the need and actions for industry-academia collaboration. The expected outcome of the conclave is for a large percentage of colleges committing to the Campus Connect program with a definitive implementation action plan.
Campus Connect Road Shows
The purpose of the road show is to communicate the value and benefits of the Campus Connect program to the partner college faculty and students. The expected outcome of the road show is student and faculty signing up to portal and various programs offered in the college.
Faculty Enablement Program (FEP)
The Campus Connect team periodically conducts Faculty Enablement Programs (FEP) to train the partner college faculty on Foundation Program course delivery and industry oriented courses (e.g. Business Intelligence, Building Enterprise Applications, Mainframe systems, etc.). The faculty experiences the training system, courseware and methodology as used at Infosys and hence is equipped to roll out the training program at their college. The purpose of the Faculty Enablement Program (FEP) is to bring together multiple engineering college faculty under one roof to discuss the coverage of Foundation Program (FP), to get an exposure to industry-oriented focus areas.
Foundation Program (FP) Roll-out
The core of the Campus Connect program is the Foundation Program roll out at the college premises. This FP courseware represents the Intellectual Property and experience of Infosys in training thousands of entry level engineers from heterogeneous backgrounds and disciplines to deliver world-class projects to global customers. The purpose of the FP courseware is to provide a unique set of teaching aids and consolidated training material to the college faculty to help them make students industry ready. FP 3.0 is the latest version of Foundation Program offered by Infosys Campus Connect since 2009. FP 3.0 offers a set of FIVE courses and Integrated Project along with newly incorporated ways of assessing students’ performance. Integrated Project is a crucial component of FP 3.0. The duration of FP Rollout is now 55-65 contact (typically classroom) hours with dedicated 25-32 lab hours for Integrated Project development.
The purpose of faculty sabbaticals is to leverage the leading-edge technology knowledge of specialist faculty members to develop state-of-the-art industry solutions. The expected outcome of the sabbatical is an IT solution or approach that has a significant cost savings or performance improvement or significantly enhances solution attractiveness. The sabbaticals are sponsored by Infosys. Faculty member will work out of Infosys Development Centre (DC) for a term ranging from 2-3 months.
In keeping with its long term goal of aligning engineering education with the needs of the industry, Campus Connect collaborates with universities to design industry oriented electives. Outcome based learning approach is implemented for the industry electives which are credit / non credit based courses in the curriculum. These customized programs, which are based on “learn and apply” models, enable students to learn about latest trends in the industry and understand and cope with future workplace demands. They also facilitate faculty to create learning channels with the industry.
Technology Seminars / WebinarsThe purpose of technology seminars/webinars is to leverage the global projects’ experience of Infosys to create awareness about the use of IT in different industry verticals among students. The expected outcome of the seminars/ webinars is a measurable increase in the ability of students to relate IT concepts to IT usage in business. This will also serve the purpose of keeping the faculty informed about the latest developments in the area of information technology usage.
Sponsorships for Research Paper Presentation
Infosys sponsors research papers written by faculty and/or students to encourage them to enhance their learning in the field of Computer Science and Information technology. Faculty and/or students whose research paper is selected for presentation in reputed peer reviewed conferences or industry forums will be provided financial assistance. The expected outcome of the sponsorship is the commitment of faculty, students and college to continue applied research and utilize them in solving business problems.
Soft Skills Program
The purpose of the Soft Skills program is to bridge the gap commonly noticed in engineering students in the areas of communication, team work, corporate etiquette and corporate work culture. This is a program delivered in multiple modes. One of the modes includes collaboration with alliance partners at a fee. The Campus Connect soft skills team has been integrated with the Global Business Finishing School (GBFS) team in Mysore, which is responsible for the training needs of entry level graduates. This has helped to leverage the research and content developed at GBFS to incorporate it into the syllabus that is rolled out in partnered colleges. This new CC Soft Skills syllabus, Version 2.0 is called “STAR PRIME”. STAR stands for Savvy, Team Worker, Articulate and Responsible.
The STAR PRIME syllabus contains the following modules:
a. Business Communication Skills
b. Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Skills
c. Campus to Company
d. Group Discussions, Presentations and Interviewing Skills
e. Entrepreneurship Skills.
After successfully launching the new SS syllabus “STAR PRIME V2.0”, the SS team has now begun the process of customizing the offering. Colleges are being mapped with respect to their areas of need. For e.g., colleges where students are already strong in grammar are given the option of focusing on the module on Communication Skills, and those that already have a communication program as part of the syllabus utilize the other modules from STAR PRIME. The option of choosing a part of the offering has to be signed off both by the college SPOC and the SS anchor after due diligence.
The assessment process is being strengthened by inclusion of knowledge tests (K- Tests) along the lines of the tests in GBFS to further enhance the quality of the training delivered. This is in addition to the online English tests thathave already been deployed.
Benefitsof the programme
First and foremost, the college has been able to enhance the ‘employability’ of the students. Next, the students will have better exposure to industry requirements and practices. The college management is able to attract better students and faculty to the college because of its association with industry.
The college will pass on the benefits received from Infosys to the involved persons including faculty as per the college norms. The faculty involved will be provided with industry oriented artefacts for the respective courseware that they would be offering. This includes case-studies, prototype projects and similar teaching aids. In addition to this, faculty may be sponsored for sabbaticals at Infosys, for duration of two-three months in one of the Infosys’ centres in mutually agreed areas. Faculty could also benefit through sponsorships for research papers.
The main benefit to the student is enhancing employability and increasing the industry readiness for the IT industry. Outstanding performance in the Infosys screening examination will also make such students eligible for early association with real-life projects, if applicable, and other special opportunities.