Foundation for Excellence (part two): Preparing students in India for careers in engineering

In my last blog post, I discussed how the Foundation for Excellence (FFE) invests in academically strong students from underprivileged families in India by awarding them scholarships to attend college. But that’s just the beginning of the story. There’s more to it.

Approximately 5 – 7 million people enter the labor market in India every year. Engineering colleges alone account for about 1.5 million graduates every year. However, less than 30% of them are considered employable for they lack relevant technical skills, aptitude, and communication skills to succeed in the jobs.

Students from economically better-off families outperform others and have a significantly better chance of either finding employment or making it as an entrepreneur. To help solve this skills gap, FFE augments its scholarship program for underprivileged students in engineering, with soft skills training and upskilling opportunities. They offer training in English language skills, as these students typically would have done their schooling in a vernacular language. FFE also offers assistance to improve logical reasoning skills and exposure to technical courses that are in demand in the industry. Additionally, it provides a career workshop that helps students prepare for interviews. These interventions are extremely valuable for students from underprivileged families as they typically get very little help from their families, and have no access to role models. This prepares them and gives them a better chance of competing for jobs against their peers from higher-income households.

FFE relies on corporate employee volunteers and former FFE students to provide employability training for their current students. As one scholar commented, “No one in my family ever went to college or worked in an office. Without the mentorship I received from FFE, I never would have found my place in the corporate world.”

Supreeta – who also received a scholarship from FFE – is one of the students who is benefitting from the employability training. In addition to the scholarship award, watch her discuss the benefits of these new skills as she strives to live out her dream of a career in engineering.