Minister Presents Enterprising Edupreneur Award at ICT Academy’s Conference

ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu recently held its 51st BRIDGE conference with the theme ‘Building Human Capital for a Trillion Dollar Digital Economy’ at Le Meridien, Coimbatore. The conference featured discussions on global human capital development practices and strategies to transform Tamil Nadu’s human capital into economic success.

The Chief Guest for the conference was Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, the Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services in the Government of Tamil Nadu. Notable figures like Arun Jain, Founder of Polaris Group and CMD of Intellect Design Arena Ltd., Shankar Vanavarayar, Chairman of CII Tamil Nadu, Lakshmi Narayanan, Director of ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu & Emeritus Vice Chairman of Cognizant, and Hari Balachandran, Chief Executive Officer of ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu, were also present at the inaugural session.

During the event, Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan honored Chocko Valliappa, Vice Chairman of Sona College of Technology, Selam, Mathan Karthick, Vice Chairman, Excel Group Institutions, Vasuki, Secretary, Kongunadu Arts and Science College and Priya Sathish Prabhu, Executive Trustee & Secretary, Hindustan Educational Institutions with the Enterprising Edupreneur Award 2023. The event brought together policymakers, industry leaders, and academicians to harness Tamil Nadu’s human capital for the goal of achieving a $1 trillion economy by 2030. This conference highlighted the importance of developing human capital to drive Tamil Nadu’s economic growth and digital transformation.

Hari Balachandran discussed placement solutions offered by the ICT Academy and emphasized the importance of job seekers registering on the Employment Registration portal. He explained the “Hire-Train-Deploy” model that many companies are currently adopting. This model aims to bridge the gap between industry expectations and the time it takes to hire talent ready for immediate employment in core roles. The process involves hiring candidates before their final year, providing industry-specific training to develop the necessary skill set, and subsequently deploying them at the client’s workplace once the training is completed. When implemented effectively, the HTD program can significantly reduce both time and costs for both staffing companies and clients.

Opportunities and Challenges

Shankar Vanavarayar’s speech highlighted Tamil Nadu’s unique position at a crossroads of immense opportunity, emphasizing the importance of choices and human capital in achieving ambitious goals like a trillion-dollar economy and double-digit growth. He recognized that the state’s strength lies in its knowledge sector and advanced manufacturing, fueled by skill and innovation, attracting global players. Shankar called for a more extraordinary approach to education, culture, and institutions to meet the complex challenges and aspirations of youth. He praised Coimbatore’s culture of innovation and urged a forward-thinking mindset. He also commended government efforts in education like Naan Mudhalvan, and Nalaya Thiran and stressed the need for industry-academia collaboration to shape a brighter future. Finally, he encouraged everyone to work together with a future-oriented mindset, not dwelling on the past but rather celebrating human capital as a leadership asset for the future.

Youth Unemployment and the Skills Gap

In his speech, the Minister recounted the significant changes in Tamil Nadu’s education system, noting the exponential growth in engineering graduates and questioning the quality of education and the lack of career guidance for students. He highlighted the need for effective career counselling and guidance, especially for first-generation students.

The Minister expressed concerns about the education and employment scenario, highlighting the paradox of high unemployment among youth coexisting with employers struggling to find skilled workers. He emphasized that this represents a structural inefficiency in the job market, with a lack of information at crucial decision points. He cited an example of Group 4 exams, which require only a 10th-grade education as a minimum qualification, yet attracted a staggering 24 lakh applicants for 7,000 low-skilled jobs. The Minister called for collaborative efforts between the government, institutions like ICT Academy, educators, and educational institutions to address this labour market imbalance.

He commended the culture of excellence and encouraged embracing failure as a valuable learning experience. The Minister emphasized that human capital is more critical than financial capital for economic growth by saying, “Finance is a market. If you have the human capital, the finance will find you” and he praised ICT Academy’s contributions beyond Tamil Nadu.

He expressed a commitment to working closely with organizations like ICT Academy to accelerate human capital development, aligning with the state’s goal of achieving a trillion-dollar economy by 2030. The Minister urged attendees to propagate the message of human capital development in their respective institutions.