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Covid gives learning on job new meaning

(This story originally appeared in 65532262 on Apr 11, 2021)

For yet another year, university students will be missing hands-on training during internships, with the whole process to be conducted online again. However, this also means more students will be hired, particularly in infotech, finance and management. The majority will work from home and most do research work.

Jamia Millia Islamia’s placement cell confirmed that placement opportunities coming the way of their students were mostly for remote internships. “Firms are hiring students only for work for home,” said Rehan Suri of the university’s placement cell. “There are very few companies that want a physical presence of interns.”

Suri added, however, that the number of internship opportunities had gone up from the number offered last year – with “most hiring happening in the education technology and financial services sectors”. He said many students had been hired for content generation and digital marketing and in the development sector where students need not leave their homes, but hardly any in the manufacturing sector. Saanchi Agarwal, chief secretary of the placement cell at Shri Ram College of Commerce too said the number of internships had increased. “The type of internship offered is totally different now. It is more of a research project from home. Client presentations and face-to-face meetings are, therefore, missing,” said Agarwal, who is a final year economics student. “Earlier, students had to go on trips, visit construction sites and talk to employees. This hands-on experience will be missing.”

Kumar Ashutosh, head of the tourism department at Delhi University’s College of Vocational Studies, added, “We always had 100% placement in our department, but this dropped to around 20% last year. The tourism industry is badly hit and the students are facing the brunt. They are not getting internships, so we have opted for projects instead.” Third-year student of tourism Shivam Agarwal had to be content with a project. “Just two or three students managed internships. Only some start-ups are hiring freshers,” he said. Jamia media coordinator Ahmed Azeem was apologetic that the institution was “limited in our scope” in contacting firms for internships. “Jamia has been engaging with the alumni, with companies it has collaborated with earlier and also using available platforms for internships,” Azeem said. A journalism student there rued, “The only opportunity I got was for content writing, but that is not what I want to do.”

At Ramjas College, placement cell head Hardeep Kaur also pointed out, “The college’s placement cell is run by students. One drawback for internship drives is that earlier placement cells of several colleges would collaborate on a placement fair. That is not possible now.” To assist students with the placement and internship drive, IIT-Delhi’s Office of Career Services (OCS) has come up Yukti-Building Relations, a scheme to help students secure full-time roles and summer internships.

On April 10 and 11, an event focused on the theme of ‘Careers in the Age of Covid-19’ will also have a job and internship fair, guest panels, workshops, competitions and virtual industrial visits. “Except for the job and internship fair, all other activities are open to non-IIT-D students,” said Anishya Obhrai Madan, OCS head. Madan explained that the scheme was meant to help students to comprehend and compare recruiters and also help them understand and build up their own capabilities via competitions and workshops. “The summer internships and placements have been going well for our students this year. We decided this year also to educate not only IIT students, but also others.”


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