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The Information Technology Industry is a fast growing, rapidly advancing field with a seemingly unending scope of expansion. Recent studies have shown that this industry severely lacks qualified personnel to fill in more than 6000 positions annually.
In Sri Lanka, one of the main reasons for this dearth of employees is that most graduates are not employable due to their qualification not being well rounded and industry oriented. Instead, most available qualifications focus simply on book work and theoretical knowledge, leaving students grope in the dark when it comes to practical application. Furthermore, students are woefully unaware of soft skills such as presentation ability, team work, time management etc., which are an important and vital part of their employability. In addition, students who are keen and wish to avail themselves of a recognized IT qualification, unfortunately although having the drive and passion to succeed, are held back by lack of finances to complete their education.
These findings were recently revealed at a breakfast meeting conducted by Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) and hosted by the Chairman of Informatics Group of companies Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe, which was held at Cinnamon Grand on 31 May. With top Industry magnates in attendance amongst whom were – MD/CEO of Lanka Orix Information Technology, Conrad Dias; GM /Vice President of Virtusa Madu Ratnayake; CEO of Etisalat Dumindra Rathnayake; Director/ General Manager of hSenid Business Solutions Sampath Jayasundara; and Country Manager of Microsoft Sriyan De Silva Wijeyeratne. These findings were presented by Associate Professor Alfred Perera and Head, Department of Computing, Naomi Krishnarajah of IIT.
Other prominent industry personnel that were present included, Director Software Development & Technical Services South Asia of IFS, Asanga Marasinghe; and Director Software Development Pubudu Liyanage; CTO/Head of Operations at Aeturnum Hussain Shabbir; Head of People Management at Milleniuim IT Barni Chandrasena; HR Director of Navantis IT, Pramila Rajapakse; CTO of Mazarin Suren Nanayakkara; Director/CEO of Sabre Technologies Chandima Cooray; Senior Manager Software Engineering of Cambio Healthcare- Dharshana Jayawardena; Head of Global Delivery and Country Head of CAM Management Solutions Lavi De Silva; CEO of 99x Technology Euro Centre Mano Sekaram; and GM/Vice President of Zone 24×7, Dr Sankalpa Gamwarige.
Participants at this occasion were also the Directors of Informatics Group, Hiran Wickramasinghe and Hasith Wickramasinghe; GM of IIT Sudarshan Welihinda and Manager Marketing of IIT Nayani Costa.
The Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), founded close to 22 years ago, understanding this social problem, put in place a scholarship programme that enabled deserving students to follow their dreams. Students accepted into the scholarship programme could enroll at IIT for either of the Degree programmes, BEng (Hons) Software Engineering, and BSc (Hons) Information Systems, with Business Management on a part time basis – following classes on Friday evening and the entirety of Saturday. During the week, these students would be employed by various IT companies within the programme who would sponsor for the students’ education and allowances on a monthly basis for five years.
Associate Professor Alfred Perera of IIT explained that a student’s eligibility would depend on certain criteria and would have to be those that have done well in their Advanced Level Examinations but have still failed to qualify for state run universities. These students will then be tested for their general IQ aptitude and other related skills. All selected students will then be put through a rigorous training period of four months before employment and thereafter will begin their degree programme.
Nayani Costa, Manager Marketing of IIT pointed out, that this scholarship structure not only benefits the employer, who receives an eager young mind, willing to learn and work themselves up from the beginning, but also the student receives a fully paid degree from a reputed world renowned university as well as receives practical knowledge and know how through their employment which in turn is beneficial to them in their studies. In addition, the employer can also be confident of retaining the student for at least a period of 5-7 years if not more and be ensured of receiving a good return on their investment.
Nayomi Krishnarajah, Head – Computing at IIT affirmed, that the institute is currently making preparations for its 7th intake of students for this programme in August. Having already seen 500 students pass through this programme IIT is confident of yet another successful batch. In fact prominent successful alumni of the Institute Sushena Ranatunga of Creative Solutions and Dharshana Jayawardena of Cambio Healthcare have both been scholarship students going on to be successful entrepreneurs in the field.
Sharing their thoughts at the meeting, MD/CEO of Lanka Orix Information Technology, Conrad Dias and Director/CEO of Sabre Technologies Chandima Cooray both highly commended the programme and stated that they have benefitted from such students joining their companies.
In conclusion, Associate Professor Alfred Perera remarked, that looking at the recruitment strategy adopted by top global and local private sector companies, there seems to exist a well-structured and rational approach when recruiting IT & Business personnel. IIT therefore strongly believes that they as a responsible institute offering a recognized qualification needs to contribute towards producing graduates that suit the current requirements of the private sector companies and the global market. It is with this vision that IIT continues to promote and carry out this scholarship venture.
Original Article : http://www.ceylontoday.lk/22-8919-news-detail-iit-shoulders-national-responsibility.html