This Pokhara-based college is realising the importance of career placement and internship programmes for bridging the gap between young graduates and the corporate world.
At a time when activities of Kathmandu-based colleges receive much focus and highlights, b-schools outside the capital valley are also engaged in career development programmes to support their fresh graduates. The Pokhara-based La Grandee International College is one such educational institution which has been offering internship and placement programmes since 2018. Established in 2000, the college has been running programmes including Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor in Public Health (BPH) that are accredited by Pokhara University. It started the career placement programme initially for its IT students studying BCA. It is also providing internships for students of all faculties. Further, it is preparing to establish a placement programme for BBA students as well.
The college Principal, Kiran KC shares, “As a formal procedure, the job placement programme was piloted as the Apprenticeship Programme on December 23, 2018, in collaboration with an IT company, Seva Development Pvt. Ltd.” He clarifies that the objective of running an apprenticeship programme in the college is to provide training and appointing skilled candidates. It is like on-the-job training. Similarly, internship programmes aim to provide real-time lessons on relevant subjects and business culture.
Ideas Behind Initiating the Programme
According to KC, the apprenticeship programme helps to inform students about the scope of their studies and opportunities in the job market. He says that the college is seeking to develop a culture of ‘learning by doing’ through internships.
The programme is not only effective for the college and students but is also equally beneficial for business houses too. KC says that there are few organisations with the proper structure to recruit outside the valley. He further clarifies, “Even the selection procedure is traditional and no efforts are made by the organisations themselves to get skilled manpower.” The college makes an open call for application for an apprenticeship while the internship is embedded in the curriculum itself.
Before placement, students are required to do an internship in their 7th semester. For this, they need to submit their application for an internship to Seva Development Pvt Ltd. The company selects two to four students from the applications according to its requirement. The IT company provides training to the selected students for five days. The company representatives regularly visit the college themselves as both supervisor and trainee for four days to train the students. And for one day, they take the students to their company.
For the training session in the college, IT students needed a device for a high-end server to carry out their group work on a network basis framework for the company. “We set up a separate server system just for the internship. It is our investment in infrastructure for the internship programme of IT students.”
They train the students about IT work for at least two to three hours each day during the session. Upon completion of their project report from the training, they analysethe students’ performance. So, based on the final report, the company can hire the students directly.
However, those who are not selected in the company for an internship, approach other familiar organisations through a simple internship request letter, says KC.
Out of 48 students studying IT in 2019, three students were recruited directly from their internship programme. “IT students – Pradip Dhakal, Pradeep Poudel and Arjun Subedi had their jobs confirmed by the company while studying in the 8th semester. They did an internship in the seventh semester in the IT company,” says KC adding, “The students were so happy to receive the offer letter within their study period and have already started their jobs,” asserts KC.
In the absence of the internship and placement programmes, it is difficult for students to approach the business houses by themselves. So, with this programme, the students can access any business organisation according to their interest. KC states, the platform enables students to understand the business houses before they join for an internship and job. He says, “Once in two-three years, we organise La Grandee Expo in which we invite companies and other organisations to visit the show. Likewise, representatives of different business houses visit and share their experiences and business information with students periodically before the recruitment process.”
Collaborations for the Programmes
According to KC, the college has partnered with Seva Development Pvt. Ltd for an apprenticeship programme for BCA students. KC says that the college is in the nascent phase for running the placement programme. “We have recently tied up with a Himalaya Organisation, a multi-business company in Pokhara, seeking possibility for both internships and placement for management students in different sectors like hospitality, automobile, real-estate etc.” For the internships, it has already signed MoUs with more than a dozen organisations in Pokhara like Nepal SBI Bank, Machhapuchhre Bank, XL Soft Tech Ltd, Waste Service Pvt Ltd among others.
Collaboration Beneficial for Future Career
The internship progamme at La Grandee provides a reference for organisations and students for future placements. According to KC, the college approached Machhapuchhre Bank when it launched Direct Sales Agent (DSA) training in 2019. “We sent a list of 30 BBAs for the programme.” Under the training, the bank provided orientation in the college and gave training in the bank too. KC informs the students were given tabs for each individual by the bank to work in the field for developing banking habits. The students counselled the locals to open bank accounts and cultivate saving habits. The students were offered some reimbursement for their project work too.