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“I was petrified of the Mathematics classes. I didn’t want to go through that torture again…but slowly it all became simple and enjoyable” reflects Bhanu Pratap. Bhanu is a supervisor in Machine Shop 1 in Maruti Suzuki’s Gurgaon Car plant. Bhanu like many others had planned to become an engineer. But life had other plans for him. Harsh financial conditions and family responsibilities could only permit him to do a diploma in Engineering at that time. But thanks to - Maruti Suzuki, he realized his dream after nine years of service.

A dream proposition

Maruti Suzuki launched its first Batch of B. Tech in Manufacturing Technology under its Diploma to Degree Higher Education Scheme in September 2016. This Work Integrated Learning Program (WILP) has been designed and conceptualized in collaboration with the prestigious Birla Institute of Technical Sciences, Pilani. The academic content of the program is customized as per Maruti Suzuki requirements. This program is specially designed for employed professionals like Bhanu working in engineering and technology domains.

This WILP integrates learning with the working environment of professionals, and enables participants to enhance their academic qualification without taking a career break. Classes are conducted on Sunday by experienced faculty members from BITS Pilani and Delhi Technological University. At the end of 3 years on completion of the course, all successful students will be awarded B Tech degree in a convocation ceremony held at the BITS Pilani campus.

Like Bhanu, several other supervisors have benefitted from the Diploma to Degree programme of Maruti Suzuki.

Papa does homework!

Sujit Majhi was 1st rank holder in the entrance test conducted for admission in the B Tech course offered by BITS Pilani. “Everybody in my friend circle was either an M Tech or a B Tech, I was the only diploma holder” says a lamentful Sujit. After passing out from a polytechnic college in Jadavpur, Kolkata, Sujit received offer letters from Maruti Suzuki and L&T. But he had other plans in mind. He wanted to work in Tata Motors’ new car plant in Singur. However his life took a turn when he saw the Maruti Suzuki plant from inside. He was bewildered! It was a different world in itself. He started his journey in Maruti Suzuki and never looked back. Sujit grabbed this golden opportunity to realize his youthful dream of getting a B Tech degree. He further plans to do an MBA too if given an opportunity. He adds, “With this degree, career wise, our scope will increase immensely. My wife complained of time as Sunday classes took all my time during the course. But being practical, she knew how much we will benefit from it in the longer run” His two daughters used to be extremely amused when their father brought his homework home, just like them!

“Our competition was only with diploma holders, we can now compete with degree holders too!”

…says an ambitious Sheshpal Singh. Currently working in assembly Shop 1, Plant 1, Gurgaon, Seshpal wanted to make cars since childhood. Seshpal was a bright student. However the untimely death of his father did not permit him to take up higher studies in an expensive college. He was choosen in Maruti Suzuki in an off campus placement from Government Polytechnic college, Lucknow.

“I was thrilled to see so many cars together in the Maruti Suzuki plant. I was given Quality Department but deep inside I wanted to be in production… My first task was to take off the door of a car, which I learnt in just 6 days!” He proudly grins. “I knew I would do be able to learn fast, but had never imagined that I will do B tech one day!” Seshpal was married for just 8 months when he started this course. He has to struggle in balancing his time between studies and personal life. But he is focused. He loved going back to academics. He promptly occupied the last bench in the class on his first day… just like he did in school. When the teacher started teaching in English, he did not hesitate in requesting a shift to Hindi. Seshpal feels that with this BTech degree, diploma holders can get higher levels of responsibilities. Right now diploma holders are involved only in execution but this course can elevate them to the planning stage. Seshpal received the best employee award two times in 6 years. On becoming a student again, he says, “At first all subjects appeared so unfamiliar and difficult, but slowly all that we had learnt in school came back to mind!”

Cherished School Moments!

Deepanshu Kalra from Weld Shop 1, Plant 1 Gurgaon says “I have been working in Weld Shop for 4-5 years now, I had the skill to do my job perfectly but there was a knowledge gap. A gap which only a degree could fill…” Deepanshu joined Maruti Suzuki when he was 18. It is here where he learnt his skill and slowly climbed up the success ladder to become a supervisor. But regret remained seated in his heart, of not pursuing higher studies. He jumped with joy when HR dept announced the approval of B tech program for diploma holders at Business Meet of the company. It was an unbelievable moment. “We have experienced teachers from reputed colleges teaching us. Other colleges when they offer distance learning degree, do not arrange live classes. We are lucky.” The course is divided into semesters and reading material is issued by the college. Sometimes it gets very hectic for Deepanshu but he doesn’t want to lose this opportunity to enjoy college life and enhance his learning!!!

…..If you have seen a dream once, it is very likely that its desire will resurface again in your life… In the landscape of Indian middle class, the desire of higher education is a dream for many. In such a scenario, Maruti Suzuki’s unique opportunity to its supervisors and associates is like giving hope to those dreams! We need more such initiatives in our society.

Kudos to the passion and dedication of our supervisors-cum-students who are willing to risk everything to achieve their dreams!

DEC 2019
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