Haren Thanawala

Director at Wheybetterfoods Pvt. Ltd.

Q. For our readers, can you tell us about your job profile and elaborate on the industry you are currently working in?

I am currently Director at Wheybetterfood Pvt. Ltd. Have developed heat-and- eat products, tortilla chips and protein powder/supplements.

Q. What are the upcoming domains, technologies and skill sets in the industry that are high in demand right now and expect an even further surge in the coming years?

I may not be able to talk about technologies as such, but according to me companies want students who are patient, who try to understand a subject entirely before making a relevant decision. People who can communicate with others about ideas and promote unity are required amongst industries.

Q. How big is the gap between the average quality of engineers in our country and the required level in the industry? What steps can the government and colleges take to reduce this gap?

According to me, IIT’s, NIT’s and other such engineering colleges have students who are as knowledgeable as the ones studying abroad. But their practical knowledge is somewhat lacking, possibly due to lack of available facilities in such universities.
The present government is trying to do their best to promote education in metros, mini-metros and small towns. Unfortunately, they lack the required staff in such colleges to teach youngsters. That is where the government can step in and provide greater incentives to teachers to boost knowledge in colleges and improve the standard of education in our country.

Q. How important are soft skills to become successful in any industry? How do you think colleges can prepare students better and improve this aspect (soft skills)?

Soft skills are extremely important in the profession that I work in. I feel that today’s generation make uneducated statements without analysing subjects well enough. They should be taught the importance of studying the subjects well enough before they speak about it to avoid embarrassment.
Also, students should be made to read insightful and informative books, articles and newspapers to boost their general knowledge. This will help them think independently and not just follow the herd.

Q. With the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ programmes launched by the government in 2014 and 2015 respectively, what are the noticeable impacts of these programmes in the industry?

Due to these two programmes, lots of companies within India and from overseas who were guarding their technologies have now become more open with sharing and developing their products here. Some countries have space shortages, expensive manpower etc and India provides them a good outlet for building their products as well as boosting their profit margins.
Travelling has become so much easier because of increased digitalisation. Security checks are faster, boarding passes are available electronically at the airport itself to name a few perks.

Q. What advice would you like to give to an engineer who is in the first or second year of his/her course?

Basically, the 1 st years and 2 nd years should intern during their vacations to understand other aspects of the industry, business and social environment. This will help them immensely when they graduate and actually start working.