CHENNAI, India — For Shweta Gawali, a young mechanical engineer from Pune and Satyendra Gurung, a management graduate from Darjeeling in West Bengal, joining Ford was “a great turning point and an amazing experience.”
Joining the new batch of 83 Ford College Graduates (FCGs) 2012, comprising engineering and management graduates recruited from across India, Gawali and Gurung are now embarking on an exciting career journey with Ford.
The young and enthusiastic batch of FCGs celebrated completing 100 days of training recently with a small function and management walkthrough at their office in Ford India’s Maraimalai Nagar plant. The Ford leadership, including Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, Senthil Kumar, vice president, Vehicle Operations, Balasundaram Radhakrishnan, vice president, Powertrain Operations, and V. Pandiyan, vice president, Human Resources were present to encourage them.
”I urge you to absorb as much as you can about Ford and its processes during this training. All of us will help you throughout this journey so that you can assume positions of responsibility and carry out your roles with enthusiasm,” Chackalackal said.
For most FCGs, the camaraderie they share started long before they landed in Chennai. In fact, most of them had joined Ford India’s FCG Facebook page long ago, immediately after their placement. “It was exciting to know about the company and its work culture from the previous batch of FCGs and to feel a sense of community even before we embarked on our first jobs,” said Vaibhav Talsania, a FCG. “All this has made us more confident and given a sense of belonging to the rich heritage of Ford.”
Prior to joining at the Ford campus, the FCGs also visited local Ford dealerships in their respective towns and cities and got the hang of the sales and marketing activities. They then shared their observations and suggestions in a report to Marketing, Sales and Service.
Joining the Ford team was seamless for the trainees thanks to the help provided by Ford India’s HR team and senior FCGs.
“We were all able to get our laptops, CDS IDs and safety gear in the first couple of days thanks to their help,” said Arpit Sood, who comes from Agra. The HR team also assigned each FCG a ‘buddy’— a veteran employee to serve as a friend, philosopher and guide to a group of trainees.
“We have learnt so much over the past few days, by working on various shop floors and in night shifts, and the seniors have been very supportive all along,” said Gawali, adding that Chennai now ‘feels like home.’
The new batch of trainees were also provided with a training curriculum that included classroom sessions, hands-on training on various shop floors at the plant and taking part in various employee-engagement initiatives. During September, they enrolled in Ford India’s Global Week of caring (GWC) and volunteered for a variety of activities.
“It was a great feeling to be part of the volunteering opportunity and to be able to help school children in the neighbouring village. We also got to know of Ford’s strong legacy of helping communities where we live and work,” said Kreena Patel, a trainee from Baroda, Gujarat.
“We learnt how we can give back to the society through volunteerism as part of the One Ford family,” said Gurung.