The growth of an employee helps drive the growth of a company in today’s times, every business organisation has a distinct understanding of this concept.
In their effort to create and develop skilled workforce for the thriving garment industry in Vietnam, universities and institutes have been conducting courses across the country. Additionally, they have been proactive in ensuring that adequate job opportunities are also created for the students.
Team Apparel Resources, in its recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City, met two such heads of University of Technical Education and Vietnam Fashion Design Institute (Fadin) who are focused to impart knowledge to their students in their bid to groom the students and make them ready for the apparel industry.
To teach people about what an industry needs, as well as to hone their talent for professional growth is what differentiates a good training institute from a great training institute – an attribute that makes University of Technical Education, Ho Chi Minh City stand out among all.
“Though we teach many subjects in the University, we specialise in garment technology and fashion. There are 10 to 12 such universities all over Vietnam, but our training methods and courses make us the best and the oldest among all,” averred Khanh Thi Thuc Ho, Head, Fashion Design Section, University of Technical Education, Ho Chi Minh City.
Focus on developing the best professionals
With a strong commitment towards discovering and nurturing the right candidates, the University of Technical Education, Ho Chi Minh City ensures that there are entrance tests to enroll students for these courses and based on the results, only the top performers are shortlisted. This is in line with the level set by the Ministry of Education.
For fashion designing, only 40 people are enrolled every year whereas for garment technology, the number is raised to 70. The increase in the latter is to justify the increasing requirement of merchandisers and other middle management professionals.
“It’s not easy. From the process of enrollment to the syllabus of 4-year course, it is tough and that is what helps in producing the best professionals. Students have to learn everything from designing, sewing, making samples of garments to marketing and merchandising. The 4-year course is divided into 8 terms and in each term, they need to finish some subjects and only after clearing, they will go to the next semester. Additionally, the students have taken up projects and only on successful completion of the project, we issue certificates,” said Khanh Thi Thuc Ho. The factories visit the University at regular intervals and many times select the best students from third semester; however, the students can join the organisation only after completing the project and the course.
The Vietnam Fashion Design Institute (Fadin) too believes in the philosophy of developing the best professionals. Fadin has been committed to doing an extensive research on latest trends, technology and techniques prevalent in the industry of fashion and design. But it doesn’t end there. The institute then ensures all the information and updates gathered are taught to fashion teachers and lecturers across colleges and universities in Vietnam.
At Fadin, it is ensured that the latest trends and techniques are translated into documents in Vietnamese and made a part of the training process. While explaining the travails and challenges a designer has to undergo in the industry of garments and textiles, Phuong Anh Nguyen, Fashion Designer, Fadin, said, “Unless every department that is an integral part of any enterprise understands the contribution of a designer and appreciates the efforts put in by the designer, things will never be in place and therefore training is necessary for everyone.”
When the team from Fadin visits the companies, they ensure that the training is provided not just to the team of designers, but also to the sales team, marketing team and the developing team. Almost every organisation has the same story of the design team being pressurised by the sales team. The production pressure mostly takes its toll on the designers’ creativity and more often they end up losing their inspiration and eventually the creativity to generate new ideas.
Every company has a product development team, but what most of them lack is in design. Fadin trains them to be the best. However, the change is quite slow. As Anh aptly explained, “What makes me happy is that there is a positive mindset to change. But it is slow; it will take at least 3 years to see that change gain momentum, but then that’s our job. Even when we design their collections, it’s all behind the scene and we do not end up getting any credit.”
“Everyone has to understand the importance of designing and move together and I can see the willingness to change. Vietnamese people go not by the value of a product but by the name and design of the product. The steps have been taken to make everyone understand what designing is all about and its challenges and we will get there in 5 to 10 years. All of them including the leaders should be on the same page. We have been doing that for almost 10 years now and will soon achieve what we want,” said Anh with a strong conviction.
Building a successful connectivity…
A good connection with the industry not only helps the students in getting the right job at the right firm but also helps them understand what kind of candidates the companies require. Among the several disciplines taught at the University, garment technology and fashion designing courses are the more popular ones.
Those who learn fashion designing are placed in companies as fashion designers and the ones who excel in garment technology become merchandisers, engineers, workshop managers or take up any job in the middle management. For garment workers, there are several schools and colleges all over the country.
Apparel factories and establishments are always in dire need of human resources and every year they visit the institutes with the hope of getting the right people for the right job. Corroborating further on this, Khanh said, “Our lecturers have at some point of their life worked in the garment industry and therefore when they come and work with us, their connectivity and experience in the industry helps. Most of the firms/establishments contact us and tell us what kind of people they need. We help them in getting job interviews conducted at our institute in addition to posting job recruitment announcement on our website.”
Fadin too gets approached by factories many times for assistance and sometimes the initiative is taken up by the institute. While substantiating further on this, Anh averred that, “We help the companies that look out for new technologies and new trends. Most of the times, the companies are very good at producing materials, but the design remains the same and is never updated — that is when they need us. We then visit the companies/factories, stay there for a day and transfer all information of trends according to what is appropriate for that company/factory. For example, in case of a denim or a t-shirt, we transfer the key shape and key colour of the season and what will sell good in Vietnam market.”
One of the main reasons why the University of Technical Education, Ho Chi Minh City has managed to carve a niche for itself in the industry is not only because of its wide training courses and ‘connect’ with the industry, but also because of its willingness to rediscover and improve. “Attending seminars and conferences helps us bring knowledge to the University. We are improving.” concluded Khanh with a smile that exuded the conviction to give the best.
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. – Harvey S. Firestone, one of the most renowned American entrepreneurs and one of the first global makers of automobile tyres.