As the Indian apparel industry, especially the export sector, is moving at a slow pace, placements at fashion technology institutes are also feeling the same heat. Apparel Resources asked several institutes about their current placement scenario and only a few of them seemed to be enthusiastic about it. Some of them even refused to say anything on record about the same, while few shared that the process is still going on and data is yet to be compiled, so it will take at least two months to confirm the final outcome.
India’s premier institute NIFT has hundreds of companies in its placement schedule which include some global apparel manufacturing companies like Classic Fashion Apparel Industry, EPIC Group, Must Corp, besides other leading Indian players. This time, however, many top Indian apparel manufacturers especially exporters were missing. “There are some Indian companies that have freezed any fresh hiring, for the simple reason that at the same or little higher amount, they are getting experienced professionals, so they are not keen to hire freshers,” shared an industry informed person and NIFT alumni who didn’t want to be quoted. Faculty taking care of placements informed that their final report will be available only by July 2019.
It is pertinent to mention here that as per the official report of NIFT (2017-2018) in 2017, 433 companies had registered themselves for campus placement, while for 2018, there were 352 companies which is 18 per cent less. On the other hand, placement/pre-placement expenses are increasing with Rs. 14.55 lakh spent in the year ending on March 2017, while for March 2018, the same was Rs. 19.41 lakh, which is an increase of 25 per cent. However, in 2017, the highest package offered was Rs. 7.5 lakh per annum which is around Rs. 12 lakh this year as told by insiders.
On the other hand, like every year, this time too, DKTE’S Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji witnessed companies from across the supply chain. Students of this well-known institute were hired by India’s top apparel exporter, Shahi Exports; similarly Pearl Global, yarn manufacturer Century Enka, vertically integrated and home furnishing giant Welspun, GHCL and Kusumgar Corporates, leading in technical textiles, also hired from here.
Besides, top companies also selected fresh talent for internship and offered a good stipend. Trident Ltd. finalised 8 students out of the short-listed 60 students and offered Rs. 1 lakh to each for an internship of two months. As far as packages are concerned, the maximum package this year remained around Rs. 9.5 lakh which was offered by CGM Group, Maseru (South Africa). Overall 5 overseas companies came for campus placement.
“We don’t have any impact of slow apparel export on our placement as our students of apparel-related courses have strong knowledge of textiles and get the benefit of the same; overall our placement is going extremely well,” informed SB Akiwate, Training & Placement, DKTE.
At Amity School of Fashion Technology (ASFT), the salary offered this year varied from Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh per annum. Approximately, 50 leading apparel organisations have visited the campus or offered placements to the graduating batch of ASFT.
“As we are offering creative programmes backed by skill development initiatives, a good number of students are either opting for entrepreneurial ventures or further studies after completion of their graduation. Placements in the exports’ sector have not seen much increase salary-wise and even the opportunities have been rather less,” informed Prof. (Dr.) Pradeep Joshi, DG, Amity Directorate of Applied Arts/Fine Arts/Performing Arts/Visual Arts and Director (ASFT, ASFA & ASPA), Amity University, Noida. He further added that they are looking forward to continuous industry support to strengthen the curriculum (Education 4.0) for providing cutting edge programme(s) in the fashion or apparel industry.
On the other hand, institutes which are offering courses beyond fashion technology and are having niche in design and business-oriented programmes, have seen good placements as well as packages too. Pearl Academy and few other private institutes’ latest placement data confirm the same. As per the data, 130 students from business specialisation and 52 students from design domain got placed. (Out of 832 students who opted for placements, 450 students have been placed till date). The maximum package offered for all courses has been Rs. 8,50,000 per annum while minimum package has been around Rs. 3 lakh. Most of the top international, national brands hired students from fashion business and fashion design courses. Students from School of Design were also hired by tech and business process multinational companies like Accenture, Capgemini, L&T, TCS and IBM.
As far as impact of slow apparel market is concerned, Anup Sasidharan, VP-Operations, Pearl Academy informed, “Garment exporters and export houses have reached out to Pearl Academy for being part of campus hiring for many years now. Since recently, some of the export houses have relocated to the outskirts of the main cities due to work costing and other reasons, there are not many students who are willing to work at remote locations such as Greater Noida, Manesar, Noida Extension etc… Also, public transport to commute to such locations is not so convenient.” This is the reason that Fair Lady Exports, Simon & Cailand and Richa Global hired few students this year.
However, Prof. Shankar Sahay, Professor-Marketing, IILM University, Gurgaon has shared that his institute had a good experience in placements this year. He informed, “Various reputed fashion and apparel companies considered our management and design and fashion students for final placements and summer internship offers. The companies selected the management students for final placements with salary offers ranging from Rs. 4 lakh annum to Rs. 16.05 lakh per annum and for a summer internship at a stipend of Rs. 10,000-Rs. 30,000 per month. Amazon, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Varija Design Studio and Lifestyle Retail were among the few which offered jobs or internship to our students.”
Fashion designers are now looking at design students proficient in not only fashion design but also in graphic design, social media and digital marketing, visual merchandising and e-commerce areas. They prefer students who understand fashion in true business sense, can interact with clients, create commercial designs and are comfortable with various software. More than an assistant designer/junior designer, the recruitment is open for more fresh ideas and creativity; energy, enthusiasm to work like a business partner apart from only doing the core role of being a designer.
“There is big difference between what NIFT was at the start and what it is today. The number of centres, courses offered by NIFT have increased, so the number of students coming out have also grown substantially. From this point of view, many people say that the overall quality of the students is relatively lower at present which is a matter of market dynamics. Secondly, our industry was earlier a good employer in terms of payment, so it used to attract a lot of people, which is not the case now. So, it is likely to affect the outcome. From our point of view, we try to see how out of a larger group, we can spot the right talent, and great talent is available as long as you are able to spot them and groom them. The institute still continues to have good faculty members,” – Rajesh Bheda, CEO and MD, Rajesh Bheda Consulting, Gurgaon. (He also served as Professor and Chairperson, NIFT from 1990 to 2006).