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  • IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

    Topic

    How have the placement of students been affected by the pandemic?

    Campus placements are low due to lockdowns
    Amidst the pandemic, the education system had to role up its sleeves in terms of making the faculty and students adjust to the online mode of education. Placement of students was another factor. Fibre2Fashion asked fashion institutes what challenges they faced in placement of their students.


    Some of our campuses did online graduation shows but physical exhibition/shows were not held, while all students did internships in a hybrid mode. Industry is going through a difficult phase and till the time the situation stabilises it will be a challenge for both graduates and industry. Some part of the industry especially the companies with e-commerce platforms are already seeing substantial growth. Over 69 per cent of the students have already been placed. NIFT will be starting placement from July 5 for the rest of the students of 2020 and the batch of 2021.

    Hiring right now is a bit slow because of the pandemic but we have full confidence there will be a bounce back affect soon. Luckily, we managed to place 96 per cent of our students in the same companies where they interned. In a few cases where placements got affected due to economic instability, we extended our support through our five-year placement support to our alumni.

    Currently, campus placements are low due to lockdowns, although interviews are happening online, which is a positive sign in the industry. This time is utilised to equip our students on future skills, which will help them get the edge in job opportunities.

    Last year’s graduates have progressed to advance learning in national and international universities. Few have their own startups. The graduating students have fresh vision, sound academic knowledge, are tech savvy to take on global work for startups and digital platforms. Placements at SOFT have been favourable; almost 65 per cent of B Design students have been placed successfully both within the industry and as self-employment. Also, the institute gets new and upcoming job opportunities that are relayed to students through WhatsApp group and college social media platforms.

    As the pandemic has continued, on the internship front many students had given interviews but were unable to join their respective jobs. Since movies and serials shoots are going on, students got an opportunity to work as designers and stylists. Some of them have turned bloggers and influencers and are selling their products online. Few have taken up graphic designing jobs and some have started own businesses. Some students were forced to give up fashion related work and join other fields to earn a living. Few students who were selected by ace designers and companies were not able to start work. Also, few companies, who hired interns from our institute, cut down on staff; so, students couldn’t join them. Those who were able to think out of the box and show innovation and productivity will be able to survive this pandemic, hence the focus on e-commerce.

    All programmes at WWI have internships associated with them. WWI also has a special department assigned for placements and internships, and they have worked consistently to help students in choosing the right career option, even during the pandemic. There were a few students who in their own proactive capacities have secured jobs and internships during the year and successfully completed them, while some are still pursuing with their on the-job training.

    We see fashion as an industry that absorbs many different types of talents and competencies. During the pandemic, we continued with this policy and encouraged students to take up work-from-home internships. Also, in anticipation of the lack of internship opportunities that students would face in the summer of 2020, we designed our own professional enhancement programme called ProStart. First and second year students were put in teams and assigned academic and external industry mentors who guided them towards the development of design propositions from pre-framed project tracks that revolved around industry-related design problems that would emerge in a post covid world. Third-year students were given virtual internships, where they worked in teams and were mentored by an academic mentor and an industry mentor from the company providing the internship. The companies that gave our third-year students virtual internships during the summer of 2020 were ASBO magazine UK, Fashion Revolution India, FKNS by Narendra Kumar Ahmed, Lokal, and Stylumia.

    Our career services cell works closely with each programme director and the students within the programme to understand their skillsets and career aspirations. We have ‘Career Connect’ where companies are invited to share their profiles and the kind of talent they are looking for with students, who share their portfolios.

    The campus placements have been going on, which has enabled students receive internship and job opportunities. Also, through our outreach programme, we host professionals and expert workshops or interactive talks with the aim of updating the students with the current climate of the industry. Most students have proceeded with higher education. Many are currently doing their internship or jobs, which they have either gained through campus placements or their own individual talent. Some have chosen the entrepreneurial route and started their own design firms or are undertaking freelance projects. Campus placements have been affected and reduced. However, it is better than what we have expected. Companies are hiring graduates and providing flexibility in working, such as work-from-home or reporting for work once a week or month. Companies are seeking employees who can work in digital fields.

    Published on: 19/07/2021

    DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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