“Though I completed my degree, I realised I do not have skills to get into a job”, said an Industrial Engineering student of Apparel Training and Design Centre (ATDC). We have all come across people in similar situations or have faced it ourselves. Our graduation and post-graduation degrees did not always make us ready for the industry. It is in scenarios like these that skills and work-integrated learning become exceptionally relevant and ATDC meets the requirements through DDU-GKY, B.Voc and other courses.
Most of the students at ATDC who are currently pursuing a Diploma in Industrial Engineering are graduates from various disciplines. This revelation re-established the fact that the three-year degree programmes we have in our country are not enough to make our youth employable. In this skill story, we tried to capture the perspectives on education, industry-integrated curriculum and youth employability from Dr. Darlie Koshy, Director General and CEO, ATDC; P. Ravi Kishore, Regional Manager, ATDC, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Ms. Kirti Mehta and some of the students of ATDC.
Bridging the aspirational gap through B.Voc courses
B.Voc courses are three-year degree programmes crafted to meet the industrial requirements by imparting practical knowledge and skills to its students. With multiple entry and exit options during the course, internships and industrial visits, students or the youth are equipped with the right knowledge of theory and practical and are exposed to work environment right from the college level. This way the B.Voc courses help us in bridging the skill and aspirational gap and makes the youth industry-ready. “B.Voc courses change the job perception from a Sewing Machine Operator (SMO) to a Fashion Designer or a Fashion Merchandiser”, says Darlie Koshy, Director General and CEO, ATDC.
There are two B.Voc courses offered at ATDC – B.Voc in Apparel Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship and B.Voc in Fashion Design and Retail. ATDC also offers an Industrial Engineering Executive course under the government’s DDU GKY scheme. “I liked the Industrial Engineering course given by ATDC because it is preparing me for the industry. The industry is not ready to take someone without skills and train them later. They want someone who already has the skills”, said an Industrial Engineering student.
“We consider ourselves to be lucky to join this course. There are many out there who completed their graduation but don’t have any jobs. We are learning so many new things here. After the completion of the course, we have 2 options, either to join a job or to start our own business. That way this course has empowered us”, responded a group of Industrial Engineering students, who completed their graduation in different disciplines before joining the diploma course.
Related article: ATDC’s first B.Voc convocation celebrates higher education in apparel industry Read more: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/atdcs-first-b-voc-convocation-celebrates-higher-education-in-apparel-industry/
Industry-integrated curriculum in apparels and fashion
Fashion changes instantly and everyday one needs to come up with a new design to compete with its pace. ATDC ensures that their courses are updated regularly and are in sync with the industry requirements. As mentioned earlier, ATDC runs a 6-months diploma programme under DDU-GKY and a three-year degree programme through B.Voc. Describing the curriculum, Ms. Kirti Mehta said, “under these courses, the students learn basic spoken and written English, Computer Skills, and Life Skills. In the domain knowledge, we teach them about the product, how the product is made and the time that is required to produce each piece of a garment”.
“Subjects are very interesting here at ATDC. We get to learn subjects like Textile Science, Surface Designing and Pattern Making. In Pattern Making, we learn about different kinds of fabrics, how to cut them, how to stitch and design each type of fabric. This helps us in understanding the fabric and in creating new designs”, said Deekshitha, a second year B.Voc student. Apart from classes at the campus, students are also taken on field visits to industrial areas and to places like Pochampally to understand the of hand-woven fabrics and sustainable fashion. “We also teach them about the SAM (Standard Allowed Minute) which is very crucial in measuring the task and AQL (Accepted Quality Level) which is used for the final inspection of the garment. As part of their course, the students take part in on-the-job training (OJT) to get exposed to the industrial training along with the training we provide at ATDC”, adds Mr. Ravi Kishore.
Entrepreneurship in apparel industry in India
“I want to start my own boutique and create new designs for the coming generations and myself”, said Deekshitha. The apparel industry is one of the growing industries in India. It has the potential and scope to take in a huge number of people into the industry both as employees and as well as entrepreneurs. At ATDC, students are made aware of various opportunities after the completion of the course, either to pick up a job with the industry or to start their own venture.
Parental influence matters
Most importantly, for students to explore opportunities in sectors other than IT and Engineering, awareness should be created at schools and college level. “Commercialization of education is creating a barrier to break the monotony of our traditional education. And the parental influence is huge among students during their school days. Awareness creation among the parents is the first and crucial step”, opines Mr. Ravi Kishore.
Mr. Ravi Kishore walked the extra mile, put in an additional effort to broaden the parent’s vision in terms of opportunities for their children. He along with his faculty attended gatherings and were part of various clubs and grabbed every opportunity to address the parents. It takes sustained efforts and commitment like this to change the mindsets of both the parents and the educational institutions to let students choose a career path of their choice.
Education, employment and entrepreneurship are linked to each other not only in the apparel industry but is common across various sectors. Educated youth unemployability has been a perennial problem in India for a long time now. To address this issue and to increase youth employability, various stakeholders like academia, industry and the government have to come together and put in efforts to incorporate industry-driven curriculum and courses. The youth must be exposed to the work environment from the very beginning of the course. If the students are made aware of opportunities in the domain during the course, it gives them a clarity of thought as to what career path one can choose. Correct guidance along with imparting the right skills and vocational training among the youth can address the major crisis of unemployability and helps them reach greater heights.