Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Career Hotline
Be game for sportswear design
Pervin Malhotra

Q I am a student of fashion design. I am thinking of picking up sportswear design as an elective. Is it a good idea?

ó Sujata

A Though high performance sportswear design is a comparatively new area of fashion design in recent times there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for sportswear that can cater to a broad spectrum of demands ó ranging from competitive, extreme to leisure sporting activities. Healthier lifestyles, which include gym workouts, yoga, and dance lessons, have further escalated the demand for products that both perform and look great.

Sports personalities today want a powerful punch of style in their athletic wear and sports companies in an effort to catch the capricious eye of the consumer are recruiting designers to promote their brand.

The new breed of designers is savvy enough to identify and respond to the creative, cultural, commercial and technical needs of a particular sport. While indepth knowledge of fashion, textile technology and graphics is a must, so is an understanding of human physiology and ergonomics.

Technical innovations in design and an exciting innovations in fabric and fibre have opened a plethora of options with an accent on comfort and safety. Phase change materials, wearable electronics and new methods of measurement have been introduced.

Future prospects: Graduates from fashion, textile and graphic design courses with an understanding of product design are picked up by reputed sportswear companies.

 

Bollywood beckons

Q I am a B.Com student. Can you please tell me apart from training at a film institute, how else can one get into the film industry?

ó Himanshu Bawa

A In fact, even training does not assure you an entry into the film industry. Besides talent and that something "special", you need the 3 Ps: passion, persistence and perseverance to pursue contacts, and move in the right circles to get in. And you must keep at it. Donít let initial let-downs deter you.

Abhisek Bachchan, with initial credentials of being Big Bís son delivered a string of 17 flops before delivering hit after hit. So, if you are wooden on screen, no godfather can pave your way to fame.

Many have got into the profession by working their way up through assistantships and small roles with reputed names in the industry. The road to success in this industry is long and tough.

However, donít discount the merits of training as talent is one thing but honing it methodically will always work to your advantage. Practice makes perfect. It is the only way to polish your skills and get noticed in Bollywood.

Speak to professionals working in the entertainment industry ó actors, casting directors, agents, and directors. They will give you the insider secrets you need to succeed in acting.

And while you are at it, do also examine other alternatives because the film industry does not carry guarantees of permanent employment or fixed salaries.

Which is why it is best to complete your academic education so that you have a back-up plan in case your acting career fails to take off.

Television acting is another lucrative option. Itís easier to break into and once youíve done that, itís easier to move from the small screen to the big screen as so many Bollywood aspirants have successfully done.

Modelling is yet another way to get noticed.

 

Hotel placements

Q I will be completing my course in hotel management shortly. But I am really worried about my future. Can you possibly suggest names of some journals or newspapers which I can scan for vacancies in India and abroad?

ó Dheeraj Chawala

A Although the travel and tourism sector is booming, you donít necessarily have to confine yourself to the hotel industry per se.

Cruiseliners, holiday resorts, airline and institutional catering services and customer relations, are the other areas to look at.

Moreover, hotel management graduates fit in the wider services sector including property management and customer care where the emphasis is on customer relations and interface.

As far as keeping an eye on new openings, try scanning the following industry-specific journals like Express Hospitality etc besides the Employment News and other mainline papers like this one.

While hunting for jobs online try the trickle-down approach. First, try the career link on the companyís own website. Any new opening will be posted on the companyís website before it goes on any other jobsite. Besides, it also gives you an opportunity to educate yourself about the company. Today, nearly all best practice companies use job boards ó for job postings and creating a resume database.

The next places to look are industry-specific jobsites and job boards that specifically cater to opportunities in the hotel industry e.g. www.ahla.com/careers and www.hospitalitycareernet.com (Indiaís largest searchable online database of candidates and job openings in this field), www.hoteljobsindia.com, or www.fhrai.com/career.asp or www.gulfhoteljobs.com Thirdly, look at large jobsites like www.monster.com or www.naukri.com.

Go to www.google.com and type "hospitality careers" in the search box. This will give you a good idea of places to kick-start your job search online. If you wish to hunt within a specific region, you will find location-specific boards as well. Hospitality industry-specific search firms also have their own websites. Check them out for even more opportunities.

Also log on to the websites of leading hotel chains (e.g. www.oberoihotels.com/careers/), etc.

In defence of arts

Q Is there any opportunity in the defence services for students who have taken arts & humanities in Class XII? Please advise.

ó Amit Bhansal

A There are a number of alternatives for Arts students if they wish to join the armed forces.

  • After Class XII you can join at the Cadet Entry level in the Army Wing of the National Defence Academy (NDA). Selection is on the basis of a written (NDA) exam, followed by SSB tests and interview, and a medical examination.

For details, log onto the UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in).

  • After completing your bachelorís degree, you can join at the Graduate Entry level in the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, and the Officersí Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, by appearing for the Combined Defence Services Exam.

  • Non-Engineering Postgraduates are also eligible for induction into the Army Education Corps (AEC), Military Farms, Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and to the Education Branch of the Indian Navy.

  • Opportunities for Direct Entry for both Graduates as well as Postgraduates exist in the Ground Duty Branches and as Fighter/ Air Traffic Controllers in the Indian Air Force too.

  • Indian Coast Guard recruits students who have completed plus two (55%) as Naviks (General Duty).

  • Also, if you choose to do Professional Law (BA LLB) after Class XII, or LLB after graduation in any field, you can apply to the Judge Advocate Generalís Department of the Indian Army in the Short Service Commission.

Similar opportunities for law graduates exist in the Navy.

  • Working graduates who are medically fit can also sign up as Officers in the Territorial Army.

Other than these, thereís ample opportunity to contribute your services to the Armed Forces, by either joining any of the numerous military schools across the country as a teacher, or by specialising in religion to join the army as a preacher.

IAS after nursing

Q I am a qualified nurse. Am I eligible for the civil services exam?

ó Jasmeet kaur

A Eligibility for taking the civil services exam is a Bachelorís degree. You should be between 21-30 years of age on August 1, of the year of taking the exam.

Medical Science is a subject both for the Prelims as well as the Mains Exam. As Nursing is recognised as a full-fledged medical science, I donít see why you canít use your knowledge of medicine as an option for the Civil Services Exam ó provided you have done BSc (Nursing) and not a diploma.

While choosing an optional subject for the Prelims, do keep the Mains in mind. This means that you should preferably opt for the same optional subject both for the Prelims as well as the Mains. This will not only give you a better understanding of the subject but will also save you extra effort.

The syllabus for the Optional Paper is typically of a Bachelorís degree-level. For details of exam schedules etc, log on to: www.upsc.gov.in.

Check out courses

Q There are so many foreign universities advertising their courses in our local papers these days. Are these courses all genuine? What about the foreign-affiliated courses being offered in India? I belong to a middle-class family but my parents donít mind paying the hefty fees provided they offer value.

ó Vanraj Rai

A Despite the fact that Indian students are spending huge amounts on foreign-affiliated courses, the government has just woken up to and begun to formulate policies to check the infiltration of sub-standard universities.

Over the last few years, scores of foreign universities and institutes have made inroads into India. Besides those that recruit students for programs in their home campuses, several offer programs in collaboration with Indian partners. What is really shocking and galling is that many of the 150-odd universities that are furiously wooing Indian students are not even recognised or accredited in their own countries!

Of the several varsities that hog media space here, barely a handful have made it to the top-ten slot even in their parent country.

Whatís more, the degrees or diplomas they offer have not been given equivalence in India. As a result, higher studies or getting a job becomes impossible. In many cases, the infrastructure and facilities provided are minimal and there are few controls relating to quality of teaching or financial arrangements.

Moreover, the courses peddled in India are mostly those that find few takers in their own country. They merely try to fill up the seats that remain empty at home. The idea is to make money rather than spread education. Which is why not a single reputed foreign university has set up its campus in India says a senior National Institute of Educational Planning & Administration (NIEPA) official.

Greenwich Universityís Business Administration programme ranks 88th in its own country. Similarly, Middlesex Universityís Computing Science & Information Technology Course ranks 81st back home.

Although the UGC still needs to amend its Act regarding foreign universities, AICTE has issued a public notice (Foreign University Regulations 2003) regarding technical degree and diploma programmes "marketed" by foreign institutions in India.

Henceforth, only foreign institutions accredited and recognised unconditionally in their parent country that are willing to establish their own campus for offering their programmes in India will be allowed to operate.

Details of the regulations for technical education have been posted on their website: www.aicte.ernet.in.

A number of such degree mills issue advertisements inviting applications for admission to technical courses that have been launched without prior approval of AICTE. It is illegal to conduct technical courses without statutory approval from the AICTE. Appropriate action needs to be taken against such institutions.

Students are cautioned not to seek admission to unapproved courses, since such courses are not valid for employment in govt/govt-aided organisations. The onus therefore rests on you to check out these courses and institutions before you enrol, suggests MHRD.

Better safe than sorry ó do a thorough background check ó lest you realise that the fancy (and expensive) degree that you have earned from a University in California is neither accredited nor listed in the American Council of Educationís list of Accredited Institutions of Post-secondary Education, nor is the Kensington University accredited by any recognised accrediting agency or by the State of Hawai. Which means you wonít be able to produce any supporting evidence of your study or research when you appear for a job interview.

The UGC and MRTPO have intervened in a number of such cases to restrain foreign or Indian institutions from operating as "universities". Unlike here, the word "university" can be used in a few countries by private institutions even if they donít have state authority to do so.

The SC ruling against the 112 private univs in Chhattisgarh which had made a mockery of education, is a truly landmark judgment in this respect. That there is still a market for "degrees" instead of education is the major factor responsible for the proliferation of unrecognised universities.

So, those who think globalisation in education is opening windows to the worldís best institutions could do with a reality check.

Plan a future in eco

Q What are the jobs for degree-holders in economics in the Planning Commission?

ó Ranjeet Singh

A Besides recruiting postgraduates in economics through the Indian Economic Service, the Planning Commission recruits postgraduates in economics with two years of research experience as Economic Investigators for its Programme Evaluation Organisation through the UPSC.

Graduates in/with economics are also recruited as Research Assistants (Economics) or Economic Investigators (Grade-II) in the Planning Commission or as Investigators and Jr Investigators in the M/o Labour & Employment, M/o Agriculture and other government departments through the Staff Selection Commission).

The work involves collecting and compiling economic data/information from various sources, tabulating and analysing the data and preparing reports.

 

The writer is a noted career consultant

 

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Jobs and Careers, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030, or at careers@tribunemail.com