The future may be uncertain, but there’s no reason to believe it will be dark one. Jobs as we know them have been going in and out of existence ever since the industrial revolution, and with every big paradigm shift, one thing’s been observed – with the nature of jobs changing, there’s always been a net positive of the number of jobs available. This fact brings our ability as human beings to reinvent and re-imagine into sharp focus, even more so in the current context.
Deputy Director, Corporate Relations, Pearl Academy, Rishi Uppal attempts to lay the anxieties of students and graduates to rest with this informative Q&A. He answers some fundamental questions about the current adversity – challenges/opportunities, its impact on the course of learning and the creative industry:
How has the market/industry been affected given the current crisis?
With COVID 19 becoming a global malady, business across sectors are undergoing profound changes. While economists have predicted that the companies operating in the Travel, Hospitality, Tourism, Oil and Gas are amongst the few that will be badly affected, the implications of the outbreak in Fashion, Design and Media industry are also being felt lately.
As tougher situations call for proactive solutions, many important forums in the field of Communication, Fashion and Design are brainstorming to find potent solutions in these times of uncertainty.
With stores being closed and human activity completely on a halt, designers are moving swiftly towards becoming Digital. Leading designers across the world are using new modes of operation such as creating a virtual lookbook to create 360-degree GIFs of their new collections for buyers to see the looks in the full. Many designers are utilizing this time in studying innovative ways for sampling digitally and creating collections that can be sold right away once the situation simmers down.
Similarly, in Design, the emergence of Startups and their consistent growth will continue in the coming days. E-Commerce sites that are still operational are adopting new ways of creating effective communication with the help of creative designers and are hoping to keep the momentum going. Media sector despite, a cut down in publishing of the newspapers is harnessing the potential of new technologies more than ever before.
Therefore, the times are certainly tough for industries to prosper yet many are taking the potent step towards reshaping their strategies and are surviving in these unprecedented times. Once the industry will change gears in the post-COVID 19 era, these strategies will be utilized more effectively and there will be a need for a talented workforce to keep the momentum going.
Everybody is talking about the slowdown, do you think job opportunities will get affected?
Most of the companies may reduce the number of vacancies and still retain some deserving candidates. While we expect overall packages to reduce around 10-15%, the potential employees/ students who are talented, with the right attitude, are multi-skilled, and adaptable to the changing industry scenarios will continue to get jobs. For the months to come, fresh graduates will be expected to learn by themselves & come prepared since companies will be under the pressure of reviving as soon as possible, once everything comes back on the track.
There will also be an additional competition from the lateral and experienced people who will look for new jobs and will be ready to work on lower salaries. However, there will be a latent demand for people with new skill sets that can help companies come out of their situation quickly.
How should students, especially those who are graduating this year, better prepare themselves for placements?
Fresh graduates should have an open lookout towards their first jobs while being more adaptable and agile in their search. In these challenging times, new roles are about to become more multi-disciplinary and fluid. Top three tips for fresh graduates are:
Adapt: Stay updated and keep applying for jobs by changing your CV basis a possible job opportunity. Be ready to work on multiple aspects within one job profile.
Ask for Help: Reach out to your institute, friends and family to help you with CV/ Portfolio development, mock interviews, connects and networking.
Be Updated: Closely witness the changing industry scenario and work towards building your portfolio in the same direction. Reach out to your teachers and mentors for regular updates on building the portfolio and developing it basis the industry scenario.
How is Pearl Academy going to help its students?
Amidst crisis, Pearl academy is investing more time with its final year graduates to hone their skills and ensure that learning continues in the “New Reality”. Our faculty members are conducting classes online and intend to complete this semester as planned by the end of May. We have a team of around 25 career specialists working closely with our final year graduates to support them and guide them on preparing for interviews, fine-tune their portfolios and help them make the appropriate career choice.
We have implemented the world’s most advanced Learning Management System (LMS) and all faculty members are trained in teaching through this online LMS. Before COVID-19 20% of the overall curriculum was digital and taught online, which has now been scaled to 100%. For students applying for programs at Pearl Academy this year, the institute has launched a mobile app. It offers a tailor-made experience to help students and parents make the right decisions when it comes to education and career.
We encourage our students to undertake online courses on platforms like Coursera and Business of Fashion (BOF) amongst others to add relevant skill sets and upskill themselves to enhance employability. Furthermore, the institute is committed to providing career support to its graduates for up to 5 years after graduation.
292 students from the 2020 batch who are seeking employment have already been placed and we have witnessed a 20% increase in average salaries. We also have in the pipeline around 170 plus companies who have confirmed to hire our students and we expect hiring to resume once things normalise.
Can students enrol themselves in any other program, which would give them a sure chance of earning even if they are not placed immediately?
All Pearlites have access to upskill with Coursera that offers 3900+ courses validated and offered in partnership with 150+ universities from across the globe. While students are still working on their final semesters and scouting for jobs, our faculty members and career mentors are encouraging them to take on courses that can help them with placements along with learning.
What are the recommended online courses that can help build student credentials?
With businesses moving online, content has become the king. In the creative industry across sectors, Copywriting, Content Generation- Audio and Visual is in huge demand. The industry is also swiftly adopting Social Media Management, Blogging, Online Journalism and Publishing, and Digital Marketing as viable options.
Under our 360-degree comprehensive learning module, we are encouraging our students to be proficient in these fields and take every possible advantage of courses available on our partner platforms like Coursera.
Design-centric courses, modules on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sustainability are also available on Coursera to gain knowledge on aspects that will closely determine the future of design and design applications.
As the creative industry will take a leap towards being high-tech and becoming digital, creative courses like Design Thinking, Fashion as Design will be important for the students. There are several tech-integrated courses, designed to impart skills for the digital age like Elements of Design, Fundamentals of Graphic Design and Introduction to UI Design besides Sustainable Materials Management and Understanding Research Methods that are important to remain aligned with the evolving landscape of the industry.
What kind of support are you offering to the alumni?
Pearl Academy has announced an initiative called Pearl Ahead for its alumni.
Pearl Ahead focuses on providing our alumni with some of the unique opportunities to Grow, Learn and Become the Leaders in their respective fields.
Our unique 5S program is the core of our Alumni offerings and a principal component of our Alumni Relations Department. The program is offered to alumni from 2014 onwards, the 5S’s of the program are:
Further Study Support: 35% Scholarship to students who intend to pursue Post Graduate courses with the institute.
Upskilling Support: Learn with Coursera – Our alumni’s now have the opportunity to gain access to Coursera for acquiring new skills and creating new opportunities for growth.
Career Progression Support: Five-year placement assistance will be given to the Pearl Academy alumni.
Entrepreneurial Support: The institute has recently signed an MOU with WeWork Labs to encourage and support alumni who would like to become entrepreneurs. WeWork Labs will work closely with the institute to help deliver masterclasses on entrepreneurship, advise students on creating business plans and will support select entrepreneurs by providing free working space on WeWork premises in Gurgaon, Mumbai & Bangalore.
Counselling Support: Difficult and uncertain times like these can take a huge toll on mental health. Pearl Academy, under its ‘We Care’ initiative, has launched a counselling helpline for its students and alumni to ensure that they have professional help at hand to overcome mental stress.