Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy, talks to Monika Thakur about how the academy is successfully challenging the uncoventional ways of learning for students
Tell us about the latest developments at the academy
We’ve introduced a policy in which students can opt for specialisation from the second year onwards and still continue to study their undergraduation course. With this, a fashion student, who aspires to specialise in jewellery designing, can opt for it from second year of the course.
How has the response been for the newly launched media coursesIJ
It has been good so far and covers all four streams — media, communication, advertising and marketing. Pearl stands for looking ahead, being international and innovative. This new course aligns with our objective.
What kind of work has been done with Setu (NGO)IJ
Pearl provides a three-month training course to the underprivilaged people giving them all the skills needed to be independent and to work freely in the future. The academy is also doing a project with Tihar Jail where we have set up a fashion production for inmates. We are trying to take the concept to the other jails as well so that when the inmates go back to living their normal lives, they can be independent as they are free to use their skills to earn money and respect.
How has the 25 years of journey beenIJ
When we started 25 years back, we were set up to train individuals for the fashion industry only and as we evolved, we saw other industries growing by leaps and bounds. Thus, we expanded from fashion to media communication and fashion styling. We also expanded our reach from Delhi to Jaipur, Mumbai and Noida. Our pursuit is to deliver the best academic excellence and want our students to be able to not just manufacture but design in India. That’s how we have evolved from being a fashion college to the best college in the creative industry.
Tell us about the three pillars of the academy
Internationality is essential and every student has an option to travel abroad for student exchange programme. The ones who can’t travel can learn from working with the international guest faculty who come down to our academy. There are students from Pearl and the students from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York working on a project together. Recently, some Pearl students got selected for The london Graduate Fashion Week.
Pearl students have an option in the final year to transfer out of Pearl to Torrens University, Australia and get an Australian degree. They get to see the fashion shows, listen to best designers talk, and learn from how they communicate, what kind of pricing is there, who is buying the products and much more.
Pearl Academy has the employability rate of 97 per cent. We are also encouraging entrepreneurship as many students want to do something on their own. We have set up an incubation cell where students understand every aspect of the business, legal, finances.
What about the enrollmentsIJ
We take admissions according to demand and potential. If a particular market is not growing as much, then we reduce the number of intake because our aim is to make our students successful at the end of the day. Every class has a section of 30 students and if there is more potential in the industry we may take 60 instead of 30. When we introduce a new course, we generally start with lesser number of students so that they get enough individual importance and attention.
What role does internship playIJ
Internship is extremely important. Students looking for an internship should try to find an organisation which is interested in working with young people. They should never give up their internship or discontinue it in-between even if they face any problem. Showing up at work is the most important and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
What are your expansion plansIJ
We will expand to beauty, retail, and wellness courses and are on a lookout to establish in other two cities. We are also focusing on this entire process of students’ success in employability and changing the concept of sending the students for internships in the final year. We have a success coach and a professional assessment to counsel students.
In the first year, we are giving the students a freedom to understand the skills they are strong in and also the skills that they need to be strong in. Some of the skills that the companies look for in a student are collaboration and ability to achieve objectives. These are the skills that will help them succeed in the near future.