Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Sandra Agnes is currently working as the Director-South of JD Institute of Fashion and Technology. She is a holder of Master degree in Social Work (Medical and Psychiatric, Family and Child Welfare and Counseling) from School of Social Work, Roshinilaya, Mangalore. She has also attained a Diploma in Public Communication and Fund Raising from Murray Culshaw Consulting (sponsored by Ford Foundation). With an experience of 5 years in Dalit Microfinance Federations as Regional Training Coordinator and 2 years as a national fundraiser for National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, she has been instrumental in giving a new dimension to societal responsibilities based on humanitarian grounds.
Ms. Agnes has ventured into the creative field of Art and Design for the last 10 years and has significantly contributed to the art and design education system in terms of management and marketing. Her specialization lies in developing interpersonal relationships, team and leadership management, strategic and risk management, business development plans and establishing industry connect.
Experience in the education sector and what makes it the best sector to work in
It’s been a great Journey in this Industry. My 15 years of experience has been fantastic. The young positive energy keeps us going, active and motivated. This sector helped me to achieve my leadership goals, connect with various industries, talents, universities, various associations and accreditations. JD 30 years’ legacy helped me to connect with the alumni, take feedback on the educational pattern offered and deliver much better services. I have kept my market vigilance, learnt from the competitors and brought changes in my ways of working. Being in the Education sector helps me to train the youth by incorporating CSR activities into their curriculum, making them socially responsible.
Philosophy of leadership followed, being the Director South, JD Institute of Fashion Technology
The position of the Director of the south comes with various responsibilities. For example, being transparent having clear organisational structure and systems, defined roles and setting realistic team goals.
- Win-win saturations: recognising and nurturing talents
- Realistic and experimental: when it comes to projects, developing new strategies or inviting new opportunities.
Especially, every day we have new challenges but the important thing is to find the solutions and keep going.
Significant challenges faced by the Director South, JD Institute Of Fashion Technology
Every admission season and the academic year is a challenge. Sudden changes in the systems from government end and university affect the admissions. It demands patterns which are experimental and risky but through our experience and the right mentors, we are able to overcome these situations.
Unhealthy and petty competitions in the market bring confusions and negativity in the minds of aspirants. It’s important that you have a right counselling team which builds confidence among students and support them to enrol right courses.
Once the students join the course, ensuring them to take their courses seriously is another task.
We try to bring more interesting teaching methodology which includes a lot of extracurricular and industry driven activities
Students are given new opportunities to connect with the global platforms
Reasons for the sudden increase in the number of the students pursuing Design as their career
- The Globalisation: The growth in other industrial sector has brought purchasing power and improvised lifestyle in India. People started investing on lifestyle products and fashion, which encouraged the international companies to have their presence and further it led to the growth in the retail sector and thus job opportunities also increased, which influenced the design education segment.
- Online and Social Media: a lot of creative thinkers and writers contributed towards influencing the public, fashion sense and opportunities. It also built its reputation over the period, the e-commerce segment provided platforms to the budding talents without much investment.
- The Glamour part: Is another part, which makes a lot of students get attracted to this Industry. There is a misconception that the Design Industry is an easy Industry but it’s totally wrong. This design Industry requires super dedication and hard work.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at JD Institute of Fashion Technology
The institution is a link between the students and industry. We keep ourselves updated with the present opportunities from time to time and we support students to realise their potential by offering them a right job. We offer them internships even before they complete their course so that they can get serious about their career choices.
Placement is the final goal through which every institute is judged upon, higher the rate better the quality of education. we have a 90% success rate and the rest of the students get into higher education or become entrepreneurs. This placement status can be achieved only when the industry is happy about your students’ performance.
We feel it's our responsibility to connect students to the right platform after the successful completion of their course. We ensure to identify their potentials and direct them to the right industry. Our 30 years of efforts have really helped us to connect with more than 2000+ companies from India and across the globe.
We have extended job opportunities to our students and alumni through a job portal which is called the visible campus, ensuring the students and industry presence and fulfilling their timely requirement needs.
Our alumni are grateful and they support us for new opportunities. Our constant efforts have been proven positive and it open window towards an increase in admissions,
The additional pedagogy offered in your curriculum
- Internships: It’s a part of the course, every program irrespective of its duration has to go through mandatory Internship.
- Events: JD Annual design awards, an exclusive fashion show for students to showcase their imagination in the form of Garments, Jewellery, Interior products and spaces, exhibitions, designer support and launch.
- Industry-driven activities: like real projects for companies, Industry-based talk sessions.
- CSR activities: making them realise that fashion can connect with social causes
- competitions: national and international.
- International tours: Taking tours to the major fashion cities, study abroad programs and exchange programs.
The top qualities that an aspiring Designer must possess
Strong specialised skills, good personality and most importantly possessing values (innovation, sustaining ability and ethical).
Goals set for the Institute for the next few years
Targets are required to keep you going and strive hard for the next level. For me, the next five years are very crucial. Apart from opening 10 more centres in South, we have plans to open a full-fledged centre in UK and Europe, making major tie-ups with domestic and International universities.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Please do not choose this career just because it looks glamorous and easy.
This Industry requires enough hard work, dedication and respect just like any another career
It has high standards and good job opportunities. Choose this if you have a passion and quality for this. In fact, this fashion and lifestyle Industry requires extra hard work to be successful.