Bulbul Chaudhary, regional director, WLCI Mumbai Center, shares with Pooja Vora the institutions primary USP of preparing students for industry and making them effective from day one
What are the values, the principles, the discipline and the philosophy that have shaped WLC?
At WLCI our objective is to provide high quality trained professionals to the industry worldwide. With this in mind, we train young learners who aspire to be successful professionals. Our aim has always been to understand the requirements of the industry and include those in our curriculum and training. For sixteen years, we have worked very closely with the industry and have created a curriculum that maps the available jobs. Our training methodology is focused towards creating ‘doers’ with the requisite abilities and not just professionals who have knowledge on the subject without any ability to implement. Our philosophy has been to provide opportunity to all young aspirants who are ready to put in effort and be successful in their chosen profession. We believe that the right training, mentoring and coaching helps in ensuring that the individual reaches a level of efficiency and effectiveness required at the workplace.
What is the USP of WLCI?
Preparing students for the industry and making them effective from day one is our USP. Focus is not just on knowledge, but development of professional and behavioural skill and attitude that is required at the workplace. As part of this preparation students work as trainees in their chosen area of specialization, with any of our partner organizations.
At the beginning of the programme students undergo training on grooming, etiquette and communication and are prepared for taking on their role as trainees. On selection they join the organization as an employee and are paid a stipend that varies from Rs. 5000 to Rs.15,000 per month depending on the organization and profile.
During the traineeship, a student’s performance is assessed on a monthly basis by both the industry manager and the WLCI trainer. Basis the feedback the student is mentored and coached on the areas identified. The list of partner organization enclosed. Over the last sixteen years, more than 14000 professionals have been placed worldwide.
Course content is the other unique feature of WLCI. We have constituted an Employers’ Council, with some of the finest professionals who are experts in their respective fields. Guided by their advice, we have carefully designed our programmes to impart knowledge and professional skills which map abilities required to perform in various professions and sub-professions in marketing, finance, human resource, fashion, design and media.
What is the scope for careers for WLCI students in its fashion technology, business management, advertising & graphic design and media programmes?
WLCI’s Traineeship Programme prepare students for job opportunities in their respective fields like retail, digital marketing, sales, financial services, accounting, talent acquisition, talent management, media houses, creative agencies, banking and non banking financial services buying houses, export houses, garment manufacturing companies, merchandising, designing and client servicing sectors. WLCI alumni are also working as independent entrepreneurs having their own range of product and services, etc.
How important is the placements record and industry-connect of an institute?
At WLCI the focus is training young professionals for the industry. Part of the training is at the workplace, so placement is not something that happens at the end of a course but an integral part of the curriculum. By the time the student is completing the course the aspiration is not a get a job but get absorbed at the right level with the profile. For us the importance is how the student progresses rather than just names of organisations. Placement on completion is not the only way that we connect with the industry. The industry has been working with us constantly; from recommending the course structure, creating the content, training in the classroom and training at the workplace to mentoring the students during the course. We have very senior professionals as part of our Employer’s Council.
Do you feel that there is a visible shift towards professional, career-oriented courses rather than traditional courses?
The reality is that the need for professional, career- oriented courses is being discussed for quite some time. However, the courses and the training that is imparted are still not focused towards that. The curriculum in most institutions are academic and theoretical, the training does not create any ability in an individual but gives him loads of knowledge on the profession. Professional training institutions have to bring about the change in their course curriculum and the training methodology to make this shift visible. All fresh graduates should be industry ready and the requirement to train them again by the organization should reduce.
What is the feedback that you receive from alumni?
When students are enrolled for their traineeship during the programme, it is a lot of hard work; they have a 10 hour schedule every day. However the real work experience along with the classroom training to create ability is what separates them from others. Their feedback is that they are better prepared for the workplace and require minimum training from the employers. They are in a position to take higher responsibilities and are more effective. Therefore, most of our alumni are able to climb the corporate ladder faster than the others.
Looking forward, what are your plans for WLCI?
Our future plans include four major areas of work. In research and development, we plan to work on each profession, identify the skills and attitude required and develop content and training on each of them. The aim will be to enhance the content base for every area and not restrict to concepts but the creation of ability in that profession.
With diagnostics and assessment, our plan is to offer customised training to every individual. So we plan to use assessment techniques that will identify the areas required to be improved in a learner. This will help in structuring programmes that suit the individual rather than imparting existing standard programmes.
Vertical expansion is envisaged, we plan to increase our training portfolio by including suitable courses for school students, colleges, universities and professional colleges. We are also developing programmes customized for organisations. With our unique process of ability creation we will be train these professionals to be result oriented and effective and the organisations can concentrate on their core competencies. Geographical expansion is on the anvil too; our plans are to reach out to young learners, not only across our country but also other parts of the world.