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Hunar se Rozgar Tak has failed miserably because there is little awareness amongst the target youth group

AISSMS CHMCT is part of a bigger education umbrella – All India Shri Shivaji Memorial Society,  which has more than 18 institutions of education. Dr Sonali Jadhav, principal, AISSMS CHMCT speaks about the institute’s achievements, the industry-syllabus mismatch and the disappointment of the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Yojana

How has AISSMS CHMCT, Pune evolved over the years? What are its achievements?

While the AISSM society made its foray into education in 1932, AISSMS CHMCT was started in 1997, offering a four-year degree called Bachelor in Hotel Management and Catering Technology (BHMCT), with a permanent affiliation to the University of Pune, and an intake of 60 students. In 2004, the college started another three-year degree course, BSc- Hospitality Studies, with an intake of 120, also permanently affiliated to the University of Pune, now known as Savitribai Phule Pune University.

The institute has many achievements to its credit and is reputed to be a premier institute of hotel management, not only in Pune, but also in the state of Maharashtra. It is the only hotel management institute which is NAAC accredited Grade “A” under Pune University. It has been ISO certified for the Quality Management System 9001:2008 being the latest, since 2004.  As per the annual Hansa survey of Educational Institutions, AISSMS CHMCT has featured in the top 20 institutes in the country for the last five consecutive years.

The institute believes in being student centric. Apart from classroom teaching, the institute organises many co-curricular events that not only gives the students an opportunity to hone their skills, but also exposes them to the managerial and entrepreneur aspects of the industry. Internship opportunities offered to the students are domestic as well as international. This is reflected in the placement of our students. Our students  get picked up by the top hotel and hospitality brands, and a sizeable number branch out as successful entrepreneurs. Our wings are widespread and we have our alumni presence in more than 30 countries in the world. The institute has a strong research base as well, with a well-qualified faculty including PhD holders. The faculty have collectively published more than 75 research papers in reputed journals.

Any new courses at the institute?

Being affiliated to a state university, the institute is governed by the UGC/AICTE /Government norms and it has its limitations for spreading its wings. The institute does offer certificate courses in bakery and confectionery and international cuisine. Customised courses are developed by the college in various hospitality operation areas like food and beverage service, housekeeping, as well as personality development. We have conducted such courses for The Army Intelligence, Bank of Baroda, IHM Hamla Catering School, to name a few organisations.

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Does the institute arrange industry interactions with hotels? What about campus recruitments?

Networking with the industry is very strong. We plan an Industrial Experts Guest Lecture Series every year and the faculty is encouraged to invite professionals from the industry to give insights about the hospitality industry. We also invite industry experts as resource persons for workshops, seminars and conferences, as judges for competitions and as external examiners for our practical examinations. Our students go on industrial visits to hotels, industrial canteens, wineries, and distilleries etc. Industrial professionals are on the board of our College Development Committee and the Internal Quality Assessment Cell.

Every year we have the top multi national hotel brands coming to the campus for recruitment. Last year 24 companies visited the campus for recruitment including Starwood for their various brands.

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There has always been a challenge of industry syllabus mismatch. Your comments on this.

The hospitality industry is very dynamic and has to keep up with the ever changing customer preferences. The customers are also well travelled now and exact in their expectations from the industry. In such a scenario, it is difficult for the education institutions to keep up with the fast changing trends. To counter this, we do send our faculty to the industry for a refresher’s training every year, so they can incorporate the updates in their teaching. The syllabus is revised every three years and industry experts are invited on board for syllabus revision. However I find that the hotels are reluctant to spare the time and contribute to the revision. Also as a service industry, for recruitment the most sought after quality in students is their personality and their attitude (except for the Food Production Department). So I feel that while there is a bit of a mismatch, it is not something that will render the students unemployable. Also the five month internships that the students undergo gives them a realistic exposure of the industry and prepares them for the job.

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As principal of a renowned education institute, what do you think of the government’s Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Yojana? Do you think skill development is lacking in educational syllabi?

One in every 10 employees in the world is in the hospitality industry. There is a huge demand and the supply doesn’t match up. Also, there is a high dropout rate amongst the hospitality students in terms of a career in hospitality. In such a scenario, Hunar se Rozgar Tak Yojana should ideally be able to reduce the gap between the demand and supply. But it is tedious to implement this scheme and it has failed miserably because there is little awareness amongst the target youth group regarding this scheme and it has not garnered adequate response. The government needs to advertise the effectiveness of the scheme extensively for people to appreciate and be attracted to undertake the skills development training imparted under this scheme. As far as hotel management and catering is concerned, the curriculum for under graduate courses is well equipped for skills development.

Any advice you would like to give aspiring hospitality students?

I see a huge number of hospitality graduates changing their career choices after completing this course mostly because of the pay scale and the taxing job hours. They are short on patience and expect rewards immediately. While I acknowledge these drawbacks, I feel that they must give this industry a chance to grow on them. I advise my students to stick it out for a minimum five years. To start enjoying any profession, commitment is necessary and then of course sky is the limit. We all know promotions in this industry are probably faster than any other industry. Have the right attitude and work smart – that’s the mantra for success.

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