Footwear, like clothes, has emerged as a significant facet of one's personality which sometimes, tells the observer things that even you might not be knowing about yourself. Earlier, a career in footwear designing and technology was unheard of. The forte of making shoes and other footwear rested with the unorganized traditional sector. There was very little awareness and
Footwear was considered a mere necessity. But the trend has changed in the past decade boding well for the industry as well as people at large. In fact, India ranks second only to China among the footwear- producing countries. With more and more importance being given to accessories, the Indian footwear industry is undergoing a boom and is poised to grow at a whopping annual rate of 20-30% in the next couple of years. With the industry at such a high, it is but obvious that the demand for skilled professionals is bound to go up at a good pace over the years to come.
A normal footwear industry can be divided into three basic departments- design, manufacture and marketing. Footwear designing involves creating new patterns and designs keeping in mind the changing needs and tastes of clients and customers. In other industries there is a huge scope of altering the finished products to suit the consumer needs. But footwear stands out as an exception to this rule, because it is something that needs to fit the consumer properly, so that there is no scope for alteration. Thus, precision is the key. And to be able to do so, one needs all the basic requirements of a designer. To be able to think spatially, have creative bent of mind and to be able to bring about a harmony between the aesthetics and utility are just a few of the prerequisites for footwear designer.
One can opt for a course in footwear technology or design after 10+2, though some certificate and short- term courses require only a class X pass. Science graduates and those with experience or training can make a foray into management & supervision.
Leather industry is one of the most valuable industries in the country and footwear industry is an important part of it as far as value and volume of international trade is concerned. Also, the availability of sufficient raw material combined with huge domestic market and the opportunity to cater to the world market make footwear highly attractive area for technology and investment. The idea of adding value to the footwear industry gained currency in the 1960s. Though skilled domestic work force was available but due to lack of proper training and education, there was shortage of managerial and supervisory staff with technical qualifications. Therefore, the Government of India, in order to provide, training to young and technically sound personnel for the footwear industry and to upgrade the knowledge and skill of the existing staff, established the Central Footwear Training Center, Agra (U.P.) in 1963. Another significant event was the establishment of Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), NOIDA (U.P.) under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce, Government of India in 1986.
The existing between the footwear design and development was bridged. It is to the credit of FDDI, that the courses offered by the institute are of international standard.
The United Nations Development Programme has aided the institute with several faculty having been trained abroad, through the National Leather Development Programme (NLDP).
Admission to FDDI is based on entrance examination consisting of a written examination consisting of a written test, group discussion and personal interview. On the basis of the results of the written test an all- India merit list is prepared and the short- listed candidates are called for Group Discussion (50 marks) and personal interview (100 marks). It is very important to note that GD and written test are conducted only in English. The written test for postgraduate diploma (PGD) consists of 200 marks with 30 percent weightage to Mathematics, 25 percent to English and 20 percent to General Knowledge questions.
For Diploma in Footwear Technology programme, the written test again consists of 200 mark but weightages vary slightly- Mathematics, (25%), Reasoning (25%), English (30%) and General Knowledge (20%).
After completing your PGD in Footwear Technology and Management programme, you get a job as management trainee, assistant manager or manager in various departments in production and product development, planning, purchase, sales, marketing, merchandising, material sourcing and coordinators. These jobs are generally available in export houses or international buying houses. The programme is aimed at creating professionals who can become designers, merchandisers, footwear technologists in departments like cutting, stitching, finishing, components, lasting quality control, sales and marketing,
Shop floor supervision, purchase, product development, etc. Leather footwear designers are responsible for developing, innovative market- leading products and maintaining fashion- forward trends to establish profitability.
Regular employment for footwear professionals is available with large companies like Reebok, Adidas, Nike, Bata, Liberty, Lakhani, Tata, Mirza, Bawa, Drish, Lee Cooper, etc. Major production centers are located in various cities in Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Kanpur, Jalandhar, Agra and Delhi. You can also start business on your own.
Most footwear designers can earn anywhere beginning with Rs. 10,000, though it depends upon various factors including the individual skills and knowledge. Supervisors can start with a salary of Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 7,500, while the managers can earn in the range of Rs. 6,500-9,000 per month.
With the Indian population being more than 100 crore, the total size of the footwear market is estimated to be 80 million pairs. Further, the footwear export industry is also kicking up and is expected to reach a total of 400 million pairs a year in the next five years. The investment cost being low, thanks to cheap labour and raw material in the country, a number of private units are also being set up. As a result, the scope for interested people will increase like anything in future.
" The Central Footwear Training Institute, C- 41/42, Site- C, Industrial Area, Sikandara, Agra (U.P)- 282007
Course: Two- year Diploma in Footwear Design and Production after 10+2; Age: 17- 25 years.
" Footwear Design and Development Institute, A-10/ A, Sector- 24, NOIDA (U.P.)- 201301
Course: Two- year Postgraduate Diploma in Footwear Technology and Management after graduation or equivalent with 50% percent marks; Three- year Diploma in Footwear Technology after 10+2.
" National Institute of Fashion Technology, Campus, Old Mahabalipuram Road, Taramani, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)- 600113
Course: Four- year undergraduate programme in design with specialization in footwear and leatber products.
" Central Footwear Training Institute, 65/1, GST Road, Guindy, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)- 600032.
Course: One year PG Diploma in Footwear Technology after any degree; Diploma in any discipline; Certificate in Footwear Technology after class X or fail.
" Central Leather Research Institute, Adyar, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)- 600020
Course: 26 weeks cerficate in leather footwear after 10+2 with 50 percent marks offered at the Indian Institute of Leather Products, 102, Mangalepuram, SI& Co Industrial Estate, Ambattur, Chennai- 600098 as well.