What Press Says About Us!
They teach, advise and even set cheats right!
SHYAM MOTWANI and his son Subhash Motwani, who own & run RBCS Group, have been fighting for the cause of students for many years now. As a part of their Student Welfare Department activity, the father-son duo have been writing to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) complaining against vocational institutes advertising false claims and affiliations to foreign universities. Besides communicating with ASCI, the Motwanis have also been regularly informing these foreign universities about fake advertisements, and have been fairly successful in their endeavour.
"Though we run vocational courses ourselves, we have at no point tried to induce students into joining courses that they don't have aptitude for," says Motwani senior, explaining that "we often tell students straight away that they are not capable of achieving their desired aims, and that they should not pursue such impossible dreams. "Though the ASCI has tried its best to correct these
malpractices, one hasn't seen any great change or betterment from these institutes
themselves," Subhash says.
The Motwani success story can be related as far as 1950's when Shyam came to India as a refugee from Sind, Pakistan and began his career as a tuition teacher in 1950, graduating over years to become the Director of the one of the city's biggest, and most popular vocational institutes. " My aim was always to discover simplified teaching methods in order to train even the otherwise weak students," he says revealing that initially he would tutor school and college drop-outs, or those who had failed at their first attempts in their SSC and HSC examinations. Precisely 13 years after he started out as a private tutor, in 1963, he was approached by the Narialwala Agiary Trust to conduct classes at their
premises in Mahim. |"So I started out with vocational courses like Drawing, First Aid and training for Hindi Public examinations, which would make the students very self reliant in their careers. The one approach I have used all through my years of teaching is the 'Earn While You Learn' strategy by means of which students enrol for practical part-time courses while working in the same area, thus earning
money while learning their chosen skill. This was absolutely essential at a time when the cost of living has exceeded the income a person was earning."
Eventually his centre for learning became more popular, and Motwani introduced more courses, like Radio Repairs, Watch Repairing, and other such technical courses. In 1971, he acquired a premise in Colaba, which has become his head office, and where courses other than just technical are being taught.
"At Colaba, we began courses like Travel & Tourism, Advertising, Interior Decoration, and Secretarial courses," he says adding, "We also started an advertising agency here called Schnell Hans Advertising, and then a youth magazine called Opportunities Today".
What sets his courses distinctly apart from those of other institutes is Motwani's stress on workshop training with practical assistance from professors who are actually professionals from the industry. That, he says is what has made his institute as mammoth as it is today.
Education with a difference at RBCS
A teaching 'supermarket' not a teaching 'shop' is what they position themselves as and this is exactly what Radio Bhuvan Career Supermarket (RBCS), located next to Radio Club is all about.
Started in 1954 by Shyam Motwani, with only radio vocational courses on offer it has now expanded to four main fields of training. Probably the oldest organization in the city to recognise the need for professional courses for the youth, the Motwanis have targeted the hotel management industry, the beauty industry, fashion industry and the media.
With the entire family (father, son and daughter), all geared up to make a success of the organization, their latest offering to young professionals is a set of quality courses in ticketing and travel.
In their 50th year with jubilee celebrations coming up, they are sure that a tour company and ticketing
courses approved by Virgin Atlantic, will help Indian youth garner a fair share of jobs in this ever-growing industry.Their erstwhile students include college students, housewives and retired professionals and also some of Mumbai's celebrities as well.
Jackie Shroff aspired to be part of airline crew after his course at RBCS. "This was way before he became a hero." reveals Subhash Motwani, the director of RBCS.
So what are their courses all about? A balanced mix of practical and theory classes is what their students vouch for From working on an in-house magazine as part of the journalism course to a stint in the city's hotel kitchens for the hotel management course, they emphasize on hands on training for students.
Some of their earlier and more novel courses like automobile care for automobile owners and the initial radio courses have been done away with, on grounds of redundancy, but others like language classes and calligraphy classes are new and popular additions.
An organisation that believes in putting their cards up front and allowing students to make informed choices, it does not proffer false promises of job guarantee. Instead, it does include as part of its courses, job assistance. A student directory with the profile of each student is circulated to different organisations thus giving students a fair chance of being selected for various vacancies.
Jalpa Shah, who undertook the travel course, says it helped her to obtain a job. " I did the course while I was in college and the end of it, I got a job with the help of the Motwanis," says Shah.
Later, she joined RBCS as a trainer for a short period and is currently working with Kale Consultants. Four centres in the city at VT, Mahim, Colaba and Vile Parle and small batch sizes, provide opportunity for individual attentionand one-on-one interaction.
Manisha Mahtane took up the designing course after her school and she firmly believes that the course and her teacher helped her gauge the current market scenario, learn the basics of design and intricacies of setting up her own business.
With recognition from international bodies like IATA (International Air Transport Association) and UFTAA (United Federation of Travel Agent's Association), RBCS never compromises on quality.
Students who come all the way from Greece and the student who flies down weekly from Delhi, are just some of their satisfied applicants.
So whether it is the presenter of a film show on Star News or the director general of World Trade Center, they all have a course from RBCS under their belt.
IHCTM now Virgin Atlantic approved - Sunday Mid-Day
IHCTM (Institute of Hotel, Cargo and Tourism Management) has recently been approved by Virgin Atlantic Airways to offer IATA endorsed Air Fares and Ticketing qualifications in India for both VA-1 and VA-2 courses.
IHCTM becomes the first approved training centre in India to offer the Virgin Atlantic Airways Fares and Ticketing qualifications and the courses will commence in October.
IHCTM is currently the only approved centre to offer all the four levels of IATA/UFTAA qualifications in India as well as the Computerized Reservation System (CRS) courses in Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan from VIASINC, USA.
For details contact the course director cum chief faculty Subhash Motwani on 22853081 / 22830133 or
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Career Talk at the World Trade Centre!
Subhash began by discussing the scope of tourism industry where he shared information and statistics provided by WTO. WTTC as well as the Ministry of Tourism which clearly revealed that the tourism industry is growing inspite of adversities such as SARS, terrorism, etc. In fact, WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) has predicted over 11,093,100 jobs in India in the current year in the field of Tourism.
Subhash also highlighted emerging avenues with the growth in export, the field of Cargo and logistics as well as back office job opportunities such as Airline Call Centres and Revenue Accounting companies who recruit students in large numbers from IHCTM. The astonishing information for students was the kind of remuneration one can earn in the field of Tourism which can go as high as Rs. 300,000 per annum. The students were delighted to find out that besides traditional career options there are alternative yet lucrative non-traditional careers.
Further Subhash highlighted the significance of Local + Global careers - the smart way to go about acquiring International qualifications and yet saving significantly. Next he unveiled a unique TRAVEL PACKAGE which integrates all aspects of the travel and tourism industry viz fares & ticketing CRS as well as tourism. The package enables any career aspirant to acquire 3 international qualifications and be equipped in all aspects of tourism.
He highlighted the wide range of international qualifications at affordable fees that one can acquire in India. These included qualifications from VIASINC, City & Guilds and the IATA/UFTAA qualifications.
Subhash has completed 20 IATA qualifications and is Director cum Chief Faculty at IHCTM - the FIRST authorized training centre in the world to offer 7 IATA qualifications. Subhash explained the entire range of IATA Travel and Cargo qualifications. He stressed on the importance of the specialized Dangerous Goods qualifications which is one of the most popular courses for exciting careers in the Freight Forwarding Industry.
Subhash also made the students wary of the Mid-Year IATA event offer which was valid until 31st August 2003.
Next he touched upon a very interesting segment - CABIN CREW careers where he explained the job scenario, the eligibility criteria to apply as a flight purses or air hostess for an airline and how students should not belured by false job promises and tall claims made by some of the "fly-by-night" institutes. This information was an eye opener to many as students are carried away by advertisements claiming to offer jobs in several airlines whereas in most cases students get jobs on their merit for
Cabin Crew Careers and not due to the 100% job assistance as wrongly claimed by many institutes.
Aspirants must note that selection for cabin crew careers is strictly on merit and one has to go through a series of tests and interviews. The selection ratio at times is 50 out of 5000 candidates.
To prepare for a secure future Subhash discussed two exciting multi-skilled programmes AIRLINE MANAGEMENT and 4-in-1 Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Managment which prepares students for career opportunities in Travel, Cargo, Courier, Hospitality, Marketing as well as Cruise Companies. The 4-in programme also helps Cabin Crew aspirants to fare better in interviews as well as get openings in industry in various segments. The industry work experience serves as an advantage in selection for Cabin Crew. The session was followed by an interactive questions and answer session.
This helped students to clear all their doubts and myths about the airline, tourism and hospitality sectors. They were geared well for deciding not only the right career programme but the right kind of institute for any such careers. In a matter of about 90 minutes, this seminar sponsored by IHCTM enlightened students in an interactive and interesting way and students were delighted to know that there are institutes like IHCTM which assist and guide them in right selection of suitable careers. For
those who missed the invaluable talk by Subhash Motwani, IHCTM is going to conduct similar awareness talks at various venues in Mumbai for the month of September and students interests in availing of free career counselling can register their names by contacting (022) 22853081 or 22830133
Different Career Path - DNA Academy
Think non-traditional careers and you hit on RBCS. RBCS , an acronym for Radio Bhuvan Career Supermarket is a fifty year old organisation offering vocational courses. It's the brain child of Shyam Motwani, who felt that students need something more than the regular education to prepare them for the job market. Now, his son Subhash Motwani holds the reins of the organisation where they use a new method called "Power Learning". Power Learning simplifies the learning process by one sixteenth and RBCS claims with this, once can learn a foreign language in 15 hours.
The idea behind naming the organisation 'career supermarket' is that most education institutions treat courses as products and try to sell their courses to you, feesl Subhash Motwani. They want to achieve profits and don't care whether you have the aptitude for a course or not. At career supermarket, you have a number of options to choose from and the faculty's guidance.
Most students get into traditional courses due to herd mentality and later discover that they don't have an aptitude for it. Changing your field totally after a certain level, becomes an expensive proposition. RBCS advises students to take up part-time jobs even while at college so they can start funding at least part of their education.
RBCS believes that pursuing a short terms courses alongside graduation will hold the students in a better stead.
Our country is churning out engineering graduates by the dozen and many are unemployed or underemployed. Vocational courses are cheaper and though they start off a lower salary level, the growth is immense. Subhash Motwani informs that today, some of his students earn as much as IIT or IIM graduates. However it is important to be wary of bogus institutes which make tall claims. Students should check the institutes' background before joining and verify all the claims that the organisation makes.
Motwani warns students about the education scam - as he calls the situation today. Many institutes have come up in the last few years and there are no regulations to check whether these institutes are certified or standardised at all. One should be wary of phony institutes which claim to be associated with international brands.
A Career so high - Express Travel World
Subhash Motwani, director, Radio Bhuvan Career Supermarket (RBCS) group of institutes: IHCTM talks about travel education and the tourism industry as a whole. Neeti Mehra finds out what is in store
What changes do you anticipate in the industry in the coming years?
The travel and tourism industry will change quite drastically. Tour operators will have to reinvent themselves and look at newer avenues to expand their horizons, as a lot of non-travel related people are entering the sector, such as event management companies. They will have to look at the maximum value addition that they can give clients. The industry will have to adopt and accept these changes, and even modify their existing strategies to counter these changes. For instance, group travel will reduce drastically, and the FIT segment will see growth, the reasons being that even the first time traveller wants a different experience, and now the price difference between the two is marginal.
To survive in this scenario, what are the ideal qualities for a student to have?
Honesty and integrity are the two most important factors to make become successful in this field. Trust and confidentiality are integral qualities. For instance, an employee of a travel company should not share company ideas with another. Commitment and hard work are other key attributes, along with patience and communication skills. Soft skills are acquired both through training and experience in dealing with people. Plus, a constant need to update one's skills is required, else he will be redundant in the changing job scenario.
What are the job opportunities available for students?
The options and avenues are manifold. Earlier the options were narrowed down to just two - airline and travel agencies. Today, not only are these two options available to students, but also a wide spectrum of choices such as tourism boards, consulates, Visa Facilitiation Services (VFS) offices, cruise liners, etc. The options in related fields are immense, and within this industry, growth opportunities are also present.
The industry is seeing a high attrition rate at present. What can be done to tackle this?
The misconceptions prevalent are many. At the lower levels, employees are not paid very well, and other sectors such as BPOs offer higher salaries to freshers, who would otherwise require to undertake courses to be at par with them in respect of salary. Employers will have to rethink their approach if they want the crème de la crème in students, and have to raise the pay scales. A correct balance of job satisfaction, a little bit of socialising is necessary for growth, and the travel industry offers a good blend of this.
Companies will have to invest in its people. This, in turn, will improve the organisation's profitability, efficiency and productivity. It is important to show employees respect and keep them interested. For instance, if the top-level management of a travel company go for FAM trips, without giving an opportunity to the staff, it will lead to disillusionment. Youth today are very ambitious and there are many options available to distract them, thus it is important to keep them motivated and gain their loyalty.
Do you feel specialisation or generalisation will be the key to survive?
It is the age of specialisation. The travel industry is moving in a different direction. By 2007, e-ticketing will be mandatory and all airlines will have to implement it. Therefore, if one is merely equipped with ticketing and fares knowledge, he will be extinct. Plus we are moving towards a zero commission structure the world over. Thus creating a hue and cry over this without planning for the future will be detrimental for the survival of an agent. Students need to upgrade and equip themselves with the latest trends in the industry. Today, a traveller has access to much more information through the internet and his level of exposure is extremely high. So an agent needs to specialise on the destination, over and above bookish knowledge, which is accessible to all. Gone are the days when an agent would be a one-stop shop for the entire range of services. This is reflected in the scenario today, as many agencies are specialising in only certain destinations or in certain segments.
What courses does your institute offer?
The Institute of Hotel Cargo and Tourism Management (IHCTM) is the only center in the world authorised for seven IATA qualifications. Our institute has been in the field of vocational training since 1954.
We are offering a wide range of courses from IATA/UFTAA and IATA/ FIATA qualification, various diplomas and integrated courses. We are the only center in India authorised for four levels of IATA exams which is the IATA/UUFTA foundation, consultant, management and senior management, the latter two being the new programmes offered by the institute and deals with aspects going to be trends in the travel industry today and in the near future which has to do with special interest tours, MICE, technology, marketing and so on. In fact, we have a lot of people entering courses to get jobs at middle management levels or for growth in their careers, and they can pursue these courses simultaneously while working, and earn back a part of their course fees.
With so many institutes mushrooming around the country, what advice will you give to the students to select the right one?
There are approximately 70 per cent institutes over the country which impart suspect quality education Today, travel training institutes have franchises all over the country, but what is critical is that the quality and depth of training and knowledge application is not present. Expertise cannot be duplicated, and visiting faculty usually provide glamour, and just skim over the surface than impart value education. And with a single bad experience, students do not enrol themselves in another institute, if they drop out, finding the training unsatisfactory. Some institutes function with the sole objective of making money and compromise on training quality.
Feedback from the industry regarding institutes is critical and students should carefully research on the background and the faculty, and then arrive at a decision after speaking to the alumni and industry sources, and checking what courses are relevant and in-depth. Also, students are not aware of the wide spectrum of courses available in India. They will pursue a tourism course in Switzerland, when the same course is available in India at 1/10th of the cost, because of sheer lack of awareness. If one wants to go for higher studies abroad, they can complete their basic training in India and then go abroad for the second year training. Not only this, foreign students are coming to India to do IATA courses due to cost differentials and the high quality of training imparted.
Feedback from the industry regarding institutes is critical and students should carefully research on the background and the faculty, and then arrive at a decision after speaking to the alumni and industry sources, and checking what courses are relevant and in-depth.
Ground Realities - DNA Academy - Emerging Careers
Are you one of those who only see pilots and flight attendants as the key positions in aviation? Well, there are many more people who work to keep us in the air. Subhash Motwani explores other career avenues in the aviation industry
The recent unprecedented growth in the Indian aviation industry has resulted in many career opportunities opening up for interested aspirants. The aviation industry needs trained service technicians, traffic assistants, customer service agents, travel clerks and cargo handlers.
To combat the current competition, most airlines require and seek versatile manpower. Today, they prefer an all-rounder, who is equally conversant with passenger as well as cargo handling. New recruits taken on contract basis by airlines, have a higher probability of being absorbed on a permanent basis if they are well versed in both these areas of the airline industry.
As an aviation industry aspirant, you should weigh the pros and cons of the various training programmes that surround you. Most students prefer the more glamourous and high paying jobs like that of the cabin crew or pilot. In both these areas, there are too many people applying for a handful of vacancies, and therefore, there is a higher probability of not even being called for an interview. Recently, when a noted airline advertised for cabin crew vacancies, there were almost 50,000 applicants for 250 vacancies—a ratio of 1: 200.
Becoming a pilot requires investments of almost Rs 10 -15 lakhs, apart from the two or three years for training. Thus, the need of the hour is to capitalise on the current aviation boom rather than getting trained today. Cargo handling is one of the fastest emerging areas of employment. Mumbai and Delhi airports have already seen an exceptional growth rate of 30 per cent in cargo traffic. Hence, the demand for qualified people to handle cargo is very high.
In India, Institutes like IHCTM (Mumbai) and Speedwings (Kochi) offer the basic cargo as well as the international IATA/ FIATA qualification in dangerous goods. Your choice of a career in aviation largely depends upon the demand and supply equation—that is the industry’s demand for qualified staff visà-vis the number of candidates available for employment.
There are very few cargo training centres, which offer international quality training at a price of Rs 25,000-40,000 for a four to six month course. The trick is to get an entry either in cargo handling, courier services or even as a ground staff at the airport before you go opt for higher qualifications and specialisation. Also, many institutes in Mumbai award Airline Management Diploma programmes, which qualify you for cargo and passenger handling in eight months time.
The diploma also equips you with travel and tourism skills, thus making you eligible for a job as a customer service agent or a traffic assistant. Apart from international qualifications, the training helps you to directly pursue advance qualifications. Versatility in training is the key to success to meet the challenges of the ever-changing aviation industry.
Why I Don't Want IATA Accreditation - Express Travel & Tourism
Why I Don't Want IATA Accreditation
Subhash Motwani enumerates the advantages of being a sub agent as he rules out the option of acquiring an IATA accreditation for his newly founded travel agency.
I have been in the training industry for almost 15 years now and on the event of our parent organisation RBCS completing 50 years, I always wanted to start a travel company and decided to take the plunge this year. I started preparing a check list as to how I should go about setting a travel company. I love travelling and I have seen several of my students who learnt the ABCs of travel under me become successful travel agents and continue to grow and do well. The focus was to be on promoting leisure travel which would include offbeat destinations.
Besides the bare essentials such as staff including sales team, computer, CRS connectivity, etc one thing that was missing from my check list was seeking an IATA accreditation and howsoever big an agency it may turn out to be, I had decided that I will not look for an IATA accreditation. This may be a surprise to many as I head an institute which is authorised to teach seven different IATA qualifications - the maximum number of IATA qualifications offered by any authorised training centre anywhere in the world. And when I see the team of people who work with me, getting the minimum two candidates who should be IATA qualified should not be a serious task as in my organisation I have as many as 30 IATA certifications of which I have completed 20 of them (meaning what? elaborate a little). This does not mean that I don’t recommend an IATA qualified person. In fact it is a qualification which will hold you in good stead to compete with other IATA agents.
The travel agent has undergone a major shift from the mere ticketing agent to more service oriented marketing and areas of niche marketing.
Last year I was in London, pursuing a British Airways certified instructor course and amongst the several participants many were with a travel agency background. They told me that in the UK, British Airways offers no commissions to travel agents at all. Until the time commission was the main source of revenue for a travel agent, IATA accreditation was a must. But today there are several sources of revenue for a travel agent and this includes a management fee, a concept which has not really caught up in India but is widely practiced in the western world.
A management fee is basically a charge billed to your client for your expertise on planning an itinerary to suit his time, budget and places he intends visiting. I am sure many non IATA agents too should start working on the principle of charging a management fee; the sooner the better.
The travel industry has changed phenomenally since the last three years or so - commission capping, “no-frills” airlines, Internet selling, etc. And it will not be the survival of the fittest but the survival of the specialist which I foresee will be the key to success for any travel company. You could specialise in leisure or business travel or cater to either of the clientele. However, in each of these segments there are various other sub-segments that one can specialise in such as a particular destination or a particular kind of travel package such as promoting shopping destinations, adventure destinations, religious destinations, etc. You could also specialise only in hotel booking or rail booking or fly-n-drive packages.
Today a large number of ticket sales are done online in most countries and before it catches up in India we should all gear up to alternative sources of revenue. Coming back to our main subject of why an IATA accreditation is not as important today, well here it is - all sub-agents will agree that the travel industry is not always a level playing field. Hence, if you are trying to book a passenger on X airline and if seats aren’t available on X airline, you will try to contact another agency who enjoys a better rapport with airline X or rather gets an incentive on selling airline X and are hence given preferential seat priority. No doubt the CRS has changed all this to a great extent, but even today during the peak season, some IATA agents rule the roost with certain selective carriers. As a sub-agent, you are at an advantage of dealing with whichever agent you feel like and IATA agents will continue encouraging sub-agents as it is an extra source of revenue that they get to meet their targets without spending extra on the sales and marketing effort and if you do give business you too will enjoy most benefits that an IATA accredited agent gets.
Let us look at the three key benefits that an IATA accredited agent enjoys over a sub-agent - credit facility, stock of tickets and commissions. As a sub-agent you enjoy almost the same commission as the IATA accredited agent keeps one per cent to two per cent margin and with that the responsibility of keeping the accounting transactions, filing sales reports with the airlines, etc. Stock of tickets too has to be kept with an element of extreme security and today if a person wants to buy a ticket on a short notice, in most cases with the changed scenario, he will directly contact the airline, do online booking or surf the net to go on a site where tickets are being auctioned. He/she may not necessarily contact the travel agent. And to enjoy the credit facility, I know of several sub-agents who have established a relationship with IATA accredited agents and have received credit but have always dealt in cash as far as the client is concerned and that is one of the huge advantages. Today’s passenger is better informed and most frequent flyers are aware that all IATA accredited travel agents avail of a credit facility from the airlines and thus expect the same payment facility to be extended to them. And if you are not an IATA accredited agent, you can use it to your advantage - remember the saying - the smart one is he who creates an opportunity of a problem, and you can encash your sub-agent title to demand for immediate cash settlement and avoid the risk of closing shop in the whirlpool of credit transactions.
Service is the key and if you give high quality service and do innovative marketing you should be able to do as much and in fact more business than the IATA agent. Ask any IATA agent and you will realise that more than 30 per cent of his time is spent in recovering monies or sorting out ADMs and trying to meet deadlines with BSPs, airlines, etc. As a sub-agent you have no such hassle and you can utilise this valuable time in sales, marketing and expanding your business to take it to a new high.
There are pros and cons to anything and that holds good also in becoming an IATA accredited agent and in today’s changing scenario it is much better to work as a sub-agent, expand your business. At any given time once you have got the volumes increasing, you will have the IATA accredited agent coming to you and wanting to do business with you to meet his targets with various airlines.
Before concluding it is important to remember that you should be knowledgeable, qualified and adaptable to frequent changes and that only can help you grow and be a successful travel agent. It is important to get the right kind of qualifications which covers areas of marketing, customer service and being extremely knowledgeable about the products and services that you are offering to your customers.
About the writer: Subhash Motwani is Director of IHCTM (Institute of Hotel, Cargo and Tourism Management) which is currently the only IATA/UFTAA authorised training centre in India to offer all the four levels of the IATA/UFTAA programme. Subhash has completed 20 IATA qualifications and was one of the 14 expert trainers who was invited by IATA in 1999 to Geneva for the Pilot Testing and development of the new IATA/UFTAA programme. Subhash also is Director of COMPACT TRAVELS PVT LTD. - an organisation which explores places like never before.