Dr Ismail Aby Jamal

Dr Ismail Aby Jamal
Born in Batu 10, Kg Lubok Bandan, Jementah, Segamat, Johor

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Most of the graduates of Equator Academy of Art (EAA) in Penang are snapped up by art and design companies within a month after their graduation. In fact, most of them were offered jobs even before their graduation” – That’s Employability!!!

Towards Colourful Careers

Sunday October 16, 2011

Towards colourful careers



Specialising in art, media and design, the Equator Academy of Art in Penang is fast establishing itself as a centre to groom young artists.

WITH an abundance of career opportunities in the arts, media and design sectors, those who venture into the field can be assured of a bright future.

Therefore, it is crucial that quality education is prepared for potential students who plan to embark into this thriving market.

As the only college in the northern region specialising in the art, media and design disciplines, the Equator Academy of Art (EAA) in Penang is definitely in a class of its own, says its founder and principal Datuk Chuah Kooi Yong.

Starting with only seven students when it was first established in 1987, Chuah says the homegrown college is quickly establishing itself as a landmark learning centre for young artists.

But when the college was founded, Chuah says, there was a stigma among parents that an education in the arts will not guarantee a successful future for their children.

“The stigma that the parents have is now long gone as they have seen for themselves the abundance of career opportunities available in this field,” he says.

Chuah giving his feedback on dresses designed by students of the college’s fashion department. — GARY CHEN/ The Star

Nurturing talent

Potential students need not come to the college already an artist. Although a background in art is helpful, a more important criteria is passion, says Chuah who is an illustrious artist in water painting himself.

“Passion is something we emphasise. Even if the students who come here have no strong basics in art, we will accept them as long as they have the passion and interest in the field,” he says.

For Chuah, it is pointless to take in students who do not have a genuine interest in art.

“The difference can be seen clearly from the first few months as the students with a passion for art would catch up faster compared to those with absolutely no interest in the subject,” he says.

However, he adds that both discipline and dedication are needed as well if students want to go further.

“If they are hardworking enough, there is definitely a place for them in this prospering industry,” he says.

Chuah adds that EAA has an excellent track record of graduate employability.

“Most of our graduates are snapped up by art and design companies within a month after their graduation.

“In fact, most of them were offered jobs even before their graduation.”

Keeping up to date

According to Chuah, this is due to the fact that a high emphasis is placed on hands-on training to equip students with the much needed practical experience to enhance their marketable skills.

The college’s educators, consisting of more than 30 qualified and experienced local and foreign lecturers, are well-equipped in providing the students with the best training before their entry into the industry.

“In this industry, it is vital for the students to gain valuable hands-on experience rather than only being exposed to theory based learning,” says Chuah, adding that the syllabus taught is updated regularly according to current industry trends to ensure it remains relevant.

Other than keeping up-to-date with the industry, Chuah says the college also gets regular feedback from companies who employ its graduates.

“Feedback from the industry players are important to make sure that the training we offer to the students caters to the need of the industry,” he adds.

Chuah attributes the success that EAA has achieved to the focused effort that they put in the field of art, media and design.

“While many colleges are focused on giving students the widest possible choice of subjects, our college only specialises in art, media and design and has become synonymous with excellence in these areas,” he says.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, the college has built a positive reputation by winning various awards and competitions over the years.

“This shows that the effort our lecturers put in educating students has paid off,” says Chuah.

EAA’s most recent victory came from one of their lecturers Jason Chuah and students Lim Ee-Wei and Faril Izzadi, who won prizes in the Penang Open e-Creative Challenge organised by the Penang Development Corporation and MDeC, which was held in December last year.

Ee-Wei and Faril are Diploma in Digital 3D Animation students. It is the latest programme to be offered by the college which uses the Autodesk Maya software.

The syllabus covers the fundamentals of animation from the basic techniques of 2D animation to the riveting images of 3D animation.

Chuah says graduates can continue to build successful careers both locally and on the global front.

“The college is training local talents to tap into this flourishing market,” he says.

He adds that the diploma would open up a world of career opportunities such as character designer, 3D modeller, texture artist, animator, videographer, illustrator and computer-generated imagery (CGI) artist.

Other programmes offered at EAA are Certificate in Art and Design and full-time diploma programmes in Graphic and Multimedia Design, Interior Design, Architectural Technology, Fashion Design Technology and Fine Art, all of which are fully recognised and approved by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).

The Equator Academy of Art is a contributor to the Star Education Fund.


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