The field of education has progressed phenomenally over the past few years. Earlier, the focus on vocational training was overshadowed by the formal education system. However, over the past five years, with the growing industry need for skilled manpower, the focus on vocational trainingis back. Corporates, governments and vocational training providers are working together as a three-legged stool to bridge this gap between the supply and demand for skilled manpower across various industries. The focus is to make our youth industry ready, market ready and employment ready. This has translated directly into employment opportunities for the youth citizens of our country.
Vocational education is primarily non-academic in nature and offers practical training and skills needed to pursue a desired occupation. There is a wide scope on growing importance and impact of vocational courses; a large number of students are exploring the less traditional, alternative options in the vocational space. Vocational skills can also provide students with courses directly aligned to land a job in a chosen profession or a skilled trade.
Vocational education focuses on the empowerment of the youth workforce by imparting skills that are government approved and industry ready. In order to play this important role, vocational education / skill training must be flexible, inclusive, industry aligned and creative. The government is well aware about the importance and is taking various efforts to implement structured vocational education throughout India.
Vocational education offers skilled based courses through which one gains skills and experience directly linked to a career in the future. Skill training follows a structured training program and leads to certificates, diplomas or degrees, recognised by state/central government, industry sector and is therefore very relevant in todays economy.
Different vocational institutes imparts skillbased training aligned with government and industry sector which mainly encompassesvalue-based empowering education that works to deliver employment in rural India via technical vocational education and foster micro entrepreneurship in rural India via technical vocational education.
Construction, Retail, Automobile, Fashion Designing, Electrical/ Electronic are the top 5 skills that are in high demand according to the study carried out by NSDC (National Skills Development Corporation)
All the above mentioned skills are taught as short-term or long term courses leading to a certificate or diploma respectively. Students are taught in depth about each sector to give them a holistic learning, ensuring they are job ready after the course.
Retail trade offers introduction to retail industry; Retail Store Operations, Introduction to Retail Selling, Basics of Customer Service, Merchandising and much more. Fashion Designing students learn to use tools and equipment. Basic Tailoring, Stitching, Sketching, Illustration, Embroidery and Decoration, Fashion Technology skills are offered to them. They are made aware about the fabric, colour scheme which is fundamentals of fashion designing, textile design etc.
Electrical course comprises Basic Electronic, Safety in Electrical lab, Cells and Batteries, Home Appliance Repair and Troubleshooting, Industrial Electricals, Power Transmission and Distribution, Project etc. Electronic course offers Invertor and UPS, Digital Electronics, Microprocessor Control System, Satellite and Data Communication, CCTV, Medical Electronics, Project etc. Automobile course offers Hydraulics System, Safety Systems, Car Air-Conditioning, Accident and Vehicle Inspection, immobilizer system, Assignments, Field Visit etc. Most importantly, under all the trades all students are trained with soft skills to directly face and interact with the customer, which is a key aspect in these industries.
Other skills such as Fashion Designing, Paramedical, Business Process Outsourcing and Retail are also high in demand for female workers because of the specific skillsets. The fashion industry is a huge, consistently growing sector and is expected to double in next 10 years. Worlds fashion is a female-dominated industry – women make up 68 percent of the workforce. In addition to this, women also account for 85percent of the customer base for fashion companies. There are a variety of different areas to work in the fashion industry which includes being self-employed/ freelancing, working for a retail outlet, working for a media/film/television or theatre company and apprenticeships with both designers and tailors. Similarly, a retail student with add on skillset of Fashion Designing can join a retail outlet as a Fashion Consultant.
Our education system produces graduates with very little or no job training before they enter the job market. Many graduate engineers are unfit for jobs in manufacturing sector, as they are simply not trained for such jobs in their four years of academic education. The success of any economy depends on a suite of skills that have to be brought together for growth under Agriculture, Manufacturing and Services sectors. Under the flagship initiative of prime minister Narendra Modi – ‘Make in India’ -our country is poised to become a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation. Under this initiative, 25 sectors have been identified for job creation and skill development. Automobiles, chemicals, IT and business process management (BPM) pharmaceuticals, ports, railways, roads and highways, aviation, leather, tourism and hospitality, wellness, auto components, renewable energy, biotechnology, electronics, electrical machinery, food processing, media and entertainment, mining, oil and gas, construction, defence manufacturing, space, textile and garments and thermal power.
According to a report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), it is estimated that the workforce needed in Indias booming Building, Construction and Real Estate sector is 76.5 million people; in Transportation, Logistics, Warehousing and Packaging sector its 28.4 million people; the wellness industrys needs will be 14.27 million skilled people; Retail will require 56 million skilled people and the Make In India initiative will create 100 million jobs opportunities in manufacturing. India will require nearly 120 million more workers by 2022 and equipping them with required skills would be crucial in reaping economic benefits. All these numbers indicate a huge demand for skilled manpower in India.
The government plays an important role by creating NSDC as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the role played by the industry is of driving various Sector Skills Councils (SSC). Training institutes provide students with high quality training which is delivered by industry experts following industry guidelines, helping them widen their job prospects. The NSDC has defined Qualification Packs (QPs) which certify that students who have cleared their assessment have a certain level of skill to perform a particular job role. Training institutes which are partnered with NSDC will ensure that students will meet the criteria defined by NSDC. This further means that a recruiter can be assured of the skills and expertise he is getting by hiring a student. The certificate which is given to the students would be endorsed by NSDC, established by the Govt. of India, enabling better placements for students in private and public sector undertakings all over India.
Formal education is important but skill based education is the need of the hour. An Individual should understand his/her key strengths and take up a career which he/she is passionate about and enjoys doing. Previously, there were limited career options but today the options are limitless for students to exploit. Skill development helps individuals to earn a livelihood, either through a stable income from a job or by beingself-employed.
The author is Sameer Joshi (Director and CEO of Kohinoor Technical Institute)