Are students mindful of job roles?

Future-ready Introduction of practical and technical programmes in educational institutions creates wide career prospects for students.

The country over the past one and a half decades has seen drastic changes in the job scenario due to evolving technologies. It is one of the few countries in the world where the working age population will be far in excess of those dependent on them and, as per the World Bank, this will continue for at least three decades from now. This has increasingly been recognised as a potential source for the growth of the economy, provided we are able to equip and continuously upgrade the skills of the population in the working age group. In recognition of this need, the government of India has adopted skill development as a national priority.

Roadblocks

Skill development programmes in India are not up to the required standard. India faces a very unique paradox. A recent survey indicated that 75% of Indian engineers are unemployed. On the other hand, you can’t find a plumber who can fix your sink.

The roadblocks being faced by the youth today in terms of skill development are that we have only managed to focus on the supply side of things rather than the demand side, an outdated curriculum that is a knowledge-based education rather than a skill-based one. As a society, we have low social acceptance of vocational training, delays in channelising funds for skill development, little standardisation and credibility of certification. Moreover, employers are looking for specific skills among the youth. As a result, we are basically living in a world where we have more doctors but less number of skilled nurses and support staff. We are constantly focusing on achieving formal education and often neglecting of having skilled workers.

The governmental policies from the beginning have been directed towards creating infrastructure, sourcing and distribution of funding, framing of the curriculum and so on. However, we have failed to take cognizance of the ground reality.

We need to start incorporating more of skill-based education in schools and colleges wherein more young people are given opportunities to do skill-based work in sectors like automobile and healthcare.

As sectors like healthcare, automobile and aviation are undergoing a major transition, employers are looking for skilled workers who have more practical and technical knowledge than conventional theory-based knowledge.

Almost 30% of the young demographic are unemployed even after attaining the necessary qualifications as they are unable to perform on the job due to poor practical and technical knowledge. In a few years, job profiles in all these sectors will undergo a transition where a person may have to single-handedly take up two roles together.

For example, in auto industry, an auto technician might also be required to take on the role of a sales representative. One has to have a holistic approach towards changing the current educational curriculum. We know that a skill-based education is necessary for the youth and their growth in the future as it has the potential to make India, a global capital for human resource. In the current scenario, there are jobs available; with the benefit of a huge and dynamic young demographic dividend, we need to focus on making our youth employable rather than focusing on employment creation.

With constant research on the changing industry standards and the rapid advancement of technology, one has to create curriculums for students based on the skills that employers are looking for. Creation of skill-based courses will make students employable as well as make them efficient to start something on their own and become creators of jobs than being job seekers.

Role of colleges

Academic institutes need to have a 360-degree approach when it comes to equipping their students with skill-based knowledge that would ensure they are fully job-ready for whichever sector they apply to.

Firstly, there is a need to upgrade basic infrastructure through innovative tools and equipment during classroom training. For instance, to take blood samples, a nurse is likely to use a needle, a practice which is prevalent in major parts of the country.
However, training students to use needle-free devices to take blood samples will make them future-ready and reduce the risk of needle-related injuries on a daily basis.

Secondly, academic institutes need to emphasise on-the-job training sessions where students will be able to understand the work environment, deadlines, skills required, thus ensuring they are job-ready. Lastly, academic institutes need to ensure that the curriculum they offer to students is developed in consultation with industry stakeholders.

Institutes can do this by conducting research on the current requirements in the job market and engaging industry experts to conduct classes for students through which they are able to give actual industry insights to students.

Hence, a collaborative effort between industry stakeholders and policymakers is the need of the hour to enable youngsters to explore their true potential through skill education.

(The author is with CEDP Skill Institute, Mumbai)

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Are students mindful of job roles?

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