Need for vocational focus

Need for vocational focus

Overshadowing the problem of unemployment, however, is that of a skills mismatch - the predicament of not being able to find the right candidate for the right job.

Soon after high school, most students are unsure about the direction they would like to take. Many of them end up pursuing what their parents force upon them, or display a herd mentality in their choices, going with what is currently popular among their peers. Not many have the determination and drive to follow their dreams, especially if it involves bucking current trends. The result often is that the individual gets trapped in the wrong job, a situation that does not bode well for either the employee or the employer. The mismatch between skills and interests, on the one hand, and job requirements, on the other, leads to reduced productivity and diminished growth opportunities for the employee.

On the whole, the Indian educational system is sound and has its fundamentals in place. However, once they emerge from it, students are often confused and unaware of all the career options available to them. The majority of graduates would be much better off if they would simply avail of assessment facilities and vocational courses in order to hone their skills and and boost their job preparedness.

The key question now is: how do we determine the right career options for us? How do we assess an individual’s strengths and capabilities and match them with the right kinds of jobs?

To establish this, we first need to identify our areas of interest. Students can use assessment tests to guide them towards careers that are in line with their skill sets and personalities. Thereafter, some research into the jobs available in that sector is likely to uncover suitable opportunities for them.

Let us take a look at a few career options, and the skill sets associated with them:

Retail Industry: The explosive growth in the retail industry in India has made it a key contributor to the GDP. With international giants entering the Indian market, plenty of opportunities have opened up in this sector. Sales Associates, Customer Service Representatives, Store Managers - these are some of the positions available in this sector. The basic elements required for success in these roles are a knack for active listening and effective communication, along with good interpersonal skills. Courses in this area cover Retail Service, Operation and Management.

Finance: The Finance field extends beyond the realm of chartered accountants and financial analysts. Other opportunities exist in business accounting, export-import, and investment management. Many institutes offer specialised courses in these areas that are designed to leverage specific skills.

InfoTech: India is emerging as the fastest growing IT hub in the world. Technology has successfully worked its way into every home and company in the world. Courses are available for different roles in the value chain, be it system analysts or specialists. One can explore data warehousing, technology support, e-commerce, website designing - the options are endless and salaries, dictated by multi-nationals, are generous. With opportunities created by global off shoring and domestic demand, this sector definitely holds a lot of promise for job-seekers.

Hospitality: If you thought Hospitality was only about cooking, think again! The opportunities in hospitality span housekeeping, front desk management, corporate sales, chef responsibilities, and many others. It even includes such niche areas as kitchen design to optimise efficiency and productivity. A college or vocational course in Hospitality is an excellent choice. Certificate courses are provided by many institutes. Various vocational courses are also available for bartenders, waiters, et al.

Arts: This field allows you to pursue your hobbies and interests and create a career in the same. One can be an artist seeking a market for his or her creativity or a dancer running a successful dance school. Playback singing, choreography, music instruction - these are creative careers with a lot of potential. Apart from providing the satisfaction of artistic expression, these jobs allow creative work to be recognised and rewarded.

These are only a few options available in the list of opportunities. One requires determination to take the step towards finding a perfect career.

(The writer is CEO & Director, Indian Institute of Job Training)

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