Vocational education: route to success

Fill In The Blanks: Skills acquired at training institutes are seen as a way to bridge the gap between manpower needed and that which is available

Vocational education: route to success

It has showcased impressive achievements globally in these sectors by churning out lakhs of engineers and professionals with right skill sets. India Inc is shining on the global map. A huge work force of talented engineers and graduates are serving various industry sectors the world over. But the micro economy in India, with millions of small scale industries in the unorganised sector, is the worst hit due to lack of skilled talent.

While the organised sector is enjoying all the benefits and making remarkable growth, much needs to be done to uplift and meet the demands of the unorganised sector in the country. Given the vast size of India’s informal workforce, there is huge shortage of skilled talent. The supply far exceeds the demand.

A mere diploma certificate, graduation or a post graduate degree is not sufficient in today’s complex economy. To identify itself as a knowledge-based economy, India should bridge the gap in fulfilling the requirements of skilled workforce in the emerging services sector.

How can the skill gap be bridged? Vocational education seems to be the right answer. It has been observed that the Indian education system has been giving less importance to vocational education and in gfact, even the students have been looking down upon it. As a result, there is a mismatch between the skilled manpower required and skilled manpower available. According to a survey, 72 per cent of our population is under the age of 35 and it is estimated that 300 million people between the ages of 18 and 50 seek employment of some form. While 57 per cent are unemployable, 46 million are registered with employment exchanges with little hope of finding a suitable job.

Vocational education has suddenly become the buzzword in many developed and developing countries to realistically address the need of skill shortage. A majority of the youth passing out from our universities and colleges do not have the specific skill sets required by various sectors in the market. Vocational education is surely going to be an enabler to help India shine in the unorganised sector. But the onus lies on the government to make strong efforts in recognising the importance of vocational education in India and to see to it that students enrol in more numbers to vocational training institutes.  In India, vocational education is being offered by industrial training institutes and polytechnics. In addition, a couple of private institutes too are offering specialised courses to meet the industry requirements.

Realising the need for informal skilled work force in the country, many private institutes are offering vocational training with accreditation from recognised industry bodies resulting in empowering employment. These institutes also assure better placements for their students. VOCAD is one such institution which provides corporates and businesses a one-stop manpower solutions for front end.

A joint initiative of Collabrant Group and STRiVE (an incubation of and IFMR Trust), VOCAD’s mission is to bridge the gap between rural, semi urban and the urban areas through vocational education. The objective of this multibrand educational institute is to bridge the skill gap and provide trained manpower to various emerging service sectors in India Inc. and strive towards the development of skilled manpower for diversified sector through short term, structured job oriented courses.

VOCAD will put up over 600 centres in every district HQ of the country offering courses in the service sector verticals of lifestyle, telecom, hospitality, healthcare, travel, consumer durables, food & grocery, entrepreneurship management, banking, securities, insurance, mutual funds, basic accounting, basic commerce, BPO, construction management, auto mechanics, DTH, beauty etc. They have launched eight centres as of now all over India.
In today’s competitive environment, its just not enough to be skilled. However, India’s formal vocational training system creates minimum educational prerequisites.

The government of India in recent years has laid a lot of emphasis on streamlining vocational education so that it fulfils the emerging need of the market by focusing on employability skills. Hardly 1.5 to 2 million students have registered for vocational education and training in India. In his recent Budget speech, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “The demographic advantage India has in terms of a large percentage of young population needs to be converted into a dynamic economic advantage by providing them the right education and skills.

 The provision for the scheme, ‘Mission in Education through ICT,’  has been substantially increased to Rs 900 crore.  Similarly, the provision for setting up and up-gradation of polytechnics under the Skill Development Mission has been increased to Rs 495 crore. “

Worldwide shortage
There is a worldwide shortage of skilled manpower. By providing the right impetus to increase the number of vocational training centres in the country, India can develop a skilled talent pool which will not only meet the demands of the emerging services market in India but in other countries as well.

Vocational training centres will strive towards the development of skilled manpower for diversified sectors through structured job oriented short term courses. In India, vocational training is broadly referred to certificate level crafts training and is open to students, who leave school after 10th or 12th standards. Studies have proved that that the majority of workers in the unorganised economy of India have never been to vocational training institution.

Germany is a best example for vocational training. You will be surprised to note that universities are empty in Germany. As students are aware that there is no job guarantee after a university degree, a majority of them join vocational training courses.

No doubt India and India Inc requires graduates from IITs and IIMs. At the same time there is a real need for strengthening the primary and secondary education, and set up more vocational education and training centres in the country.

Unlike the university degrees, which does not assure employment after college, a vocational education and training centres prepare the youth for life and is sure of solving the problem of unemployment to a great extent.

The writer is the MD of Vocational Academy. 

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