Importance of skill training

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Importance of skill training

National missions such as Make in India are leveraging the abundant talent pool in the country, creating more scope for jobs. Skill development, particularly, has been the hot topic for public debate, focussing on its crucial role in fuelling the growth of the economy.  
Recent reports revealed that more than one lakh engineering students who graduated in 2015 are not employable. There is a major skill gap in the country as 80% of the engineering graduates are ‘unemployable’. The realisation on the importance of skill development, especially for students who are scanning the job market, is expected to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Taking into consideration the current education and job scenario, appropriate job-related skills complement a formal degree in any discipline, and increases career opportunities. The job industry too expects the prospective workforce to come prepared with specialised skills.

We have an academic-centric education model, which lays less emphasis on job skills and overall development of an individual. This is why increasing number of students are opting to enhance their hard and soft skills, to meet the industry need. Career readiness and employability skills have become an increasingly critical part of education. Employers are desperately seeking people with a combination of skills which not only covers technical or hard skills, but also includes soft skills and life skills.

At the heart of every education model is a desire to help each student be confident and proud in their accomplishments, and successful in their futures. Youth is the driving force in any economy and if trained to their full capacity, can play a vital role in growth of the country. Let us explore how skill training helps student jumpstart their career, prepping them up to be viewed as career-ready and employable.

Job opportunities
Possessing a specialised skill set increases employment opportunities. Today, even entry level roles in many industries require base level qualifications. By completing a training course, your employment opportunities become wider. Moreover, this has become a prerequisite to stand out from the crowd and meet the demands of the current highly- competitive job market.

Personal growth
Learning a new skill will broaden the opportunities, at the same time empower one as an individual. Skill training not only provides skills in a particular area, but trains students to build and enhance networking, time management, communication skills.

For any type of job, besides technical skills, employers keenly look for a distinct kind of skill in their potential employees. Whatsoever role students may be looking forward to in the organisation, possessing strong soft skills puts them a step ahead in the competition and makes them a true professional.

Employers often complain that students do not know how to effectively carry a conversation, and are unaware of the importance of making eye contact, asking questions and listening actively. Moreover, with the current prevalence of electronic devices and texting, youngsters now lack the ability to effectively communicate face-to-face. Through soft skills, students are taught on the importance of effective communication, stress management and people management skills usually associated with managing and living a better quality of life. They are taught on how to use both verbal and non-verbal communication techniques when engaged in a face-to-face conversation, thus equipping them with good communication skills that comes handy at job interviews especially.

Such work-place driven skills in a stimulated environment makes students more confident. From a social perspective, skill training has several advantages.

Less dropouts
India’s youth today is facing a serious problem in unemployment and underemployment. There are many causes for this, some of which include — dropping out of high school, needing to support one's family at an early age, lack of quality education, lack of information on the job market, and, most importantly, not possessing the basic skills required by employers today.

It would benefit students if they are encouraged to join skilling programmes. It gives them clarity about their means of livelihood, much needed confidence, and a direct career boost.

Nurturing talents
Talent is innate, but skills are acquired. Skill training focusses on identifying, training and nurturing talent, in any desired field. The social emphasis on scholastic achievement leaves little room for appreciating the diversity of talent that could make a qualitative difference to the potential of the skilled workforce. This is even more relevant in the case of artisans and craftspeople who continue their legacy, irrespective of their individual talent and capabilities.

Skilled workforce
To encourage enterprise and boost employment creation, skilling programmes are coming up with specialised courses on entrepreneurship in different sectors. Instead of training students to work under someone, these programmes focus on leadership and innovation.

Our focus on mainstream education is lopsided with no emphasis on skills that actually matter in the industry. Hence, there needs to be an ongoing process that skills workforce, while instilling confidence in them.

Only a confident and competent workforce can drive the economy successfully and meet the international standards of quality performance. To truly achieve ‘Make in India’, we need to adopt a framework that supports the holistic development of the youth and make the country the world capital of skilled workforce.

(The author is director, Rise India, Gurgaon)

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