No aptitude for engineering, medicine? Vocational education could be your answer

Focusing on delivering quality vocational education to students can help India leverage its demographic dividend
Accounting and secretarial courses, medical lab techniques... there are hundreds of options for vocational training which can lead to satisfying careers(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Accounting and secretarial courses, medical lab techniques... there are hundreds of options for vocational training which can lead to satisfying careers(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Published on Nov 18, 2017 07:16 PM IST
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ByMonica Malhotra Kandhari

The overwhelming focus on engineering and medicine in India as career options has contributed to reliance on rote learning and led to increasing competition for limited seats. While it is a given fact that all students cannot opt for engineering or medicine, the system of rote learning has a negative impact on the quality of education in the country.

A huge supply of largely young and educated population of working age is often cited as the bedrock of India’s demographic dividend. When most of the global economies are saddled with a limited supply of young people to replace the ageing workforce, India is blessed with a young demographic to power its growth agenda and is perfectly poised to become the global supplier of workforce.

However, the current state of affairs in the system will not allow India to leverage this demographic dividend positively. We are grappling with unemployment on the one hand while on the other corporate houses and industries are facing a shortage of suitable candidates to fill available vacancies. Moreover there are reports suggesting that a majority of graduating students from the country are just not employable.

While there may be various viable solutions to problems related both to the education system and employability of graduates, focusing on delivering quality vocational education to students can go a long way in addressing both the stated concerns and help students carve out a career for themselves.

Let us list out some of the most popular as well as relatively unknown yet promising vocational courses for students.

Commerce based courses

1.Office secretaryship

2.Stenography and computer applications

3.Accountancy and auditing

4.Marketing and salesmanship



7.Financial market management

8.Business administration

These commerce based vocational courses help one develop professional skills and proficiency to work in modern day offices. Accountancy and auditing for example are specialised courses that will help students develop capabilities in identifying business opportunities, risk assessment, and familiarise them with business processes. These courses will enable students to gain meaningful employment not only in offices, banks and retail set-ups, but will also equip them with the necessary knowledge to start their own enterprises.

Engineering based courses

9.Electrical technology

10.Automobile technology

11.Civil engineering

12.Air conditioning and refrigeration technology

13.Electronics technology

14.Geospatial technology


16.IT application

Engineering based vocational courses offer relevant, appropriate, and adequate technical knowledge together with professional skills and competencies to students. While these courses are quite self-sufficient in terms of knowledge and skill proficiency for jobs in related fields they can also be stepping stones to further specialisation in selected fields.

Heath and paramedical based courses

17.Ophthalmic techniques

18.Medical laboratory techniques

19.Auxiliary nursing and midwifery

20.X-ray technician

21.Health care sciences

22.Health and beauty studies

23.Medical diagnostics

Health delivery systems rely on a host of supporting services and vocational courses equip students with the skills to work as technicians in laboratories and diagnostic centres or to perform other critical tasks in the health care system.

Home science based courses

24.Fashion design and clothing construction

25.Textile design

26.Design fundamental

27.Music technical production

28.Beauty services

A course in fashion and textiles, music and beauty services is ideal for enterprising students who wish to set up their own operations. These are niche skills for which there is great demand in the relevant industry.

Hospitality and tourism based courses

29.Food production

30.Food and beverage services

31.Mass media studies and media production

32.Bakery and confectionery

33.Front office

34.Travel and tourism

Students can choose from a course as per their interest area or chosen career field. The skills and competencies acquired through any of these vocational courses will set students on the path of gainful employment in hotels, confectioners, and bakeries in the formal sector or they can utilise their skills to strike out on their own.

Besides the listed vocational courses, there are a host of other courses such as in transportation and logistics management, library sciences, horticulture and animal husbandry etc that impart practical and relevant skills that make one employable.

The author is MD of the MBD group

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