Vocational training, livelihood skill can help youth carve a successful career
Board exam results have been announced and there’s a frenzied atmosphere around university and college campuses all around the country.The time has come for this generation to earnestly evaluate vocational education and apprenticeship as serious career paths. It is unfortunate that there seems to be a stigma attached to this line of learning; that of lack of dignity of labour. .
The time has come for this generation to earnestly evaluate vocational education and apprenticeship as serious career paths. It is unfortunate that there seems to be a stigma attached to this line of learning; that of lack of dignity of labour.
However, in the words of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, “targets of the Skill India initiative is that we need to formalise the informally self-learned sector”.
Have no doubt that there exists a self-learning sector which is capable of producing entrepreneurs, even pioneers and inventors. A little open-mindedness and acceptability of this alternate form of education can surely accrue numerous benefits for the society.
By 2020, more than 60 per cent of the country’s population will fall into the highly productive age group of 18-45 years. A research by Boston Consulting Group has estimated that by the said period, India will have a surplus of around 47 million of the active population.
Simply said, this means that we will have a remarkable 60 per cent of total population available for working and contributing towards GDP, but out of this total pool, only 25 per cent is likely to find employment in the job market.
What, then, does India have to do, to give a facelift to its skills landscape?
Research has shown that it is a nation’s success or failure in realizing the economic potential of youth during this ‘low dependency ratio’ period that can make a detrimental difference between sustained and faltering long-term development. Skill upgrade can no longer be ignored if we want to reap the demographic dividend of having a very young working population.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while choosing the lines of learning in the near future. You will see the following changes happen in the next 5-10 years horizon:
* Espouse that online is the way ahead for business; private, public and government.
* More and more, learning systems will move from classroom-based instruction model to collaborative learning ecosystems with a fair bit being hands-on training. Industry bodies such as NASSCOM, FICCI, etc. are already working on creating such platforms across industries. This will be the future of learning, at least in the short term.
* Educational institutes need to take the lead on this and develop tailor-made courses for students to enhance and inspire creativity in them. Learning has to move from rote and bookish to a competency-based dynamic approach
* For the youth: develop an attitude to never stop learning! We witness evolution in business every couple of years or so. The only way to not become redundant is to constantly learn and reinvent yourselves.
* As you focus on the career-oriented excellence, do remember to not skip out on the overall employability goals such as the ability to think critically and laterally, interpersonal skills, communication skills and develop a persona that makes you employable anywhere in the world.
* There are a number of vocational training courses and internships on offer from various sectors and government ministries for the youth from the age of 14 onwards. Get off those gadgets and enrol in these programs to get a feel and experience of opportunities that are available. Not everyone needs to become an engineer or a business consultant; some of you will excel as entrepreneurs too. Did you know that there are some other 20 central ministries and departments which are running some Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) programs?
* A number of polytechnics offer courses in disciplines such as electronics, computer science, medical lab technology, hospital engineering, architectural assistantship, to name a few. There are also technology institutions where you can get yourself diplomas in leather technology, sugar technology, printing technology, etc. Some of these programs are accessible after Class 10 itself, making you employable by the time you are 19 years old.
According to several research reports, there would be a huge demand-supply gap amongst the core professions and the figure is only going high. For example, IT and manufacturing industries are likely to face a shortage of right skilled workers. A similar fate can be predicted for almost all the other primary sectors.
The demand for skilled workforce will not only be restricted to traditional sectors like automobile and BFSI but also include sunrise sectors such as renewable energy. Construction and manufacturing are just some of the large-scale sectors where there is an alarming shortage of skilled labour.
Till some years back, construction companies were forced to import labour from China in order to complete the planned projects. Since then, the skilled labour shortage continues to surge.
In short, while our market and economy grow and create an increasing number of jobs which require skilled and trained manpower, a huge scarcity of these kinds of resource is what we will be faced with.
The vocational education space is undergoing tremendous changes owing to the growing technological advances that are transforming the global economic and business environment. Ever growing number of smartphone users owing to the increasing mobile penetration in the country has come as a blessing in disguise for the industry.
This has further pushed the growth of ed-tech (education technology), helping the cause of skill development through the development of mobile training apps.
These players have come a long way and also evolved their strategy to widen their scope of operations and focus on technical courses and vocational education.
The advent of these vocational training courses like tower technician, domestic biometric data operator, GST accounts assistant, store ops assistant, CCTV installation technician are adding to the skills of youth to help them carve out a successful career.
(Bahl is the chief executive and managing director of Centum Learning. Views expressed here are personal.)