The Indian economy is growing at a rapid pace, with an advancement of more than 7 per cent every year. Citing this growth, it is estimated that a need for almost 109 million skilled workers will be generated so as to support the 24 key sectors of the economy. According to government estimates, almost 12 million youth, between the ages of 16 to 29, enter the workforce each year. However, only 8% of these workers are considered employable, thereby creating a need for vocational training and educational programs to be able to skill this gap.
The primary objective of providing vocational training is to give students the knowledge and skills to excel in a particular job role. When this training is imparted at a school or college level, it gives students the added advantage of being job-ready when they graduate. This, in turn, ensures they bag a high-paying job immediately. Furthermore, being vocationally certified from an independent body validates one’s skills to perform in a particular profession, along with an extra edge in today’s highly competitive job market.
In order to fully understand the importance of vocational training, one must first identify the sector they want to work or be trained in. For example, a training program to upskill carpenters will not be suitable for a student who wants to work as an electrician. Therefore, the quality of a particular course can only be assessed on how well the student performs in the job post the completion of the training. This means that educators need to refine and change the curriculum with each passing year to keep up with the industry demands and the requirements of the students as opposed to archaic academic programmes that only focus on making students pass in standardised exams.
This is further validated by changing trends in the job market. There has been a major shift in the demand for, as well as the definition of both blue and white-collar jobs, which are today considered highly skilled sectors. This has, of course, led to a large number of jobs, across profiles being created in fast-growing service sectors like Banking, Healthcare, IT, Design, Hospitality among others. Notwithstanding the industry, these newly created job profiles will require employees to have strong soft skills along with an understanding of their industries to be able to perform in their roles successfully. Vocational training helps students develop important skills such as team working ability, problem-solving abilities, strong communication skills and a positive mind-set. These skills are necessary to be able to work in a service sector as it requires strong communication with clients as well as the ability to collaborate with co-workers to propel work.
Vocational training has, therefore, become extremely important, especially in India, and needs to work in tandem with the formal education so as to make students more employable. One of the key ways in which this can be done is by introducing vocational training at an early stage so as to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses and work on the same. Only by developing their student’s hard and soft skills can vocational training providers ensure they build truly employable graduates who can quickly help bridge the ever-increasing skills gap in the Indian economy.