A Glimpse Into The World Of Alternate Careers: The Hows And The Whys

Posted on December 17, 2010 in Alternative Careers

By Shray Mishra:

Indians from colonial times have had a fascination for these jobs: Engineering, Medicine, Government jobs. IT is another additionto this list of most wanted jobs. Students nowadays spend a lot of time starting as early as classes VIII and IX standards to get into the highly competitive world of engineering, medicine and IT.

India has been producing some of the greatest minds in the fields of engineering, medicine and IT. Ironically, the other jobs which complete an economy have been lying neglected for a long time. “The lack of interest given to vocational jobs has lead to a situation where there is a pile up of people in the non-vocational job sector but there are no job openings available for them and thus they remain unemployed.” says Mrs. Sudha, a job consultant. “On the other hand there are many vocational jobs where there is a need for trained employees. The pay at first may not be great but experienced specialists in such fields are highly sought and get paid in the same way as the other white-collared jobs.” she adds.

Many people blame the education system for not promoting vocational jobs, but the truth is that there are many courses available across various boards which give students vocational skills. But it is true that the number of schools conducting these courses is minimal; according to the statistics of various boards, less than 2% of all the schools in India provide vocational training. When contacted, the principal of a school in Chennai said, “Why should we have vocational training when the parents don’t demand for it? The mentioned courses need equipment and it would be a waste of money if we had to buy and maintain them without any students taking up those courses.”

The problem lies in the minds of most people in India. The returns that a student can give after he/she gets a job are taken as the most important factor. Getting a high pay from the first month of getting a job is preferred rather than letting the student start at the basics and go through the ranks to the top. The problem with this mindset is that it is not so easy to fulfil, these high paying jobs are limited in number and the competition is tough, so majority of aspirants for these jobs become unemployed. Their limited skills created by rigid teaching, means that they are not flexible enough to adjust to another work environment. People usually don’t understand this.

Vocational studies on the other hand can teach a person various factors involved in the same process. For example, a car mechanic can be a specialist of the engine, while another mechanic can be a suspension specialist but as their course teaches them about every part of the car, they can switch roles too. “The practical knowledge given to us means that we can learn other features of the same machine by ourselves, helping us expand our skills”, says Ashok, a student of the Vocational Training Institute, Thrissur, Kerala. This ensures their survivability in this cut-throat world.

Mr. Nagaraju, the Regional Director of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), one of the boards which provides vocational courses, agrees that vocational training is important, “The parents should realise that students should be left to make their own choices. We can’t force anyone to take vocational courses but it should be automatically realised that vocational jobs can give returns in terms monetary gains and can be fun to do at the same time, something which most white-collar jobs can’t claim to do.” It is time we paid more attention to courses of study other than the usual ‘streams’. This will certainly be a step towards better growth of the economy and the country as a whole.

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