Vocational training is the new solution on the horizon for curing unemployment and addressing the problem of skill shortage constraining various industries.
The process of training and grooming young talent for filling various jobs has multi-pronged benefits for all stakeholders in the social and economic sectors.
For youngsters, adults and neo graduates entering the job market workplace performance and career growth are big challenges. Any wrong start can prove costly.
Vocational training programs offered by state agencies, industries associations or companies are remedying the problem of employability and making education more goal-oriented to fit into various workplace roles and functions. Else, the situation will be akin to putting a cart before the horse.
Vocational training centres help in bridging the skills gap between work and education as students assimilate more practical experience using the right tools and acclimatisation to potential work environments.
The exposure to work situations previously under expert trainers breeds all the employability skills in advance.
For enhancing employability skills, the first step must be enrolling for vocational learning opportunities that teach skills, techniques and strategies to work and succeed.
Employers also feel jubilant that the candidates they hired are rich in experience and will work right away.
According to studies, the ‘earnings premium’ of university education has gone. This is evident from the huge under-employment and under-utilisation of graduates. According to reports, at least one-fourth of graduates are working in jobs that do not require any degree.
The issue of university education not making the required preparedness for real-world opportunities compared to students in vocational education is leading to new initiatives.
Industry sectors such as technology, health care, and businesses like insurance are facing a talent crunch. To address the manpower crunch with the suitable skill set tech major IBM started a paid training program waiving the requirement of degree as an entry-level qualification for creating a well-skilled talent pool. It evoked good response and the training is delivering highly productive manpower.
According to data, this trend is catching up everywhere in the U.S. Data suggests at least one among 300 workers have undergone a formal on-the-job training program. But that volume still lags behind such vibrant programs in Western Europe.
This problem has been well commented on by Bryan Caplan, economics professor and author of “The Case Against Education.”
Caplan notes education has not been fostering useful job skills and is only helping many people to show off their academic qualifications.
Vocational training instills practical experience in chosen career fields when a graduate gets ready for a job. Students undergoing such programs will earn the suitable credentials to get started in the chosen field without any inhibitions or self-doubt.
Not only do students feel confident, employers too feel happy for a good choice of recruits who can excel fast in the required roles.
The key positives about vocational learning are that it boosts not only skills but also enhances employability. It bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge vs. practical skills.
In contrast, in non-vocational settings students spend more hours scouring books in the library or browsing computers for writing papers adding to their theoretical knowledge.
In vocational training, participants get exposed to highly specialized equipment that builds confidence in handling them for actual situations. Those groomed from vocational training sessions shine well in the workplace as previous expertise makes them valuable and the career journey gets a good start.
When employers look for new talent they want someone who has the skills to adapt quickly to the work environment. Businesses also spend significant money for hiring new employees and a long learning curve will frustrate them.
An admirable vocational training model can be seen in Switzerland with its highly valued vocational education and training (VET) that is held in equal esteem with academic education.
In tackling skill shortage there is no better model than the Swiss program that addresses employment problems as well employability challenges.
In many OECD countries, low levels of unemployment are creditable achievements but productivity and wage growth need more growth and in-work deprivation also needs attention. A greater degree of vocational training can resolve most of these challenges.
Switzerland despite its small size has become an economic powerhouse. In the Global Innovation Index and Human Capital index of the World Economic Forum’s the small country is in top ranks with its liberal and inclusive economy.
Switzerland’s vocational education and skills system are key drivers of its economic success with a critical role in preparing people for work and sustained care throughout their working lives.
In Switzerland, two-thirds of people take the vocational route, by the age of 15 or 16, and signing a 3 to 4-year apprenticeship contract is common. The aim is not just a bunch of technical skills but a total expansion of capacities as active citizens.
In Switzerland, 40 percent of companies offer at least one apprenticeship. This has helped lowered unemployment rates and aided a high standard of living.
The Swiss system is marked by the wealth of opportunities for trained youth and adults irrespective of circumstances. This contrasts with youngsters chasing graduate degrees and heading to dead-end choices and drop out inflicting a scarring effect on adult working lives.
The permeability of Switzerland education and training is commendable in making young men pursue a vocational course as a starter then enrolling for a federal VET diploma and later joining a bridge course to be in education at a university.
The businesses in Switzerland have made a big contribution to the vocational programmes. The VET system has good funding from employers.
So, it is apparent from the above case studies that skill development and vocational training have to be a core component in any educational program. It is the right way to realize the full potential of youngsters in career growth and boosting various sectors of the economy.