A catapult for your career

23 Jun, 2016
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Read time: 4 mins

Sunita, a diploma holder in Electronics from rural Haryana, has been struggling to find a job since last 1 year. Like Sunita, there are lakhs of kids who are graduating every single day but finding it extremely difficult to get a job, mainly due to a lack of capability and skills. About 90% of the job openings today need skills which are missing in almost 90% of our youth, even among postgraduates. Yes, 15 years of education does provide them with a qualification, but does not make them job-ready. Poor infrastructure and lack of quality control are the primary reasons for the low grade output. 

As per a recent study, 8 out of 10 engineers are not fit for jobs. Similarly, only 7% of management graduates from tier B and C cities are employable, while those who do get jobs, earn an average salary of Rs 10,000. The ground reality is that current education fails to inculcate employability skills in students.

While degrees are what we yearn for, skills are what an employer looks for. The best and most accepted skill learning programme is apprenticeship. Globally, apprenticeships are a popular platform to build a career by the virtue of learning by doing. In Austria, 40% of the kids enter the job market through apprenticeships. In Germany, 2.7% of the workforce operates under apprenticeships. Ideally, India should have 15 million apprentices but we have never crossed a figure of 3 lakh apprentices ever since The Apprentices Act was passed in 1961. 

Apprenticeships are a great way to build a career. Whether you have just passed out of school or have dropped out of college, apprenticeship can pave a strong career path for you. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of apprenticeships: 

*Hands-on experience: Apprenticeship or learning by working under an able person or organisation will help one understand the concepts studied or preferred by the industry better. It helps one apply one’s knowledge and learn while working. Unlike an internship, which is largely short-term mandated by the curriculum and not the employer, in apprenticeship, one will have to hit the ground running. It gives one an opportunity to actively participate and experience the real world of work. It offers one a chance to put the learned skills into practice and evaluate the stream of education and the job it offers are of their liking.

*Multiple options: Historically, apprenticeships were associated with the manufacturing sector only. However, times have changed and apprenticeships are being increasingly welcomed by other sectors as well. This allows youngsters to explore different functional sectors, letting them identify their strengths and pursue a career in the industry of their choice. 

*Flexibility: Apprenticeships are flexible in nature as they are not restricted to just once or twice a year, which is typically the case with our classroom education. Such programmes can be undertaken at any time of the year.

*Steady income: In most sectors and job roles, companies offer apprentices monthly income in the form of a stipend. As per the last amendment in The Apprentices Act, stipend has been improved significantly. Today, stipend is benchmarked to semi-skilled wages, which may vary from Rs 7,000-9,000 per month, depending on the state’s minimum wages.

*Fast-tracking your career: In today’s world, education does not guarantee a job. Despite spending 3 years in a classroom for a degree programme, youngsters still need to hunt for a job. Apprenticeship fast-tracks the career by adding opening balance of experience to the resume, thus giving the person more priority over a fresh graduate. 

Remember, in the long run, capability and skills prevail over qualification. A survey conducted by one of the leading composite staffing solution company indicated that a skilled workman tends to earn more by 10-27% over a time period of 5-8 years in comparison to a qualified workman.

Decision to be qualified or employable needs be made wisely, because what matters in job market are skills and capabilities, and not your school. So, head out there and get some real world experience.

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Sumit Kumar, Vice President - NETAP, TeamLease Services Limited

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