Vocational training focuses on developing technical skills for a specific job or trade. It offers you practical knowledge in contrast to theoretical knowledge offered by the conventional formal education system. Understanding different vocational training options can help you choose the right one for your career growth and development. In this article, we explain the meaning of vocational training and explore some of the common types of vocational training options available in India.
What is vocational training?
Vocational training is the instructional program that prepares you for an occupation that requires a specialised skill, such as a technician, artisan or tradesperson. It may involve imparting classroom instructions, hands-on training or a combination of both. Secondary and higher secondary education in India usually includes one or two vocational subjects. Still, real vocational training is imparted outside the formal education system and it often leads to a certification or a diploma. You may also undergo vocational training directly as an apprentice or a trainee with or without any formal qualification.
Why is vocational training important?
Vocational training is important due to the following reasons:
- It offers training for specific skills and jobs.
- You can undergo vocational training along with or outside the formal education system.
- It prepares you to take up a high-paying job or occupation almost immediately.
- Undergoing training from a vocational school earns you a certification from an independent organisation, which vouches for your skills and puts you in an advantageous position over informally trained candidates.
- It helps you perform your job better.
- Since its utility is direct and clear, students often participate more actively than the formal education.
- It offers a learning opportunity to those who missed the formal education or those who are not sure whether they should attend a school.
- It offers an opportunity to learn the skills of your choice and make a career switch at almost any point in time.
- It offers employment opportunities in villages and small towns, which prevents population migration to large cities.
- A majority of the vocational skills are universal in nature and they make you eligible for employment in foreign countries too.
- It provides the much-needed skilled manpower to the industry.
Vocational training examples
Following are some examples of common vocational training programs offered in India:
- Makeup and beautician training
- Mehendi (henna) designing
- Cooking and baking classes
- Sewing, stitching and tailoring
- Woodworking and carpentry training
- Jewelry designing courses
- Bike and car mechanic courses
- Home appliance repair technician training (air conditioning system, refrigerator, air cooler and washing machine repair)
- Mobile, laptop and computer repair training
- TV and radio repair training
- Soap and detergent making
- Battery charging, maintenance and testing
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Shoemaking and repair training
- Soft toy making
- Pottery, ceramics and clay classes
- Air ticketing
- Tour guide courses
- Beekeeping training
- Horticulture and cut flower courses
- Sericulture (Silkworm farming) training
- Plumbing, masonry and electrical training
- Welding training
- Accounting and bookkeeping courses
- Pet grooming courses
- Medical lab technician courses
- Physiotherapy courses
Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples
Types of vocational training
Following are the major types of vocational training programs offered in India:
1. Vocational courses as part of the school curriculum
Schools in India usually offer vocational courses as part of the regular curriculum. They allow students to choose a few skill-based subjects from a wide variety of options in addition to the standard compulsory subjects. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) starts vocational subjects as early as from the upper primary level (class V to VIII) in order to give students the necessary orientation so that they can explore different career choices at secondary (class IX and X) and senior secondary (class XI and XII) levels.
CBSE gives the flexibility to choose from the following types of vocational courses along with regular school education:
- Business and commerce courses, such as office secretaryship, stenography and computer application, accountancy and auditing, marketing and salesmanship, banking, retail, financial market management and business administration
- Engineering and technology courses, such as electrical technology, automobile technology, civil engineering, air conditioning and refrigeration technology, electronics technology, geospatial technology, foundry and IT application
- Health and paramedical courses, such as ophthalmic techniques, medical laboratory techniques, auxiliary nursing and midwifery, X-ray technician course, healthcare sciences, health and beauty studies and medical diagnostics
- Fashion and textile courses, such as fashion design and clothing construction and textile design, dyeing and printing
- Agricultural courses, such as poultry farming, horticulture and dairying
- Hospitality and tourism courses, such as food service, catering, hotel management, bakery and confectionary and travel and tourism management
- Other courses, such as transportation system, life insurance and library management
Similarly, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) offers the following choices of vocational subjects:
- Mechanical, civil and telecommunication engineering technician courses
- Offset printing and graphic designing technician courses
- Air conditioning and refrigeration
- Hospitality management
- Crèche and pre-primary school management
- Interior and exterior design
- Computer theory and system analyst courses
- Business studies
- Physical education
- Office assistant courses
2. Polytechnic diploma courses after 10th class
A polytechnic diploma is a three-year diploma course in engineering approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). You can join a polytechnic diploma after completing your 10th class either through an entrance exam or based on your 10th class marks. Polytechnic diplomas provide theoretical and practical knowledge on specific streams of engineering on similar lines to Bachelor of Engineering (BE) and Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) courses. These diplomas make you eligible for various government and private sector jobs like a junior engineer, clerk, technician and IT assistant.
You can also start your own business like an engineering workshop, garage or a repair centre. Polytechnic diplomas also make you eligible for a lateral entry into the second year of BE and B.Tech programs.
Some of the popular streams of polytechnic diplomas include the following:
- Civil engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Power engineering
- Metallurgy engineering
- Textile engineering
- Computer science
- Automobile engineering
- Electronics and communication
- Electrical engineering
- Instrumentation engineering
- IT engineering
- Aeronautical engineering
- Biotechnology engineering
- Agricultural engineering
- Food processing technology
- Dairy technology
3. Industrial Training Institute (ITI) courses
ITIs are trade-focused higher secondary schools set up under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of the central government. These institutes offer training in over 130 trades and crafts. The minimum qualification required to join the ITI training is an eighth-class pass. The training period lasts from six months to two years. Successful completion of the training earns you the National Trade Certificate (NTC).
After completing ITI training, you can join an apprenticeship program in different industries. You also become eligible for a lateral entry into the second year of a polytechnic diploma.
Following are some of the popular disciplines of trade in which ITI offers training:
- Operator: Excavator, pump, stone mining machine and advanced machine tools
- Fitter: Sanitary hardware, marine engine and general
- Technician: Foundry, radiology, spinning, rubber, physiotherapy, weaving and textile processing
- Mechanic: consumer electronics, machine tools, medical electronics, motor vehicle, air-conditioner, lift and escalator
- Painter: Domestic, industrial and general
- Building maintenance: Carpenter, mason, plumber, electrician and fireman
- Machine shop: Welder, draughtsman, sheet metal worker, machinist, tuner and tool and die maker
- Computers: Computer operator, desktop publishing (DTP), web designing, multimedia animation and medical transcription
4. Skill development programs for small-scale industries
Various government and non-government organisations offer industrial skill development programs for small-scale industries. For example, MSME-Development Institute, functioning under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), conducts general and product-specific entrepreneurship skill development programs (ESDP) of six weeks' duration. Some of the common trades these programs cover include the following:
- Food processing
- Screen printing
- Motor rewinding and transformer winding
- Leather goods manufacturing
- Two-wheeler repair and servicing
It also organises skill development programs (SDP) of three to six months' duration in machine shop practice and fabrication workshops. The shortest ones are the process demonstration programs of one-day duration related to the manufacture of the following products:
- Liquid soap
- Room fresheners
- Detergent powder
- Shoe polish
5. Vocational courses by state governments
Many state governments offer vocational programs outside the formal education system at the local level. For example, the Society for Employment Promotion and Training in Twin Cities (SETWIN) offers skill-based training to educated unemployed youth in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in Telangana. It has over 70 centres (own and franchised) that impart training in over 100 courses, including the following:
- Technical courses: Solar technician, CCTV installation and gem cutting and polishing
- Computer courses: MS-OFFICE, multimedia, AUTO CAD, computer hardware and graphic designing
- Management courses: Diploma and PG Diploma courses in food production, tourism and hotel management
- Women-oriented courses: Garment making, herbal beauty care and dress designing
- Educational courses: Spoken English, pre-primary teacher training and drawing teacher training
- Media courses: Reporter, anchor, editor, photographer and floor manager
In addition to the above, you can also undergo vocational training through apprenticeship, on-the-job training and distance learning programs.