Photographs: Rediff Archives Anupama Thakur, Bodhisutra
The way we look at education is changing. It is no longer an anathema to the higher ideals of learning to expect your education to help you earn a decent livelihood.
Vocational courses have been around for almost as long as one can remember. However, with the growing economy and expanding opportunities, changing lifestyle expectations and spotlight on employability skills acquisition, vocational courses have gained tremendous importance.
In the following pages, we briefly touch upon some prominent vocations offering great opportunities. Almost all of these programmes are offered by several government and private institutions both at degree and diploma levels.
Two of the most important elements of deciding on a vocational course are the choice of the course and the choice of the institution. While the choice of the course has to be driven by your interest and aptitude, the selection of the institute should be done after weighing in the institute's quality (including teachers, infrastructure, curriculum, commitment to student growth and past performance record) as well as one's own objectives and financial constraints.
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Anupama Thakur is an NIT Hamirpur alumna and is the Director, Operations at BodhiSutra. BodhiSutra (www.BodhiSutra.com) is an IIT-IIM alumni venture which specialises in employability skills training including Job English, Professional Impact and domain specific employability skills training programmws for students and working professionals.
Hotel management and tourism
One of the more popular fields of vocational study, hotel management, hospitality and tourism is witnessing expanding opportunities. Employment opportunities exist with big corporate hotels, travel companies and government tourism departments.
Moreover, if you are entrepreneurially inclined, this filed gives you a very good opportunity to start out on your own as well.
Despite the shocks, the Indian real estate story is here to stay. With increasing disposable incomes, more and more people will buy or build houses opening up plenty of opportunities for the creative and willing. Interior design is one of the fastest growing areas in India and fresh interior designers can find good jobs with independent architects as well as large architectural firms and builders.
Several government and private institutions offer degree and diploma programmes in interior design. So, decide smartly and you'll be on your way to a rewarding career.
It is ideal for those with an active interest in games, sports and fitness. Several fitness academies provide training as well as certification to fitness trainers. Career opportunities include jobs with premium gyms, fitness centres, sports academies, schools as well as entrepreneurial avenues to set up up your own niche health centre.
The animation industry in India is just beginning to spread its wings. The use of animation in entertainment and education is going to grow by leaps and bounds offering an amazing source of opportunities to the creatively inclined.
The growing prominence of the Indian entertainment industry in the world as well as far-reaching changes in our education system (not the least, the latest RTE bill) are set to fuel tremendous growth in the area.
Several private academies offer courses in animation. Look, search, research and choose wisely.
Learning foreign languages can also be your ticket to a rewarding career. Several universities and private academies will train you to different competency levels in popular foreign languages including French and German.
Job opportunities exist as translators and also in consulates, embassies, foreign language academies, schools and universities.
This again is a growth area from the employment opportunity perspective.
Training to become a good beautician may take roughly close to a year. A good training institute will leave you with the right skills, knowledge and confidence to find a good job as well as venture out yourself if you so desire.
Film and media
The entertainment sector is exploding with opportunity. Bollywood, as such, makes the maximum number of movies every year and now, with low-budget movies without stars being accepted by the audience, this number is only going to increase.
Similarly, several new TV channels as well as the increasing role of digital media in entertainment is making the opportunity index in this sector go through the roof.
If this field excites you, decide what you can and want to do here and then get down to following your dreams in the right earnest.
A physiotherapist assists people whose movements have been restricted due to injury, old age or a disease. Physiotherapists are in demand in sports and fitness centres, hospitals, community health centres and rehabilitation centres.
You could opt for a degree or a diploma in physiotherapy; a degree from a reputed university obviously carrying more weight.
Retail is another one of the hot areas with a plethora of opportunities due to the spread of mall culture even to small towns.
It is a multilayered field and courses of study may vary from buying and merchandising to supply chain management to space planning and store management.
You could either be a sales personnel or floor manager or store manager or make a career in promotion and marketing or human resources and staffing etc.
It is the marriage of bio-technology and IT. In layman terms, bio-informatics means using information technology tools to analyse, interpret, model and manipulate biological data.
Bio-informatics professionals are in high demand in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries usually involved in drug discovery and research.
You could be a graduate in micro-biology or engineering or biotechnology etc and go in for a higher qualification in bio-informatics.