Vocational Education + Entrepreneurship = Sustainable Growth

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Vocational education programs, commonly offered through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) have not been aspirational for the youth in the past few decades. It has been more of a last option when they couldn’t get a seat in any other course. However, if we look back, it was a vocational skill or a combination of skills that formed the basis of many livelihoods, sustained over the years.

Working closely with ITI pass outs since more than 25 years, I have been observing and harnessing their skills, and in the past 4  to 5 years we have started working on developing their competencies as well.

Empretec – an Entrepreneurial Personal Capacity Building Program

The exposure to Empretec – an Entrepreneurial Personal Capacity Building Program showed how we could bring back the combination of Vocational Education and Entrepreneurship through a combination of Quality Skill Training and Building of Behaviors.

Promotion of entrepreneurship in vocational education will make ITIs and institutions like ACE Foundation aspirational once again. Combining with UNCTAD’s Empretec Program for India can be a huge opportunity for ITIs to provide the much needed behavior culture and unlock the potential of our youth!

Vocational Education + Entrepreneurship = Sustainable GrowthLook at the opportunities today in courses run by ITI,  which with a good effort on good pedagogy and curriculum updates, with good participation of industry can be made into a self-employment or entrepreneurial career.

Automobile Repairing, setting up their own workshop/repair centre; Fashion Designing, setting up their design/production centre;  Draughtsmen, setting up their own outsourced services, Electrical Fitters – manufacturing and/or services for rural and urban sector; Plumbing and Piping, a business already in demand – the possibilities of building sustainable employment on their own are many, and there are many such people who have set up their own small, self-employment models successfully.

Entrepreneurship is one more step after self-employment that involves scaling up and building a system-driven businesses on the core skill sets of the founder/promoters.

At Rhino Machines and ACE Foundation (ACEF) we have taken this to the next level and we are now building the behaviour and culture of entrepreneurship in the existing ITIs and engineering workforce, and also incorporating the same in the pedagogy of the new batches being inducted at ACEF. Though it is a slow process, it looks promising.

Consider a Draughtsman trained in the COPA at an ITI, who starts understanding building an enterprise, starts transferring his skills into the new set of people, starts looking at solutions rather than personal services. An organisation like Rhino Machines would easily incubate such entrepreneurs who wish to build their own enterprise, who are ready to take the risk, form long term contracts and build sustainable businesses. The entrepreneurial behavior will allow them to network and look for alternative opportunities, keep upgrading their systems, and continue to build value chains as they go up in their value chain.

Starting with the right set of vocational skills, and equipped with the right behaviors, stitching partnerships with senior entrepreneurs – which is something Empretec India Foundation has been enabling, can surely lead to a sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurial journey for Vocational Education.

Manish Kothari, Managing Director, Rhino Machines Pvt Ltd : Director, ACE Foundation, Mission Director, Empretec India Foundation – Email : manish@rhinomachine.com

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