For too long, education has been kept in isolation from vocation; masking the fundamental relationship between the two. The predominant attitude being that the only education that matters is a three-year college degree. It is because of this misleading point of view; youth in India often feel pressurized to enrol for a college degree. What is education if it does not equip a candidate with a skill and what is skill if it’s not applied effectively?

The India Skill Report published by Wheebox in 2018, states the unemployability across all educational domain stood at 54.4 percent. These numbers reflect the skill deficit paralyzing the nation’s workforce.The dimensions underlying the problem behind skill mismatch in India is that the education is disconnected from the benchmark and expectations of the industry which in turn accentuates the problem of unemployment in the country. What are then the logical steps to tackle the skill crisis in India? The answer lies in implementing the successful global models of vocational education developed by German and United Kingdom (UK).


(Source: India Skill Report 2018, Wheebox)

The German Model
(Source: India Skill Report 2018, Wheebox)
The German dual model is a combination of theory and training implemented in a real work environment. This model is engrained in their education system which is driven by industry. The training modules are constantly modified and upgraded depending on the industry requirements. These courses are generally two to three-year long where students split their times between learning a vocation and working in a company. These occupations are certified by chamber of commerce.

UK Model
The UK’s professional skills (TVET) system is an integrated model that allows students and workers to move seamlessly between the vocational and academic pillars. Students and workers can achieve vocational qualifications at levels 1 to 8, including Bachelor and master’s degrees in the workplace. 

Degree apprenticeships are developed in partnership with employers, higher education colleges and universities that allow students to develop high-level skills without ever having to go to university which are then all delivered at the workplace.

Making Skills Aspirational in India
The problems faced by the youth who migrate into the industry without prior exposure to industry need urgent redressal. Given the socio-economic pressure to become an earning member of the family at the earliest, most end up joining the industry with minimum or no skills with limited progression in their organization (or similar organization).

At the same time, the industry is suffering with high attrition rates as there is an evident gap in the acquired skills by the youth and the required skills by the job industry. Identifying the needs of the industry and suitably integrating them with the domain skills would prepare the youth for an enriching work experience and would at the same time, contribute meaningfully towards the economic growth of the country. The idea is to mainstream the youth with a viable career progression both horizontally & vertically.

Vocational Education not only provides first-hand instructions required to get off the ground, but also allows
students in building their critical thinking skills required in real-world scenarios especially one that provide equal importance to skills and keeps in stride with labour market requirements.

The need for a radical shift in the approach to skills & education have been understood and comprehended by some of the key stakeholders in the Indian Education & Vocational systems i.e. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Ministry of Human resource Development (MHRD). National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) is the most logical step to create a system where a student should not be constrained by the choices, he/she makes. 

The NSQF Framework
NSQF provides an integration of education and competency-based skill framework; enabling students to acquire desired skill levels through multiple entry and exit points between vocational education, general education and job markets. Students have the options of selecting multiple pathways to move either horizontally or vertically also enabling them to transit the job market at any opportune time and return to acquire additional skills to further upgrade their competency. Skills at School, Diploma in Vocation (DVoc) and Bachelor of Vocation (BVoc) are few of the courses that is running in several schools and colleges around the country.


14 – 18 years (9th to 12th Standard)

18 years and above

Integration of Vocation Education with Secondary Education

Integration of Vocation Education with Higher Education

NSQF Level 1 to Level 4

NSQF Level 4

NSQF Level 5

NSQF Level 6

NSQF Level 7




Advanced Diploma

BVoc Degree

1 years

6 months

1 years

2 years

3 years

Exposure to 21st century skills

Exposure to Industry standards
through stipend-based internships

Exposure to different career platforms

Better access to formal sector employment/Better employable workforce

Enhancing individual employability

More job-readiness for a competitive labour market

IL&FS Skills Runs:
1. Skills at School Programme in 1,440 Government Schools covering 13 states and 2 union territories under
the aegis of State Education department supported by MHRD and
2. Bachelor’s in Vocation (B.Voc) programme in automobile & hospitality sector in partnership with some of the leading universities.