Vocational training is educational training that provides hands-on or practical experience in a particular occupational field such as ICT, Agriculture, and Home Economics. The beauty of vocational training is that it is practical oriented whereby you get to use your mind and hands to design and produce a particular object or product. There are many benefits that accrue to any youth who engages in acquiring the skills inherent in vocational training. I explain a few of them below.

1. You become creative. One benefit of vocational training for anyone who acquires the skills is the ability to become a creative individual which ultimately makes such a person outstanding. I have seen some mind-blowing designs of cakes, furniture, fashion, etc. I have also seen people using Ankara and Jeans materials to make shoes and bags. These are evidence of a creative mind. I never thought clothing materials could be used for such products until I saw them. Vocational training help people generate ideas to invent new designs and products. So, if you are looking for an endeavor that can help you become innovative, I recommend you consider vocational training.

2. It can serve as a source of income. People acquire vocational skills for different reasons…but one of such reasons is to make money. I have a friend who runs a vocational training school for people and charges them for a fee. There are also people who collect contracts to bake wedding and birthday cakes, make some pairs of shoes, sow school uniforms, cut or plait fellow students’ hair on campuses, and so on. All these will no doubt generate income for the person and such money could further be used to support oneself in a tertiary institution, help your parents and other siblings or even serve as a source of funding one’s business in future if you decide to build a career from such skills.

3. It boosts your networks. Learning and using the skills acquired from vocational training can give you a strong network of customers in different fields of life. I once read how Nadiya Hussain, a 32-year-old lady (who is a baker, a columnist, author and television presenter) was given the contract to bake the birthday cake for the Queen Elizabeth of England during her 90th She came to limelight after winning a baking competition in Britain in 2015 and then, she was known across the country. Some people have also been linked to influential people and celebrities within society due to their vocational skills. For instance, let’s assume Pastor Adeboye is celebrating his birthday or Dangote’s daughter is getting married, whether the birthday or wedding cake is produced locally or imported from overseas, am sure the baker will one way or the other be physically contacted and that alone can open doors for him or her or even people related to such a person in so many other areas. So, if you hope to have access to meaningful contacts or grow your networks, vocational training is one way of achieving such. People will surely patronize your products and services and also refer others to you as long as your product or service is excellently manufactured, packaged and delivered.

4. It can boost your academic credentials. There are some foreign schools who do not base their admission criteria on academic grades alone. They also look at other credentials and abilities possessed by the intending students. Ability to demonstrate certain skills in a particular vocational training could be an asset to a student seeking admission in such schools. The renowned Dr. Benjamin Carson, the author of ‘THINK BIG’ got a slot for his houseman-ship at John Hopkins hospital just because of his love and ability for classical music. It was in that same hospital he successfully performed the popular Siamese twins operation which later promoted his career and brought him to limelight across the world. The vocational skills acquired today can enhance your admission to tertiary institutions or even boost your chances of securing your dream job in future.

5. You become a change agent within society. When you acquire vocational skills, you are actually setting yourself up for being a change agent within your community and you stand the chance of adding positive value to the lives of people both within and outside your community. An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop so, being an agent of positive change by learning and producing products and services through vocational training will ultimately reduce the rate of crime and social vices that are performed by idle teenagers and youths. It is on record that most of the teenagers and youths recruited by Boko Haram and militants groups in some parts of the country were mostly idle and jobless, hence, it was possible for them to join such heinous gangs killing innocent lives and destroying properties worth billions of naira. If you aspire to become a positive change agent and to add value to the community where you belong, then consider learning one or more vocational skills.

6. Opportunity to develop life skills. Youths who engage in vocational training tend to be different from their counterparts who do not. Skills and lessons such as humility, respect for elders, self-control, teamwork, diligence, determination, problem-solving skills, time management skills, communication skills, negotiation skill, ICT skills, and interpersonal skills to mention a few are daily imparted to them. All these go a long way to positively shape their outlook about life and fellow humans. They also stand a better chance to handle life challenges while on campus and even after graduation. Many students, while on campus have fallen apart and become wrecked emotionally when confronted with little pressure or issues about failing a subject, having troublesome roommates, enormous academic work, insufficient cash, and so on. Most of these students have never been ‘exposed’ to life, hence, they find it difficult to handle those challenges. To effectively handle all these challenges that come in one form or the other to students on campuses or youths generally, avail yourself of the opportunity of developing strengths ahead via vocational training.

7. It can be Fun! The last benefit I want to explain here is vocational training can be a fun-filled activity especially when it is in alignment with your natural talents or interest. I have a friend who can bake a cake from morning till night! She naturally enjoys baking and this always keeps her in happy mood. The implication is that her mental and physical health will be positively affected all other things being equal. Instead of pursuing temporary pleasure through social media networks and getting addicted to online vices, abusing drugs and other chemical substances, attending irrelevant parties, wasting plenty hours before the television set or video games, associating with friends with no vision for their lives, you can still catch fun by going for vocational training that align with your interests.

In conclusion, I have explained some of the benefits that youths who engage in vocational training enjoy either in the short or long-term. It is important you get your priorities right as a young person. Time is not anybody’s friend. Many adults look back today with regret for failing to maximize their youthful age with economic skills and developing themselves to maximize their potentials. Some are also frustrated by the wrong choices they made years back. God created you with enormous potentials… Don’t waste your future chances. Arise, discover, and deploy yourself before it’s too late.

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Olusegun Akinade

Olusegun Akinade is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, career coach, HSE advocate, public speaker and youth coach per excellence. His first book; "Me and My Future Career" is a bestseller amongst Pre-University students and in secondary schools at large.

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