Present day youths have shifted from traditional degree courses to job-oriented vocational and skill training courses. Millions of youth are being trained in a variety of skills through short-term skill training programs in India. Career counselling is one of the factors that influence the uptake of skill training programs and their resultant culmination in desirable jobs. With career counselling, candidates’ chances of success are maximised in a career line commensurate with their interests, personalities, aptitudes, and job market realities.
Career counselling is a guidance tool that helps individuals make informed choices on a prospective career path. It evaluates an individual’s aptitudes, interests, skills, and capabilities, and may also include context relevant factors, including data of the job market and average compensation expectations, the individual’s access to resources, etc. to arrive at suitable career options. The need of the hour is to approach “Career counsellor” with a view of creating a comprehensive and standardized framework.
The career counselling solution envisages to yield the following: 1. Profile interests, attitudes, and skills of candidates through psychometric assessment tools, 2. Access to consolidated knowledge and insights to candidates to reduce information asymmetries, 3. Offer guidance (group or individual sessions) on viable career options to students seeking to acquire skill, covering vocational and professional avenues, 4. Career counselling solution be available in multiple different regional languages for access to all interested candidates, 5. Offer technology-based solutions for smooth implementation across diverse regions along with Project Management Dashboard to view real time logins, assessments taken, Counselling facilitators created, and group/ individual counselling sessions conducted, 6. Capacity building of vocational trainers and other designated resources to act as counselling facilitators, 7. Resolving doubts and queries on career pathways and troubleshoot on tech-platform related issues through a dedicated helpline and support contact centre.
The candidates from in-school, school drop-out, out-of-education segment and others, on registration/ enrolment shall undergo a standardized solution, which covers the following essential components:
- Career/ Livelihood knowledge base: A digital platform will be offered to all candidates to access detailed and relevant information for informed career choices and decisions. The platform will provide detailed information on professional as well as vocational pathways, information on industry clusters and livelihood related data points.
- Career Assessment Tool: A career assessment tool will be made available to all candidates through log-in to the portal. The career assessment will be based on personality, aptitude and interest of a candidate, thereby creating a holistic psychometric assessment and analysis. Based on the career assessment, a detailed analysis report for each will be available online, under the personalized log-in for the individual candidates to access digitally.
- Career Counselling and guidance: The purpose of providing counselling is to empower candidates to take informed career decisions based on the correct interpretation of the career assessment report, through counselling facilitators. The selected career counselling agency will be required to provide various options for counselling the candidates.
- Capacity building of Counselling facilitators: The nominated trainer/other staff would have to be trained through an orientation module to handle the career counselling needs of the candidates in line with the career knowledge platform and outcome of the career assessment tool. The orientation program must cover necessary approach/ models for pre-training and post-training counselling needs. Simultaneously, candidates will have access to a range of information sources supporting the varied routes opted, from a job opportunity to “on-the-job training/apprenticeship” possibilities to further training.
- Group Counselling by Career Counselling Agency: There will be an option of group counselling interaction (spanning 60 to 90 Minutes) by the counsellors on correct interpretation of the career assessment report. The group session counselling to provide candidates with sources for accessing multiple information supporting varied routes opted, from a job opportunity to “on-the-job training/apprenticeship” possibilities to further training.
- Personalized Counselling session by Career Counselling Agency: There will be an option to conduct a personalized counselling session for 30 Minutes in offline mode (in classroom) or online mode, based on the career assessment report.
- Aptitude Assessment : An aptitude test evaluates/ predicts what an individual can do or can learn or do if they are given access to proper instructions. Aptitude assessment assesses an individual’s ability in a particular area. For instance, imagine that a company wants to hire a computer programmer to work for their company. They will probably look at a variety of things, including work history and job performance. Also, an aptitude test can be administered to determine whether the candidate possesses the programming skills necessary to perform the job. This aptitude test is designed to look at a narrow range of ability and competence, for example, how knowledgeable and proficient the candidate is in computer programming coding. Organizations are rapidly moving away from traditional methods of hiring and relying more on online recruitment methods for quick and effective hiring. Aptitude tests are excellent set of tools to find out what a test-taker is good at and what he/she can be good at with the right training. The vast scope and dynamism of aptitude assessment ensures a streamlined process for career choices, academic pursuits and professional growth.
- Wide implementation of Informational Posters/ collaterals: The career counselling initiative will be supported with wider implementation of informational posters relevant to the courses offered at the training centre or any other premise of conducting the career counselling service. These collaterals shall be essential to bridge the informational/ awareness gap and will be helpful for mobilization and advocacy of the program. The collateral will include posters on a range of topics, such as Job Role Overview, Career/occupational Map, Job/Placement Opportunities portal information, Competency/ eligibility requirement. Career counsellor will have to conduct online periodic sessions and recorded audio-visual content for candidates.
In fact, Career counselling is a lifelong process. It is not only to make decisions now, but also to provide knowledge and skills to the individuals to make future career and life decisions. It is not just about deciding a job when one graduates. Throughout a person’s life, the situation keeps on changing and one has to make a career and take appropriate decisions.
Er. Prabhat Kishore
(Author is an engineer and educationist)