Career counselling: A life guidance tool

Present-day youths have shifted from traditional degree courses to job-oriented vocational and skill training courses.
Career counselling: A life guidance tool

Er Prabhat Kishore

(The author is a technocrat & academician)

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 programmes in India. Career counselling is one of the factors that influences the uptake of skill training programmes 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 on 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 to creating a comprehensive and standardised framework.

The career counselling solution envisages yielding the following: 1. Profile the interests, attitudes, and skills of candidates through psychometric assessment tools. 2. Access to consolidated knowledge and insights for candidates to reduce information asymmetries, 3. Offer guidance (in group or individual sessions) on viable career options to students seeking to acquire skills, covering vocational and professional avenues. 4. A career counselling solution will be available in multiple different regional languages for all interested candidates. 5. Offer technology-based solutions for smooth implementation across diverse regions, along with a project management dashboard to view real-time logins, assessments taken, counselling facilitators created, and group or 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 troubleshooting tech-platform-related issues through a dedicated helpline and support contact centre.

On registration or enrollment, the candidates from the in-school, school drop-out, out-of-school, and other segments shall undergo a standardised solution that covers the following essential components:

1. Career and 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.

2. Career Assessment Tool: A career assessment tool will be made available to all candidates through logging in to the portal. The career assessment will be based on the 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 personalised log-in for the individual candidates to access digitally.

3. Career counselling and guidance: The purpose of providing counselling is to empower candidates to make 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.

4. Capacity building of counselling facilitators: The nominated trainer or 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 programme must cover the necessary approaches and 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 for, from a job opportunity to “on-the-job training/apprenticeship” possibilities to further training.

5. Group Counselling by Career Counselling Agency: There will be an option of group counselling interaction (spanning 60 to 90 minutes) by the counsellors on the correct interpretation of the career assessment report. The group session counselling provided candidates with sources for accessing multiple sources of information supporting varied routes opted for, from a job opportunity to “on-the-job training/apprenticeship” possibilities to further training.

6. Personalised Counselling Session by Career Counselling Agency: There will be an option to conduct a personalised counselling session for 30 minutes in offline mode (in the classroom) or online mode, based on the career assessment report.

7. Aptitude Assessment: An aptitude test evaluates or predicts what an individual can do, learn, or do if they are given access to proper instructions. An 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 and coding. Organisations are rapidly moving away from traditional methods of hiring and relying more on online recruitment methods for quick and effective hiring. Aptitude tests are an excellent set of tools to find out what a test-taker is good at and what he or she can be good at with the right training. The vast scope and dynamism of aptitude assessment ensure a streamlined process for career choices, academic pursuits, and professional growth.

8. Wide implementation of informational posters and collaterals: The career counselling initiative will be supported by the 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 mobilisation 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, and competency/eligibility requirements. A career counsellor will have to conduct online periodic sessions and record 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 individuals to make future career and life decisions. It is not just about deciding on a job when one graduates. Throughout a person’s life, the situation keeps changing, and one has to make a career and make appropriate decisions. (The author is an engineer and educator.)


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