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In-depth career counselling can help bridge the gap between talent, aptitude and skills

Posted on Monday, November 5, 2018

Career counselling can provide critical inputs to students and suggest best fit career paths to impact their working lives in future, writes Prateek Bhargava

Choosing the right career is often a make or break decision for a student and almost always an excruciating process with a number of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in between. Not only does a student have to evaluate his or her personal attributes, preferences and acumen, they also have to deal with peer pressure and familial expectations. Much of this confusion is fuelled by ignorance of the full range of options available to students today and by not having a trusted source of advice.

India has over 100 million students who are in need of expert career guidance to help take the right career decision. Over 40% of these students are enrolled in private schools and institutes and just around 5% of them have access to career counselling or credible career solutions which can help them choose the right career path. In a research conducted by Mindler, among 10,800 students across the country, over 92% students were found to have knowledge of less than seven career domains in fields such as Engineering, Accounts and Finance, Computer Application and IT, Medicine, Management, Designing and Law.  Evidently, a large percentage of students end up pursuing careers which are not the right fit. 

Apart from academic choices, aspects like Interest, Motivators, Personality, Aptitude, Emotional Intelligence, Orientation Style and many other tangible and intangible dimensions have to be taken into consideration for proper career guidance. This kind of in-depth assessment can provide critical inputs for students and suggest best fit career paths that have the potential to impact their working lives. 

Knowing the growing need for structured career planning, schools, colleges and educational institutions are now actively taking steps to promote career guidance and proper selection mechanisms before students commit to a career choice. However, there is still a notable lack of proper scientific tools available in India due to which even the counsellors in schools often fail to offer correct guidance to students.  The 2018 Annual International Career and College Counselling (IC3) Conference acknowledged that India’s 350 million students -- the biggest student population in the world -- needs at least 1.4 million career counsellors to maintain a globally acceptable student-to-school-counsellor ratio. While the rate of adoption is understandably better in private schools, Government schools which till recently had almost nil provision for providing career guidance to their students, are now witnessing a transformation with most state governments waking up to its importance. State governments like Delhi and Karnataka have taken proactive steps in this direction by exploring among others, public-private partnerships to provide `good quality career counselling to students. 

In spite of the sizeable and growing need for qualified counsellors to guide students, there is a huge supply and skill shortage. To improve the skill sets of career counsellors there are now certification courses like International Certified Career Coach Program (ICCC) by Mindler and a 1-year diploma in guidance and counselling by NCERT available in the country. 

There is an urgent need to organise the career counselling market.  At Mindler we have launched the Partner Platform to help create an ecosystem for career counsellors all over India, largely aimed at underserved smaller cities and towns, to help them access cutting-edge career guidance tools to give quality advice to students in their geographies.

In the coming years, expert career guidance will help bridge the gap between talent, aptitude and skills in our fast-changing world which will be critical for a good work-life balance.


(The author is CEO, Mindler)




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