Career Counselling and Vocational Training: Skilling Youth to Make them Job Ready
This is BFA’s latest project which began in 2019. Many students, who are first generation learners from poor families, have no idea of what to do after Class 12. With little or no parental guidance, they end up pursuing degree courses which do not make them employable or drop out to take up unskilled or semi skilled jobs. BFA counsels students of Inter-colleges in Noida about careers and vocational courses that will provide them with skills and can make them employable. BFA helps students with admissions to selected institutes and mentors them till they complete the course and helps them find employment. BFA trainers also impart soft skills to increase their confidence, communication skills and awareness of the world around them.
Having realised the need for students to have vocational skills, Books for All, in its pilot project in 2019-20, had sponsored the training of 9 students from Hindi Medium Schools, in Paramedical and Dress Design Courses. Our initiative got shot in the arm when we were selected by HCL Foundation for Career Counselling and Vocational Training Project in their Skills and Livelihoods program in 2020.
The extended Lockdown during 2020 had made the going really tough for poor students, many of whom left for villages with their parents. BFA volunteers remained in touch with selected students, spoken English classes were started online, art & craft competitions & Quiz were held to impart soft skills and at the same time to ensure that students do not get demoralised.
Despite the challenges during the pandemic, BFA counselled more than 1000 students through WhatsApp groups and one on one calling. As part of HCL Foundation project 2020-21, 49 students were sponsored to various vocational courses such as Paramedical, Apparel Technology and Computer courses, as against the target of 30.
It was a very big challenge to ensure students keep attending classes as students had never attended online classes before. Many students did not have their own smart phones and money for conveyance. BFA helped such students with smart phones and funds for conveyance.
As of March 2022, Books For All has successfully provided career counselling to 2792 students and vocational training to 146 youth in 28 different courses from 11 reputed institutes across Delhi & NCR, These courses include including paramedical courses, cosmetology, Diploma in IT, Graphic Design, AC Refrigeration, Laptop Repair etc. Among the trained students 55 youth have secured placements. Also, 800 students participated in soft skills and life skills classes, increasing awareness, building confidence and improving their personality. Most of the students are still undergoing their courses and BFA is making continuous efforts to have other students placed.