In the first year, this ‘Career Counselling on Wheels’ initiative will reach out to 10,000 students and youth in 4 remote districts of Karnataka
Hyderabad: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Verizon India, an IT & Technology GCC (Global Capability Center) in association with Nirmaan Organization, a Hyderabad based NGO launched a Mobile Career Counselling Lab (MCL) equipped with digital infrastructure and technology-based applications to offer end-to-end counselling support to students in rural India. Marking the inauguration of this initiative, the MCL van was flagged off today at a Government School in Hyderabad by Mr. Vijayaraman Subramanian, Managing Director, Verizon India along with leaders from Nirmaan Organization including Mr. Abdul Waheed (IFS Rtd) Director, Venkat Tankasala, Governing Board, Mr. Mayur Patnala, CEO and Mr. Chandra Sekhar P. CEO, Nirmaan Vidya Help Line and Mr. V Niranjan, Head Master, Manikonda High School.
The mobile counselling lab encompasses personal and tele counselling services, psychometric tests, technological infrastructure, and mobile applications to equip the aspirants to self-explore and seek out a clear path for a better future. It also offers helpline services, which can be utilized by aspirants to garner any further clarifications that they may have regarding their prospects. Starting out its journey from Hyderabad, this ‘Career Counselling on Wheels’ initiative in its first year as a pilot project will conduct about 200 sessions reaching out to over 10,000 students and youth in the four remote districts of Yadgir, Raichur, Koppala, and Gadag in Karnataka. Subsequently, plans are to expand the MCL initiative to other Southern states and eventually to all parts of the country.
Highlighting the importance of the project, Vijayaraman Subramanian, Managing Director, Verizon India, said, “We at Verizon India are delighted to partner with Nirmaan Organisation for this unique initiative that helps bridge the digital divide for the student community and empower our youth in the rural areas with relevant infrastructure and support to carve out a bright future for themselves. Working closely with the communities around us, it is our goal to move the world forward for everyone by expanding digital access and preparing people for the jobs of the future. The launch of Mobile Career Counselling Lab re-affirms this commitment as we aim to bring about a positive change with the power of technology.”
Highlighting the unique aspects of this initiative, Mr. Chandra Sekhar P, CEO, Nirmaan Vidya HelpLine said “We thank Verizon India for supporting us to take this program across multiple remote districts. Our aim is to help these students, get access to the right information and guidance on various career-related aspects. Counselling sessions will be conducted by well-trained career counsellors who will be part of the lab throughout the journey.
Students can also reach out through the Nirmaan Vidya helpline to get all their queries answered.”
“We aspire to enrol over 2500 students and youth for courses, training institutes, colleges, jobs, and scholarships with the help of the career lab. The helpline will also take 6000 calls from the tele counselling centre implemented in Bangalore”, he added.
Due to the lack of internet penetration in the interiors of rural India, many students from these regions do not have access to information or the relevant platforms for guidance on how they can explore further education or career opportunities. Results from a need assessment survey conducted by the Nirmaan Organisation brought to the fore some key findings like low career aspirations and lack of awareness amongst these youngsters as nearly 79% of the respondent were aware of less than five career options and 90% of them being unaware of a single scholarship. This unmet need is what spurred the idea of the mobile career counselling lab to help provide access and support to young aspirants from the rural hinterland.
The mobile counselling lab is equipped with 10 Tablets installed with mobile apps and psychometric assessment including space for personal counselling. The van will be on the move from an identified site to another, enabling students to connect to a tele-counselling center with a toll-free helpline 18004252429 for queries. The lab also has a TV screen where the counsellors will conduct career workshops and showcase audio and video files for better understanding. Students can self-explore the digital infra available and can also enrol themselves in a career outreach program where they can get all the updated information on various career opportunities.
With the support of local NGOs and village leaders, the mobile lab will be visiting schools, gram panchayat offices and will be stationed at places where people can benefit the most. To ensure the sustainability of this initiative, Nirmaan will also be building Career Mitras in these villages by identifying volunteers from the villages and empowering them with the latest information and tools who in turn can support the young aspirants in their learning journey.