Crafting career-oriented mindset: Knowledge, navigation & opportunities

The issue will not resolve itself, simply by finishing academic courses at educational institutions without any clear career strategy in mind, which will eventually lead to frustration over unemployment.

| Updated: 19 February, 2024 6:05 pm IST

“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun” – APJ Abdul Kalam

In contemporary discourse, the topic of employment transcends regional boundaries, resonating not only in Assam or India but across the globe. As the world’s second-most populous nation, India grapples with the challenge of providing dignified employment, a narrative mirrored in the state of Assam. The plight of unemployed youth, seeking meaningful employment opportunities, reverberates through both local and national discussions, underscoring its profound impact on social dynamics. Both nation and state confront a myriad of socio-economic and political upheavals, often stemming from the dearth of suitable employment avenues for its burgeoning youth population. This issue has been identified as very relevant, especially in the case of our state of Assam.

A closer look at the map of Assam in the last four or five decades portrays the terrible and unexpected situation that the state faces if suitably qualified yet unemployed youth are not employed within a stipulated time frame. Since the upcoming generation is the future pillar of our nation, timely employment for the youth at the right time is imperative if a state is to move towards healthy, positive, and progressive economic, social, cultural, sports, and political fields. In contrast, the pace of progress within a state is inevitably hindered in the absence of peace. Therefore, the symbiotic relationship between peace and progress becomes apparent.

Until recently, the discourse surrounding gainful employment for qualified but unemployed youth predominantly revolved around securing government positions, particularly in Assam. This narrow focus implied that employment opportunities for the unemployed solely existed within the government sector. However, the unemployment crisis cannot be adequately addressed solely by increasing the number of government positions available annually. In a state like Assam, as well as across the entire country, the issue of unemployment among hundreds of thousands of skilled youth with technical and non-technical educational qualifications graduating from various institutions every year remains a pressing concern. Further, the number of unskilled youth without specific or proper educational qualifications is also a matter of consideration. In other words, addressing this appalling problem in a state like Assam, which is full of skilled and unskilled unemployed youth, is undoubtedly a matter of in-depth analysis.

It is worth mentioning that during the previous Congress regime, there was a notable prevalence of an open market for recruitment of jobs in various departments of the state including the Assam Public Service Commission. In this job market, only the children of affluent and influential families could secure jobs, completely sidelining merit and qualifications. Fortunately, under the leadership of Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP-led coalition government in Assam, which assumed office nearly three years ago, pledged to initiate 1 lakh government recruitments through a transparent & fair process. But presently, even the worst of critics are forced to acknowledge that under the tenure of one of the nation’s most dynamic, efficient, and visionary Chief Ministers, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, close to 1 lakh unemployed youths have secured employment across various departments, including the Assam Public Service Commission. The employment of numerous talented individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds serves as tangible evidence of this achievement.

As previously mentioned, relying solely on government employment is not a realistic solution to address the unemployment issue in our state. The private sector offers ample opportunities for suitable employment for our youth, both locally and abroad. However, determining which specific industries and positions will absorb these individuals is crucial. Additionally, understanding the process of securing employment in the private sector, including the various stages, competitive examinations, and interviews, is essential for our unemployed youth. Similarly, preparing oneself for employment in the Central or State Government through the Public Service Commissions and other examinations requires careful consideration and preparation. These aspects are of utmost importance in today’s job market, emphasizing the necessity for individuals to undergo a certain process from their student life to align their skills with job opportunities in both government and private sectors. The selection of subjects, curriculum, specific institutions, cost of education, and employability are crucial aspects that shape a student’s career trajectory. In contemporary times, failure to proactively address these elements during one’s academic journey can lead to significant personal and societal burdens unknowingly.

Keeping these aspects in mind, a comprehensive career counselling program and fair took place at NEDFI House, Guwahati on February 2, 2024, organized by the Directorate of Employment and Craftsmen Training, under the purview of the Department of Skill, Employment, and Entrepreneurship, Government of Assam. It is important to clarify at the very outset that this was only a career fair, not a job fair. This implies that attendees, including students and youth looking for jobs, were not to receive any job appointment letters. Instead, they were provided with valuable and factual information about career-related institutions in Assam as well as abroad to better prepare themselves for suitable job opportunities.

Additionally, one of the primary objectives of the career fair was to provide counselling and motivation by prominent counsellors in the country, aiming to inspire students in their career pursuits. The career fair was attended by students from 9th to 12th and graduate levels. This was an attempt to raise awareness about potential career and employment opportunities. The career fair also facilitated students in making informed decisions about their careers right from the time of the school level and helped the students to prepare plans and strategies to achieve their desired goals. Similarly, another special feature of this career fair was an attempt to introduce the opportunities and information available in the fields of self-reliance, business, and entrepreneurship.

Fortunately, this fair at NEDFI House attracted 31 established institutions from all over the country. Thousands of students from various academic levels visited from different parts of the state and learned about the various courses offered by these institutions in line with contemporary times. Additionally, students explored new and unconventional course options available at the fair. The Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized the importance of fostering self-reliance to propel India towards becoming a global leader ( Vishwaguru ). In other words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized standing on one’s own feet and developing oneself as a worthy citizen of India in a proper and dignified manner. This initiative was highlighted during this career fair aimed at empowering students to become self-sufficient and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s progress.

With over 30,000 participants from 200 educational institutions. The event focused on guiding students towards career paths that encourage self-sufficiency, moving beyond traditional employment paradigms in both public and private sectors. It’s essential to note that this event was designed to provide informative insights into career options rather than serving as a conventional job or recruitment fair. One of the key highlights of this fair was the insightful speech of Sri Nishant Sarawgi, a renowned career counsellor in the country and the world and Founder & CEO of EnrichMyCareer, who was invited to enlighten and evoke a career-centrist curiosity in the minds of the students.

However, I want to reiterate that various employment and career-related initiatives have already been taken in the recent past ever since I took over this department and this career fair was just one example of our commitment to fostering opportunities for personal and professional growth. The ‘Skill Yatra’ initiative, spearheaded under the guidance of Hon’ble CM was another such initiative aimed to cultivate enthusiasm among the youth for skill development. The inaugural phase commenced in four districts, involving 10,000 students from classes 9-12, to nurture an early interest in skill development and address the gap between education and industry requirements. In the subsequent phase, which launched in Dibrugarh and expanded to over 10 districts, the focus shifted towards college-going students, aiming to raise awareness about skill training opportunities and career prospects.

However, it is crucial to understand that the role of a government department or a directorate in guiding students in their career pursuits is limited to a certain extent. Ultimately, it’s the students themselves who must lay the foundation and propel themselves forward toward their future. Therefore, at the beginning of this article, the quote of our former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, one of the world’s most renowned scientists, known as the ‘Missile Man’ echoed my mind, “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun”. In other words, success in life is achieved through diligence, perseverance, and sacrifice. The issue will not resolve itself, simply by finishing academic courses at educational institutions without any clear career strategy in mind, which will eventually lead to frustration over unemployment. Consequently, to thrive in today’s competitive environment, students must prioritize career planning from a young age. That is the call of the hour!

The contributor is Minister PHED, Skill Employment and Entrepreneurship Department & Tourism Departments, Government of Assam.

Translation from Assamese by Upakul Das

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