Careers

Click for CAREER guidance

Board exams are done, the results are out. It is that time of the year when students, and parents, have to make that crucial decision which would impact a student’s future. For long the choice was, usually, attempting entrance exams - medicine or engineering. But the world has moved on and there are more vibrant choices, and a group of Calicut-based professionals, most of them alumni of IIT Kharagpur, have decided to step in with career guidance via an online career development/counselling platform, LCAT. “It extends beyond the conventional notion of what career guidance/ counselling is,” says Noufal Ali of LCAT. Excerpts from an email interview.

How did LCAT come to be?

The formation of our team took place through various social activities we were part of as students at IIT Kharagpur. Our campus was seen as a ‘temple of science and technology’ but what we saw outside the campus was the opposite. The people living in the vicinity were socially and educationally backward - it made us realise that development had not permeated. After studies, some of us joined MNCs or moved abroad for higher studies. By 2017 we got together and decided to focus on career development. We developed LCAT - the result of a detailed, two-phase research exercise - a comprehensive, scientific, personalised career development mechanism. Although we started out as 14, right now the core comprises eight members, with the others providing support and input. Muhammed Ammachandy is the chairman & CEO, the directors are Daleef Rahman, Muhammed Salih, Noufal Ali, Rasal VP, Munavar Fairooz, Sajid Mohamed while Muhammed Riyas M is the chief psychologist and career coach. Our entire team size is 30.

Despite all the talk about India’s human resource, often, it appears it is not being tapped into effectively. Where does LCAT figure in the scheme?

Currently our country is experiencing a demographic dividend. With an estimated working age popualtion of 850-900 million by 2020, very soon India is set to become the largest workforce in the world. The country is set to face a major challenge in imparting employable skills and career paths to its growing workforce over the next few decades. We believe that a holistic career development system, fundamental to the future of our country, is one that emphasises skill development, enhanced career awareness and preparation. We have to understand that if we provide effective assistance, with regard to career options, to an individual at the right time they can make use of their full potential. This is where LCAT comes into the picture - our detailed and comprehensive process makes our career related guidance as holistic and effective as possible.

Career guidance is a much misused term, since it, usually, focusses only on a couple of options. What is the range of options via LCAT?

In our country a career guidance practitioner is perceived as a source of career information on a few career options. People often fail to understand the importance of going through a proper and scientific career guidance mechanism before taking important career decisions. This is where the LCAT mechanism helps, as students are mapped into the five career fields that fit them the best from a large pool of different career options based on our detailed research. It successfully encompasses almost all the career areas that an individual can take up. We combine the power of machine learning and AI with the competence of highly-skilled and well-trained individuals, eliminating human biases and prejudices that impact career decisions.

Would LCAT mentor, post asessment?

Our platform offers a provision for continuous mentoring for those who need it. While booking a further session, students have to complete a small assessment which is based on a solution-focused counselling approach, and also helps our counsellors analyse and evaluate the progress students have made with their previous action plan and also the challenges they faced while at it. Based on these insights, the counsellors have another detailed session with the student (and parent) through which they offer them further guidance.

The process of selection for career guidance counsellors...

All our career counsellors are selected after a thorough three-month training exercise named the LCAT Career Development Executive (CDE) training program. Currently we have a team of about 10 counsellors picked from among around 600 applicants after a stringent selection process. We are currently working on offering this LCAT CDE training program on an online platform by associating with an Indian university or a professional career development body. We see this as an important step in scaling the presence of our mechanism and also our humble answer to the country’s career development landscape that is in critical need of at least 5 lakh well-trained and oriented career guidance practitioners.

How LCAT works...

LCAT is available to three categories of students - from Class 8 onwards to college students and recent graduates. The multi-step process starts with a detailed computer-based assessment of key psychometric dimensions such as interests, aptitudes, personality, work value preferences, and emotional intelligence. The post-assessment counselling process considers all factors that are outside the scope of such an assessment but are important for an individual while making a career decision. At the end of the individual counselling session the counsellor prepares a comprehensive action plan that gives detailed suggestions on what the student can do in the next couple of years across three main areas - career planning, academic success, and personal and social development.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 10:02:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/click-for-career-guidance/article27093521.ece

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