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Centre plans to launch 50 career service centres in March

Livemint:  March 18, 2015

New Delhi: Fifty career service centres are likely to be launched across the country later this month to provide job seekers with all the employment-related information they need—from career counselling to apprenticeship and jobs on offer.

India has been preparing to revamp its employment exchanges for the last few years, but after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in May, the labour ministry decided to speed up the process and make the offering holistic.

To begin with, the ministry will launch an online platform for both job openings as well as job seekers’ resumes. Candidates will get expert advice and career counselling based on an aptitude test they will be given.

The ministry will unveil 50 model career centres across India this month. Later, all of the nearly 1,000 employment exchanges in the country will be turned into career centres.

“Job creation is a key focus of the government. Through the platform, we would try to connect right candidates with the right jobs. The initial pilot has been conducted for the online platform and it is likely to go live in a couple of weeks,” said Alok Kumar, director general of employment and training at the labour ministry.

He said it would be like a one-stop shop for career counselling, job information, apprenticeship, internship and skill development information.

India created 59.9 million jobs between 1999 and 2004, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA was in power. Under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, there were only 1.1 million jobs created between 2004 and 2010, and 13.9 million new jobs between 2009 and 2012.

Authorities believe that a renewed focus on manufacturing and skill development will help create more jobs, with a revamped employment ecosystem working as a catalyst to find candidates the jobs best suited to them. Currently, more than 44.7 million job seekers are registered with India’s 956 employment exchanges. Of them, at least 26.88 million are men and women below the age of 29, according to official data.

A second official in the labour ministry, who asked not to be named, said the ministry is setting up an advisory committee of experts who will stay in touch with industries, human resource professionals and help skill school authorities for better match-making. This official said that instead of focusing on the supply side of jobs, the career centres will focus on demand—in other words, the centres and the online job board will select candidates on the basis of industry requirements.

A ministry note said, “Career centres shall undertake a market-sizing exercise to estimate the number of employment opportunities in their (in a particular) area, associated skill requirements, skill training capacity availability, etc. This shall require close and constant interface with local industry and employers.”

The ministry will create a network of career counsellors and publish career counselling material for job seekers. The content, approved by the technical advisory committee, will be uploaded on the national career service portal.

The committee will also “collaborate with state governments, industry, content providers, academia, professional institutions and skill development agencies to ensure that the content is relevant and updated as per the needs of the ecosystem”, according to the note.

Unlike in academics, where candidates are rated on exam marks rather than aptitude, the network of career centres will develop a standardized tool for “skill assessment and aptitude testing” for job aspirants.

The note said that the skill needs of the industry change dynamically, something that can widen the gap between the skill demand and supply. In order to bridge this gap, the technical committee will interact with industries and train counsellors in regular intervals. Under the project, it is proposed to “expand the reach of counselling services by approaching schools, training institutions, industrial training institutes, job fairs, etc. so that more students can avail the benefits of professional counselling and choose the right career at the right time.”

T. Muralidharan, chairman of TMI Network, a skill training and human resource consulting company, said that in order to be effective, such job centres must work to a high level of technology and service orientation. He said training must be linked to industry needs, and nepotism must be scotched to ensure success of the scheme.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.

x IBEF : India Brand Equity Foundation