Five days for the youth

CareerAware is intense, insightful and eye-opening. The programme lasts 15 hours and is spread over 5 days. I found being an assistant facilitator both interesting and inspiring. As an adolescent myself, I could see things from both a trainer and student perspective. Antarang’s programmes have been designed for young people the same age as me, and while each young person is unique, there are some issues that are universal to us all. The period of life between 14 and 25 is one of rapid change and a huge increase in responsibility. “Adulthood” looms near, creeping closer and closer each day. And what happens when, finally, adulthood arrives? That is exactly what the Antarang programmes help youth to answer. Adulthood can be a wonderful period of growth, but only if you are self-reliant. And Antarang helps youth achieve this self-reliance in a crucial area: financially. This comes from the career guidance programmes, which helps the students get to know what options are available to them. Career guidance and counselling is lacking in many of the students’ education, and so, many of them are not aware of the huge number of jobs open to them. I completed the training for CareerAware facilitators and was truly impressed at the range of careers that the students are told about. There is truly something for everyone, and the CareerAware programme helps the student, step-by-step, to come to their own conclusion about what their future could look like. Each student is given a workbook filled with different activities. This could be drawing a superhero, writing out a family tree or completing a sum. During the facilitator training, the objective of each activity was explained. What was immediately evident was that a tremendous amount of thought had been put into designing each activity, including using tools like the Holland code to help the students decide which careers tey are suited to. The students are invited to be creative, to show their strengths, to note down something new, and above all, to reflect. What types of things am I good at? What will give me a stable future? What activities do I like? Is this dream of mine a realistic one? During the 5 days the students are prompted to think about such questions, and we have found that many have not ever been asked to think along these lines before. The programme leads to an increase in self-awareness as well as career-awareness. Indeed, many of the activities are designed so that the student becomes more aware of their situation. Ability to travel out of Mumbai, family support, level of education; all these are factors that must be taken into account when deciding the future. The students complete the programme with a genuine idea of what the world of work looks like. It is easy to disregard entry-level jobs as easy, to not take into account the long hours worked and the effort put in. The point of CareerAware is so that students are prepared for the difficulties that may lie ahead as well as the path to creating their own success.

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