About Mehak Aggarwal: Mehak is the Chief Impact & Enablement Officer - School Market for LaunchMyCareer. With a rich experience spanning more than 15 years in leading educational and edtech platforms, her role involves strengthening B2B relations, strategy, and communication to bring in the necessary synergies in alignment with the company goals. Armed with a deep understanding of the education sector, she engages with key stakeholders in the education system to lead value-driven collaborations to make schools career-progressive. She facilitates the realisation of LMC’s long term vision and mission to ensure that children have access to the right guidance at the right time.
The world as we knew it when we were children could have never prepared us for the world we are living in today. Schools used to be a place to go every day, study some, play games, take tests, and make friends. Today, schooling is so much more than that. Students are learning robotics, chasing F1, participating in global competitions, and whatnot. The fabric of the world has changed so much that schools can’t help but keep up with the times and ensure that learners get plenty of opportunities to test their mettle and amplify their knowledge. Along with assimilating new age learning, children also need to be exposed to skills that will fast-track their absorption in the rapidly changing and highly competitive employment market. As the country’s education hub, schools can play the role of catalysts in reducing unemployment in our country by integrating career education with academics.
Why career-readiness must begin at an early age
Career-readiness is a vital asset in today’s technologically-led environment. While education is all about nurturing fine human beings with knowledge and the right set of values, career-readiness is about preparing students for the future world of work by training them in essential skills that they need to find, acquire, maintain and grow within a job.
Identification of innate skills and talents
At a young age, students may not be able to recognise their true talent or know what they are good at. Before they are exposed to new learning avenues, learners should be guided toward discovering their strengths and identifying their weaknesses. Once they start becoming aware of their innate interests, skill and aptitude, they find a sense of direction and purpose to learning. Career-readiness programs can provide students with opportunities to analyse skills and talents that they can further align with their future careers. The development of future-ready skills must start from junior school to ensure a smooth journey towards college life, where students can pursue higher education suited to their skills.
Encourages critical thinking
Mere bookish knowledge isn’t enough to strive and thrive in a corporate world. In order to analyse and interpret the complexity of situations at a workplace, critical thinking and problem solving skills are a must. If students are exposed to challenging situations early on in their lives, they will be better equipped with problem solving skills required at every stage of life. Introducing real-life skills during school life encourages students to move beyond grades. It pushes them to research matters beyond the curriculum while enhancing their worldview.
While technical skills are absolutely essential, it is equally important to be able to communicate effectively. Communication skills and verbal ability are crucial in today’s time. Learners must get ample opportunities to articulate their viewpoints through participation in group activities, debates and speech competitions, theatre, Mathalons, and more so that they can become confident speakers and convey their thoughts in an effective manner.
Promotes job-readiness before completion of education
As of now, students are expected to think about their future at a later stage of school life, when they have to pick among different streams after high school or while choosing an undergraduate program. But, it is upon educators and guardians to mould children with the right knowledge and awareness about future careers, to enable them to learn workplace-readiness skills even before the completion of formal education and give them an early head start.
Why career-linked learning is the need of the hour
Recent studies reveal that only 25 percent of Indian youth have employable skills by the time they leave college. A lack of awareness about emerging careers and a negligible career-readiness quotient dampens their chances of sustainable growth in the employment market. Real education involves preparing learners for the future world of work by empowering them with skills that allow them to envision their career paths from a young age. This is why career-linked learning needs to be inculcated as an inherent part of school education.
In the global job market, new technologies such as augmented reality, machine learning, and automation are disrupting employment opportunities across the globe. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1 billion jobs, which is approximately one-third of all jobs worldwide, are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade. Even today, millions of new job opportunities are being created and millions of others are being displaced by new ones that offer better remuneration and recognition. In such a dynamic world, there’s a critical need for the development of skill sets among children to prepare them for the future world of work. When learners are groomed in workplace-readiness from a young age, it enhances their confidence, brings them up to par with global counterparts and prepares them for the dynamic careers landscape.