Verizon India, an IT & Technology GCC (Global Capability Centre), in association with Nirmaan Organisation, a Hyderabad-based NGO, launched a Mobile Career Counselling Lab (MCL), a first-of-its-kind initiative in Telangana, equipped with digital infrastructure and technology-based applications to offer end-to-end counselling support to students in rural India.
A similar Mobile Career Counselling Lab (MCL) has been operational in Karnataka for more than a year now and has already supported more than 10,700 students. Marking the inauguration of the initiative in Telangana, the MCL van was flagged off at a Government School in Hyderabad by Vijayaraman Subramanian, Vice President & Managing Director, Verizon India, and other senior management team members from Verizon India along with key representatives from Nirmaan Organisation, including Mayur Patnala, Founder & CEO, Uma Kesani, Co-CEO, Anuradha Pulla, COO, Nikhil Gampa, Partnerships Lead, and Srihari, Operations Lead – Nirmaan Organisation, and Niranjan, Head Master, Zilla Parishad High School, Manikonda.
The mobile counselling lab encompasses personal and tele-counselling services, psychometric tests, technological infrastructure, and mobile applications to equip the aspirants to self-explore and seek out a clear path for a better future. It also offers helpline services, which can be utilised by aspirants to garner any further clarifications that they may have regarding their career prospects. Starting out its journey from Hyderabad, the ‘Career Counselling on Wheels’ initiative in its first year in the region will conduct about 150-200 sessions reaching out to over 10,000 students and youth in about 6-9 remote districts in Telangana. Subsequently, plans are to expand the initiative to other districts, across southern states and eventually to all parts of the country, according to a news release.
Highlighting the importance of the project, Vijayaraman Subramanian, Vice President & Managing Director, Verizon India, said,
At Verizon, we are committed to creating meaningful impact in the communities we operate in, and are thrilled to partner with Nirmaan to launch this unique initiative in Telangana. By bridging the digital divide for students and empowering youth in rural areas, we believe we can unlock tremendous potential and help build a brighter future for all. We are proud to bring our experience and expertise to this project, building on the success of a similar initiative we had launched in Karnataka a while back, impacting the lives of 10,700 plus youth. Together with Nirmaan, we are excited to make a real difference in the lives of young people and their communities. The launch of Mobile Career Counselling Lab re-affirms this commitment as we aim to bring about a positive change with the power of technology.
Highlighting the unique aspects of the initiative, Mayur Patnala, CEO, Nirmaan Organisation, said,
We thank Verizon India for this continued support in expanding the Mobile Career Counselling Lab to Telangana after supporting us in Karnataka. This association will help us to take the MCL programme across multiple remote districts. Our aim is to help these students get access to right information and guidance on various career related aspects. Counselling sessions will be conducted by well-trained career counsellors who will be part of the lab throughout the journey.
Students can also reach out through the Nirmaan Vidya helpline to get all their queries answered. We aspire to support 10,000 students to get access to right information on careers, enrol students and youth for courses, training institutes, colleges, jobs and scholarships with the help of the career lab.
Due to the lack of internet penetration in the interiors of rural India, many students from these regions do not have access to information or relevant platforms for guidance on how they can explore further education or career opportunities. Results from a need assessment survey conducted by the Nirmaan Organisation brought to the fore some key findings like low career aspirations and lack of awareness amongst these youngsters as nearly 77% of the respondents took random decisions as there was no one to guide them, many were aware only about 5 or less than 5 career choices, and most of them being unaware of a single scholarship and unable to apply for any. This unmet need is what spurred the idea of the mobile career counselling lab to help provide access and support to young aspirants from the rural hinterland.
The mobile counselling lab is equipped with 10 Tablets installed with mobile apps and psychometric assessment, including space for personal counselling. The van will be on the move from an identified site to another, enabling students to connect to a tele-counselling center with a toll-free helpline 18004252425 for queries. The lab also has a TV screen where the counsellors will conduct career workshops and showcase audio and video files for better understanding. Students can self-explore the digital infra-available and can also enrol themselves in a career outreach programme where they can get all the updated information on various career opportunities.
With the support of government departments, local NGOs and village leaders, the mobile lab will be visiting schools, gram panchayat offices, and will be stationed at places where people can benefit the most, said a statement. To ensure the sustainability of the initiative, Nirmaan will also be identifying and building Career Mitras in the villages, and empowering them with the latest information and tools who in turn can support the young aspirants in their learning journey.
Verizon is an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate and a global leader in next-generation communications technology, including 5G and the Internet of Things. Verizon India (Verizon Data Services India) is an extension of the global Verizon teams working on varied systems, applications and initiatives to help deliver the digital experiences that are vital to customers’ lives and businesses’ success.
Nirmaan Organisation is a registered NGO, started by students of BITS Pilani in 2005. The NGO works in the areas of Education, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Social Leadership. Since its inception, Nirmaan has impacted the lives of over 2.5 million beneficiaries with the support of 500+ full-time employees and a 1000+ strong volunteer network, generating 250+ Crore (pa) worth of Social Impact through 12 Flagship Programmes & Social Leadership Initiatives benefiting Children, Women, Youth, and Farmers from diverse social backgrounds across 22 states of India while partnering with 200+ Corporate, Government and Philanthropic partners.