Talking about the Programmes of the Centre for Career Planning and Counselling (CCPC), University of Kashmir

"Our Centre offers career counselling as well, wherein students get proper guidance for their career planning and development so that they are able to make right choices for their career and jobs at the right time of their life."
"Our Centre offers career counselling as well, wherein students get proper guidance for their career planning and development so that they are able to make right choices for their career and jobs at the right time of their life."Special arrangement

Prof. Geer Mohammad Ishaq is a Professor of Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir where he has been working over the last twenty years. At present he holds the additional charge of Director, Centre for Career Planning and Counselling (CCPC), University of Kashmir.

He has published more than 50 research papers and presented same number of papers in various national and international conferences. He has delivered more than 130 extension lectures outside his department and has published more than 120 popular articles in the print media.

Recently he has been appointed as Adviser to the Price Monitoring and Resource Unit (PMRU) of the Drug and Food Control Organization, J&K and has also been appointed as a Member of the PG Curriculum Committee of the Pharmacy Council of India, New Delhi besides being a peer team member of NAAC, Bangaluru.

Q. What role CCPC has been playing in coaching and guiding the students?

Under the dynamic, visionary and inspiring leadership of our Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nilofer Khan, Centre for Career Planning and Counselling of the University of Kashmir has been marching ahead with its mission of imparting career guidance, motivation, counselling, skill-enhancement, coaching and placement of our students.

This Centre has been established in the year 2004 with a mandate of professional development, career counselling, placements, capacity building and coaching of students for various competitive examinations like IAS, JKAS, NET, JRF, NEET, JEE, CMAT, UGAT, Banking PO services etc.

Every year we offer such coaching programs for various competitive examinations not only for the students of our own University but also for other potential candidates, particularly from socially and economically weaker sections of the society, who aspire to opt for civil services. 

Over the last two year we provided coaching for IAS, JKAS, NEET, JEE, NET and JRF examinations to more than 600 students. Twenty students of CCPC have in the recent past qualified the preliminary examination of JKAS examination and are now preparing for the Mains.

Four students have qualified JEE examination for engineering at the national level as well. Another mandate of the Centre is to conduct campus recruitments and placements in the public and private sector.

Nine placement drives have been conducted by the Centre over the past two years during which 152 students have been recruited by various reputed companies at an average annual pay package of Rs. 5 lakhs whereas another ten placement drives are going on at present.

Main aim of the Centre is to create more and more placement opportunities for the students and link them up with the corporates through campus recruitment drives.

Our Centre offers career counselling as well, wherein students get proper guidance for their career planning and development so that they are able to make right choices for their career and jobs at the right time of their life.

Q. Private coaching academies charge students a hefty amount as tuition fee for coaching in various competitive examinations. How is your Centre better than those private coaching academies?

We are offering an absolutely free of cost IAS and JKAS coaching program at present that is a fully funded program by the Mission Youth J&K. Last year also we offered a free IAS/JKAS prelims coaching programme to students with financial support received from the Central Wakf Council, New Delhi. These students were also provided free course material. Total strength of the present batch of IAS trainees is around 100 students. Students are getting expert guidance and full support under this program. We get resource persons from outside J&K as well as from within the university. Soon we are going to start NEET/JEE and NET/JRF coaching programmes as well. NEET/JEE coaching programme will be of four months duration whereas NET/JRF coaching programme will be a crash course of one month duration. Private coaching centres are quite expensive, whereas we offer coaching on highly nominal charges. We don’t make money out of it but mostly run our courses on no-profit-no-loss basis for the benefit of our students. Our coaching programs are open for all the students. We usually select students on first-come-first-serve basis, however, if we receive a large number of students for our coaching programs, then an entrance test is conducted by the Directorate of Admissions of our University wherein meritorious students are selected for coaching.

Q. How far has the Centre achieved success in the placement of students?

A total of 150 students have been placed in reputed companies during 11 campus recruitment drives conducted by our Centre over the last two years. Recently we had campus recruitments done by private companies like Indus Towers, Clarivate Analytics, Extramarks, Hyderabad, Serv Staffing, Hoping Minds, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and TATA Advanced System Limited (TASL) Hyderabad. Among them Indus Towers is one of the biggest company of tele-communication towers in India whereas TASL is the biggest aeronautics company of India. At present eight campus placement drives are going on at different stages in collaboration with reputed companies like Vedanta Metallurgics, Aujas Cybersecurity, Bitwise USA, Conglomerate IT, Codequotient, Clickscampus, Learndesk and Saleshark. Negotiations are also going on with Reliance, Techarc and Girnar for campus placement of our students. Last year a multi-national company IQVIA recruited 55 students as drug safety associates. It was work from home, so they were provided laptops as well. A few statistics students were also recruited by them. We are in negotiation with some of the reputed Bangalore-based companies like Quintiles, Infosys, Metrocorp, Wipro etc for campus recruitment of our students. In future we will invite more corporate houses so that more students are recruited by them.

Q. What are the various stages that a student has to go through during the recruitment process?

There are multiple stages in the recruitment process. First we issue a circular for students to register their interest online on our official website. Then the first level shortlisting of students is done by us followed by the second level shortlisting that is done by the recruiting company depending upon the qualifications, merit, experience and other selection criteria fixed by them. Then the students have to attend an interactive session which is called pre-placement talk which is followed by a written or online test conducted by the company on the basis of which students are shortlisted further.  Then a group discussion takes place and finally personal interviews are conducted. This whole process is completed within 25 to 30 days.

Q. What steps have been taken by the Centre for imparting skill-oriented courses to students?

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Mumbai under which there are 5 programs going on. The main program for engineering graduates is an online skill-oriented program entitled “Youth Employment Programme” wherein communications skills of students are developed. I have seen that students have good marks, their credentials are high, but they lack soft skills like interpersonal skills, communications skills, IT proficiency, quantitative aptitude and life skills. The training in these areas is direly needed by the students. Experts from TATA consultancy services provide training to students online on weekends absolutely free of cost. Very soon we are going to launch another program with them for non-engineering graduates where they have kept the provision for 200 students, and they will be training our students in these very skills that are known as foundational skills which students lack because they are not a part of their curriculum, so we are giving them this kind of training. We also have an MoU with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL), Hyderabad and another one with Deep Minds Private Ltd. The MoU with TCS has other programs like adult literacy programme where uneducated adults are given free education and another is Entrepreneurship Development Programme for Tourism. We keep on signing MOUs and collaborating with corporates and reputed companies for the benefit of our students. However, reputation, market-base and credibility of the company is verified before signing an MoU.

Q. What steps have been taken for effective career counselling of the students?

In every department of the university, one career counsellor has been nominated so there are 66 certified career counsellors from various departments and centres of the university who have been trained. We have got them trained through Mindler in online mode, which has a tie up with an American based organization. The TASL team also conducted two basic workshops in physical mode. This year they are again coming for an advanced workshop.  The mandate of career counsellors is to guide the students and counsel them whenever needed. This has happened with many students that are indecisive about what to do in future. Based on their capabilities, merit and other interests, career counsellors guide them. If a student is skill oriented, creative and analytical, we tell him to join industry so that he can innovate and create something new. We counsel students directly at our Centre too and facilitate them in making a better career choice. We have conducted counselling sessions this year for the students of many schools and colleges.

Q. What are your future plans for making career counselling more productive and fruitful?

We are thinking of offering a short-term course in career planning and development. PG Diploma course, certificate course and short-term courses can be offered in this field because at our centre we have good infrastructure, so we need to utilize it to its fullest and offer courses to our students as well as teachers. Career guidance is emerging as a full-fledged discipline and science. It is not limited to just making a career choice. There are so many things involved like psychology, personality traits, psychosocial and psychoanalytical theories and concepts that can influence the career choice of a student. We need to study these facets too. How the psychosocial development and the interests, atmosphere, value system and morals, ethics, mindset of a student influence his career choice has to be studied well because career guidance starts right from the time when a person is born. The atmosphere and ambience in which he grows helps his personality groom that ultimately influences his career choice. This process continues throughout one’s life and sometimes it continues even beyond the retirement of a person. Some people after retirement start a new career as they have skills and interests which are suitable for private companies. So career guidance is a lifelong process and self-actualization helps in realizing his full potential. Some students don’t know what kind of capabilities they can have to excel in their field. In our society, we pressurize students to become doctors or engineers. We don’t see the student’s interests and inclinations. There are psychometric tests and tools where we can check the abilities, interests, and personality traits of a student. We need to study the tools and propagate them.

Q. There are various programs for students across the world. Does the centre inform the students about scholarships, internships and fellowships?

We have created a platform on Facebook where we upload details about fully funded scholarships, internships, and fellowships within and outside India so that students can easily apply. The students don’t have to spend their own money. There are foreign universities who bear all the expenses of students including their tuition fee, airfare, accommodation, food, mess charges and sometimes even medical insurance depending upon their merit and capabilities. In the post-pandemic scenario, many foreign universities are nowadays offering more and more scholarships. The information should reach the students and they should know the time when they have to apply. The information is updated daily on the said platform so that students can avail these opportunities and get exposed to the outside environment and learn. Then the students can come back and serve the society to the best of their abilities.

Q. Do you also conduct workshops and seminars for creating more awareness among the student?

Yes, workshops, seminars, and webinars are conducted regularly by our Centre so that students can get inspired and motivated. We invite motivational speakers to boost the morale of students. A three-day mentoring session in collaboration with Eduaccess was recently held for students belonging to all streams, wherein pass-outs of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Brooks University mentored the students about various opportunities for higher studies in UK-based Universities. Two motivational sessions were also conducted recently by Commissioner Provident Fund, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We also invite serving IAS and KAS officers so that IAS and JKAS aspirants can know how to plan, strategize and prepare for civil services examinations.

Q. Have you instituted any administrative reforms at the Centre for smooth functioning of your office?

Yes, of course. Many administrative reforms have been instituted that include constitution of the purchase committee, reconstitution of the advisory committee, making all purchases and selection of coaching academies through GeM portal only, getting all actions, payments and decisions ratified by competent authorities of the University, marking biometric attendance of students, staff and resource persons daily, installation of interactive smart board in the classroom, obtaining student feedback on each and every resource person engaged by the Centre and conducting class tests of students soon after completion of syllabus of GS each paper of IAS/JKAS.

Q. Do you have any message for the students?

Students should work hard on their skills, competencies, and abilities. They don’t have to stick to their curriculum and syllabus alone but also need to develop their soft skills. Some companies offloaded employees due to covid pandemic and reduced their workforce. Simultaneously at some places like online business platforms and e-commerce services, there is a huge demand. Students have to see where the demand lies and what skills are required to survive in the industry. The general pattern that I have observed is that every corporate or industry is ready to recruit the skilful and talented students. Therefore, the students should upgrade their skills which have demand in the global job markets at present.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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