Dr. Naseer Ahmed, Date: 6/25/2020
Career counseling and job readiness is a very important skill for every graduating student to acquire which helps them to easily find the jobs they are looking for, understand the job market, and adapt to working conditions. The young graduates in Afghanistan are not aware of the market situation and job-hunting techniques therefore many youths remain unemployed for very long. The frustration of getting a degree and not having a job can create serious problems for youths, their families, and society in general. On the other hand, the job sector (both private and Gov’t) are lacking qualified employees. This gap can be filled with increased support of youth by providing career counseling or job-hunting skills in order to enable to them find better jobs.
The job market in Afghanistan is becoming more competitive with an increase in the number of graduates and limited job opportunities due to a decrease in economic growth. Finding jobs in Afghanistan is also difficult because of the increased dependents on relationships and limitation of transparency in the hiring processes. Therefore, the youths usually struggle to find jobs especially when they are lacking necessary job-hunting skills.
Career counseling is a various serious responsibility that needs to be carried out with empathy and an in-depth understanding of the labor market situation and most importantly directing the youths and giving them hope to a brighter future. Only a few of the educational institutes in Afghanistan are trying to address this gapes through training and a dedicated office for job hunting support. However, they are limiting this important aspect of capacity building to themselves and are not engaging the private sector and other job sectors directly. There is no invitation to motivational speakers or surveys conducted on the job and labor market needs. These efforts are mostly resembled by throwing arrows in the dark without any target and hoping that it will hit the target itself.
It will be very important to motivate and inspire the students for skills and careers that are on high demand in the market. This will increase their interest in learning and using the learned skills in their career development process. The job readiness training must not only focus on job hunting and job management skills but it should also focus on mentally preparing the participants to properly understand the job market, its challenges and the efforts required, a number of attempts, and patience required to get a job. This will can be achieved through sharing experts’ real-life experiences through guest speakers and motivational sessions.
Supplementing internship to the career development initiatives is highly effective which will give the students practical job experience. The culture of internships in Afghanistan is very poor, the Gov’t and international organizations have the responsibility to promote the culture of volunteerism and internships in order to allow the students to learn from doing things practically.
The coaching and mentorships of the youths are also a very important factor in the career development process which is always ignored due to my laziness of institutions and programs. The students will still face problems in searching for jobs, getting ready for interviews, or modifying their CVs according to the job they are applying. The student might have questions or concerns or even need expert advice during their internship periods. The coaching should include the following at a minimum:
- Review and improving CVs
- Briefing and readiness for Interviews
- Performance enhancement tools and skills
- Addressing workplace stress
- Work ethics
Afghan Innovative Consulting Bureau (AICB) is a professional capacity building service provider in Afghanistan operating since 2006. AICB has trained more than 19000 individuals in various managerial skills. AICB has also worked intensively on providing career counseling and job hunting skills training many youths throughout Afghanistan. One of the most relevant projects of Career Counselling was with UN-Habitat where we provided Training of Trainers in Career Counselling and Job hunting for 3 Major Technical and Vocational Skills Institutes (TVETs) in Kabul, Jalalabad and Kunar provinces. The Project included organizing job fairs events and internships support.