Sreevidhya Santosh, a leading Indian career counselor, is visiting Kuwait on 15 and 16 January to participate in the India Education Exhibition 2016, which will be held at Ramada Hotel, Al Riggae.
With a proven track record in team and confidence building, Ms. Sreevidhya helps people recognize and realize their potential. Born and brought up in a rural hamlet of Kerala, Ms. Sreevidhya started working at the age of 18 and earned degrees through distance education programs proving that skills are more important than formal education. An innovative and result driven leader, she focuses on achieving exceptional results in highly competitive environments that demand continuous improvement. Over the years she has counseled more than 10,000 students, who have benefited and gained knowledge and successfully planned their future in effective manner. In a recent exclusive interview with The Times Kuwait, Ms. Sreevidhya shares her experience as a counselor, motivator and career guide to young students.
Tell us a little about your desire to motivate youngsters.
Over the years I have seen that most youngsters get into wrong careers, often without even knowing what they really want. For example, if a person is interested in the job profile of a mechanical engineer, he takes up mechanical engineering without having an in-depth knowledge of the field. It is after he joins that he realizes that there is more to it than just mechanics. It was seeing this that I decided to help in whatever way I could.
How important is career counseling and are schools doing enough?
Schools and universities mostly go hand in hand. Schools invite university professors to talk on career guidance, but most of the time, these counselors end up talking only about the fields and courses available in their respective colleges. This results in misguided students who think that their choices are limited only to the ones mentioned in the sessions.
Tell us about your Calibri Training and Development initiative.
Calibri assists in personality development and helps individuals reach their maximum potential. Most of the time students go for courses that are in high-demand such as engineering or medical courses Calibri has an expert base of highly experienced and qualified consultants and trainers. They train and help take education to a whole new level.
What does Calibri do different from other career counselors?
Unlike others, Calibri is not associated with any universities. Today there are a number of fields and degrees to choose from. Before there were only general and professional degrees, so it was easy to chose, but today it is different. This is where Calibri steps in.
As a career counselor, what are the some of the shortcomings you notice in our education system?
I think, the main shortcoming in our education system currently is the lack of exposure provided to students about the career prospects available to them in different fields.
From your experience in the Gulf region, do you think students here have an understanding of the job market requirements in India?
If you see from the Gulf point of view, students here are not aware of anything. They do not know about the jobs available because nowhere in the education system have they been taught or exposed to the job industry. Our educational system focuses only on academics. Students here are good at academics but they are not career wise.
How much importance is placed on learning soft skills in schools?
There is no importance placed for soft skills or experience of any sort in schools today. It is only academics that matter.
Are schools and parents pushing students towards professional courses without taking into regard the personal interests of the child?
It is not about pushing. Even the child does not know what he or she wants. If a parent is a doctor, the child will be exposed to only the medical field because that is what the parent knows. This way most of the children follow the footsteps of their parents.
What are some of the courses that are currently in demand that you think may not be relevant in a few years time?
There is no ‘in demand’ course as such. Every job has its own prospects. It depends on you and what you will become. Today’s education is entirely different from before. Before bank jobs could be accomplished only by learning commerce, but today anyone with proper knowledge could have a bank job. With technology development people are changing and it is technology that will matter the most in future. Who knows to perform the job will get the job.
What was your most rewarding experience?
My most rewarding experiences are when my old students call me back and express their gratitude.
Apart from training what is your greatest passion?
Public speaking is my greatest passion apart from training students.