Heading in the Right Direction: Career Counselling Programmes for Young Women

Heading in the Right Direction: Career counselling programmes for young women
Photo: Deepak Malik/UNDP India

Career Guidance Counselling Centres are motivating young women to secure careers that empower them.

For 18 year old Razia Sultan, pursuing a 2-year course in civil draughtsmanship at Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Delhi, a stable career is the most important thing in the world. Razia is the  sole breadearner in her family. Her father doesn't work and her mother died when she was a child, putting all the responsibility of looking after her four younger siblings on Razia’s young shoulders. “I won’t quit. I will be someone. I’ll educate my siblings and fulfil my late mother’s dream.” What Razia needs most is guidance on how to find the right career opportunities that can help her secure her family’s future.


  • Information and counselling sessions on career options for ITI female students women facilitated through Career Guidance Counseling Centres (CGCCs)
  • CGCCs help connect young women with suitable training providers and potential job opportunities
  • Candidates can register on portal providing dedicated career-related services
  • Part of a three-year collaboration between the India Development Foundation, UNDP and Xyntéo, supported by IKEA Foundation

Razia is one of 200 female students of ITI, Nand Nagri, attending a career counselling session facilitated by SEWA (Self Employed Womens Association) Bharat, the All-India Federation of SEWA within the Pankh Program of the SEWA Yuva Shakti Kendras in Delhi. At the half-day programme, students were guided on how to improve their employability skills for the corporate sector. The session touched on a range of topics – preparing for a successful interview, having the necessary communication skills and being professional in the workplace.

Motivated and curious, the ITI students were excited to know more about opportunities to prepare themselves for a career. For Razia, the counselling made her aware of skills she needs to focus on building. Spoken English and communication skills are two such areas this shy but determined student wants to work on. 

The counselling session is part of a larger pilot that aims to provide information and counseling on available career options and job opportunities as well as influence the immediate community to understand and support underprivileged women through Career Guidance Counseling Centres (CGCCs) established in Delhi. These CGCCs also help link aspiring young women with suitable training providers and potential job opportunities.

The CGCCs have been set up by SEWA Bharat in collaboration with Disha project, a three-year partnership between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Xyntéo and India Development Foundation (IDF), supported by IKEA Foundation. The Disha project aims at helping underprivileged women in India learn marketable skills and connect them with income opportunities, so they, their families and future generations can have better opportunities in life.


Apart from the physical CGCCs, young aspiring women can also register on a cloud-based platform, known as the Pankh portal (thepankh.org), which provides services such as work readiness, e-learning, comprehensive mapping of the opportunities existing in the vicinity of a CGCC and direct links with the private sector.

According to Ratna Das, Principal of ITI, Nand Nagri, such counselling sessions will play a significant role in motivating young underprivileged women to go out and pursue careers, and will guide them on a path of empowerment. “More than just training or imparting of knowledge, what these young girls need is motivation, confidence-building and guidance on getting ready for the professional world.”

The CGCCs are an important step toward providing young women like Razia the direction they need to fulfil their dream of being economically secure and ensuring their families’ wellbeing.

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