By Ranjan K Baruah
Most of us who are reading this article are young people. Being students in colleges or universities or in schools we are engaged in different activities. There are few days which are focussed for young people like national youth day and international youth day. In India, 12th January is observed as Youth Day. I am sure that few of us are engaged in different activities inside the campus like being part of the National Service Scheme or National Cadet Corps or Junior Red Cross or Scouts and Guides. Apart from being part of a different voluntary society we can also take up our career with young people.
Are you passionate about helping young people to develop good character and life skills that will help them succeed in their life? Then, you may consider a career in youth development. Well, let us understand scopes and opportunities related to youth development in India and abroad. There are currently more than 1 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. However, more than half of all children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are attending school.
India is one of the youngest nations in the world and is expected to have a very favourable demographic profile in the near future. This is a great opportunity as well as a challenge for all of us. Transforming education is possible when young people take up their responsibility and they are not deprived of their rights. Apart from government, youth led organisations or organisations working for youth development may contribute positively for achieving targets of SDGs.
Professionals working in youth development do activities like Research, create, teach, lead, and support programs aimed at improving the lives of young adults, provide a safe and positive environment in which classes or activities are held, teach classes and facilitate workshops, lead different activities, facilitate support groups, organize field trips and exposure programmes, etc. After the pandemic scopes have increased as many professionals have to be engaged in the post COVID 19 activities with students and youth to boost up their confidence level in different areas of the country.
Job titles commonly held by youth development professionals are youth development specialist, youth development program coordinator, youth development professional, youth development counsellor, program manager, program coordinator, program director, youth director, outreach director, etc. One may study courses like Master of Social Work or Development Studies. There are courses like youth development in India and abroad. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development offers courses like M.A. Social Work (Youth and Community Development). Experienced persons may take up short term courses offered by specialised agencies on youth development.
Career prospects are in different avenues like in government projects and departments like youth development; professional practice in NGOs and INGOs; scope for advanced studies in youth in India and abroad, teaching in the field of youth studies, training and consultancy services, scope for development and practice-orientated research, etc. Professionals may explore innovative practices/modules for addressing youth issues and to ensure social inclusion and justice and they may also establish organizations in the area of youth development.
12th January is observed as National Youth Day and this kind of event brings more opportunities for people working in the field of youth development. Though there are courses but there are individuals who have done remarkable work without much formal degree. Passion is must and important if anyone wants to work with young people. Apart from qualifications like post graduation it is important to have all required employability skills to excel in the field of youth development. Though some one may work without a very formal degree, it is advantageous to have degrees and academic qualifications as the challenges of employability have increased.
(The author is a career mentor, skill trainer, motivational speaker and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected] for any career related queries)