When Daniel Kibera was in primary school, he was 100% sure he wanted to be a pilot. In form one, he thought engineering sounded cool. In Form II, he started doubting engineering after visiting one of the leading colleges in a career tour. In Form IV, he was smitten by a girl in the neighboring school who was crazy about law, and Daniel could hear of nothing else but law. The confusion made him waste one year at home still undecided and at logger heads with his parents. He ended up taking finance, but today, he is an agri-business entrepreneur.
Daniel is not alone. Many students & parents often find themselves on career crossroads. Like one career expert put it, “If you don’t know where you are going, any way will lead you there.’ This idiom applies to career decisions to thousands of people. It is incumbent upon each individual to own the process of making a career decision. Unfortunately, very few people know what career to pursue from a young age. For the majority, this is an arduous task that requires expert assistance.
Upon completion of secondary education, many students join colleges and technical institutes to pursue careers that do not match their capabilities and often make vocational choices based on hearsay and speculation. Others choose to follow their peers abroad ill prepared to deal with the culture shock and lifestyle pace of a first world nation.
Below are some of the specific factors which combine to make career decisions particularly difficult for young people.
1. Career decisions are about identity. Young people make choices not simply about what they want to do, but about who they want to be. This makes the decision of which path to choose far more complex than a match of skills and interests to occupational requirements. A one-to-one career counselling or taking a career and college readiness course can help ensure that young people identify how they might be able to incorporate a career into their life plan.
2. There are too many options. The hundreds or even thousands of choices available to young people can be overwhelming. A typical response to the myriad choices is to become close minded, limiting perceived options to a manageable number. Career practitioners therefore need to find out where each young person is in their decision making, and offer support in both narrowing and broadening the number of options they are considering.
3. The information young people have about the world they are entering is usually incomplete and biased and is often downright wrong. Career practitioners can help young people to identify where their particular gaps in knowledge lie, and support them in making judgements about whether the information they have is reliable.
4. Young people are faced with these decisions too early. Common sense tells us that it’s a big ask to expect young people to know what they want from a workplace they have barely experienced. They need lots of exposure to careers and the world of work from very early until they finally make a decision. Making a DECISION NOW is a herculean task!
5. Finally, there are many powerful but unconscious processes at play, and whilst young people put a great deal of faith in their gut instincts, this isn’t always the most reliable way to make a good decision. A charismatic speaker will get young people interested in their field, regardless of its suitability and stereotypes are pervasive and entrenched from an early age. Career practitioners can help young people bring some of their unconscious decision-making processes into the forefront of their minds.
A better way is to take a Career and College Readiness course. This is an online transitional course for youth leaving high school into life after high school. The course is designed to impart skills to anyone aspiring to join tertiary education or any post-secondary training locally or internationally and other post high school options available. It is able to answer questions like; Who am I? What next after high school? What are the different types of post high school options? What is College success? What if i don't go to college? The course takes Four (4) Weeks and has interactive activities to enrich learning experiences. It has helped many discover unlimited possibilities!
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