My friends and I have become aware of the high level of career ignorance amongst secondary school leavers.
Career classes that are conducted by people from the industry and by Career Guidance Advisers are all too often taken lightly by students at secondary school. Most students only start thinking about careers in any depth at all when they have to choose courses at university entry or at the completion of part 1 BSc, BA or other qualifications. It is not surprising then that they are often ill-prepared to make those all important life choices.
Young people often feel that career choices are being made for them. There maybe some truth to this, and it is probably due to the fact that they (young people) quite often have very little to bring to the discussion so that tutors/career advisors are left with no choice but to make an assessment of the young person’s abilities and inclinations, and make recommendations based on that.
This is clearly a less satisfactory process than if young people approached career discussions with well considered ideas about their careers, so that they are able to be equal partners in those discussions. We believe that this lack of knowledge about careers and subsequent ill-informed career decisions most probably contributes to poor job satisfaction eventually. It can also lead to poor performance at university and at professional level; partly due to unsuitable vocation and/or a lack of fulfillment at work.
We also believe that having some idea of the way ahead in terms of career focus gives you greater motivation to do well at your studies.
There could be a place for professionals, especially young professionals to get involved in career counseling at secondary schools or even earlier. This will also help to bring a sense of reality to career counseling sessions. We have, therefore, decided to bring together a group of young professionals from different career fields. This group endeavours to attend career fairs or price giving ceremonies whenever it is convenient and discuss career related issues with students.
The objectives are first to give students an idea of their (young professionals) particular field of work. Secondly, they would attempt to discuss career matters/issues in general and unpack their experiences in the market place. Thirdly, they intend to establish contacts for students who may want more information. Through them, students may be able to contact people of other careers who may not have been to the presentation.
We intend to do as much as we can for students without impeding on our normal career jobs. We think this is an important intervention. Even though we cannot say how much difference our efforts will make, we nonetheless believe that it is worth a try and that it is unlikely to harm anyone.
The important thing is that we will endeavour to be as broad as possible including fields in finance, engineering, health, humanities, arts, agriculture, etc. The other important thing is that we stress the wisdom of starting to think about careers early on in one’s student life. That choosing a career is one of the most important decisions of one’s life and that, therefore, such decision cannot be left to two prior to career interviews. Students need to appreciate that choosing a career is a process rather than an event.
We are publishing this proposal with a hope to attract people who may feel the same about these things and would like join us or to invite us to their schools.
Contact details are;
Or tel: 74588806
Or post: Dr Mogwera Mogalakwe
Private Bag 08
Jwaneng Mine Hospital