According to a recent article in The Guardian, 1 out of 3 university students are unhappy with the course they have chosen, and this figure is on the rise. The fact that close to half a million students are dissatisfied with their current educational decisions and future career goals is proof that career guidance is a necessity throughout high school.
Career guidance encompasses a broad range of services that help individuals manage their long-term educational and professional goals. The decision of what to study at university is overwhelming, and many students decide university courses based on what is familiar, or on what is popular. Making informed, well-researched decisions will better prepare students to thrive in their chosen career paths.
Why Is Career Guidance Important?
From the moment a student begins the last two years of high school – whether it is called IB, A-levels, or junior and senior year – he or she is asked questions about where they want to attend college, and what they want to study. Because so many students are overwhelmed and daunted by the options that lie ahead, many let their parents and peers influence their university and career decisions. There are a number of contradictory studies that have shown that children are less likely to follow their parents career paths (and vice-versa). For the ones that show that students are less likely to follow their parents careers, the influence on from the parents (especially if they want them to take the same career as their father/mother) may not be the best and unbiased advice could lead to a career path that may be different from the interests, passion and strengths of a child.
Students’ career paths are as unique as they are – influenced by their personalities, ambitions, backgrounds, and interests. The right combination of career guidance and counselling can shape a student’s future, and ensure that they thrive in their academic and professional lives.
Where can Career Guidance be sought?
Through teachers, school counsellors, and career advisors, students can have access to a range of resources that help them understand and meet their career goals. Homeroom and subject teachers often have the most interaction with a student and can be the best judges of a student’s aptitude, personality, skills, and work ethic. Most school counselors work with secondary school students, although many are increasingly speaking to students as young as 10 about what career planning means. School counselors can often work with students to understand their psychological and social concerns, and with teachers to improve students’ mental and emotional wellbeing in the classroom. Careers advisors and guidance counselors, on the other hand, work closely with students and their parents to develop students’ achieve realistic academic and career goals. They help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed academically and professionally.
In addition, careers counselors organise career and college fairs, talks on improving key skills, and offer personal guidance through the college application process.
Parents play the role of guides throughout pivotal times of learning and growth, and will often act as facilitators in helping to choose a career path. It is crucial, however, for parents to be supportive and encouraging, but avoid bringing their own biases into the process. Communication between parents, their child(ren), and the school’s guidance counsellor is a key part of ensuring this process is as smooth as possible.
According to an article published on The Guardian schools should:
● Include career based content study in the classrooms.
● Understand the career choice of students and ways to arrange activities.
● Provide every required information to all the students.
● Work experience opportunities to all the students.
According to The Good Career Guidance in England, Gatsby has set 8 benchmarks which have been included by various schools. This will help young students make better and informed decisions in the future.
A stable career programme: every school and college should follow set career guidance and programs for teachers, students, government etc.
Learning from career and labor information: valuable information about future study and labor market to be shared with all students and their parents.
Addressing the needs of each pupil: career guidance requirement differs from student to student. Schools should work towards making flexible opportunities to cater to different demands.
Linking curriculum learning to careers: school teachers to include career based study. (For example arranging mock interviews, writing business letters)
Encounters with employers and employees: regular seminars, mentoring and educational fairs with employers help students to understand about employment.
Experience of workplaces: students can have personal experience of workplaces through regular industry visits. This will help in building future career opportunities.
Encounter with further and higher education: learning should not be limited to a particular field or a subject.
Personal Guidance: as per students’ requirement, every student should have equal guidance opportunities from school teachers or a professional counselor.
With the right guidance at the right time, students can make the best decisions for the educational and career prospects. They can better understand not only what career choice is right for them, but also the educational journey that will get them there. Through a holistic approach of understanding students’ potential, interests, strengths, and aptitudes, students can be better positioned to thrive and succeed.
Tavvy has created a platform where students can talk to people who have a similar career to the other they are potentially thinking of. Speaking to a few people about their journey and what they think of a specific career may also be a good idea.