Career Guidance for School Students
Career guidance is a vital but often neglected part of schooling. Imparting knowledge and developing skills in a child is simply the first step of the long journey of their careers. In school children are taught a variety of subjects and they get to choose from a variety of extracurriculars as well. However, post their schooling, they must narrow down their options and choose subjects and courses that they are most interested in or that they excel at. Choosing the correct field to focus in, and then choosing the correct college, internships, jobs, and more can be a very daunting and confusing process. Planning their future can seem intimidating to most school children, but career guidance is a tool that can help break down this complicated process into smaller steps that are easy to manage.
A lot of schools hire specialised career guides or counsellors who give personalised attention to each child. The student and the guide have multiple conversations over the course of several months or even years, where together they figure out the best, most viable career paths for the child. Career guidance can help children gain awareness and clarity, set definite goals and create plans to achieve those goals.
Important Aspects of Career Guidance
Career guidance is not simply having a discussion with a child about his likes and dislikes. It is a more complex process with multiple steps, at the end of which the student emerges with clarity about their goals and a plan to achieve them. Here are some important aspects of career guidance:
- Awareness – Most students are not fully aware about the multiple career choices that are open to them. They may have limited knowledge or certain biases that prevent them from being open to various jobs. Career guides educate students about all possible careers for them and encourage them to be open towards all alternatives.
- Psychometric tests – Career guidance often involves students taking standardised psychometric tests as well as interest and aptitude tests, all of which allow the children, as well as parents and teachers to gain a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, interests and capabilities of the child. This helps them choose a viable career.
- Planning – Perhaps the most important part of career guidance is creating a plan of action for the student. After taking into consideration his/her skills and interests, the career guide helps the student shortlist some possible options for the future. They can keep an open mind while also creating multiple, flexible plans for future education, job experience, internships, training, etc.
- Skill development – Career guidance doesn’t end once tentative plans for the future are made. The mentors help students to take steps to achieve those plans and goals as well. Educating children on the various higher education options, training courses, diplomas, etc. available to them and encouraging them to develop the necessary skills is also an important part of career guidance.
Benefits of Career Guidance
- Determining strengths and weaknesses
The first step of career guidance is discussion about the student’s strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, opportunities, aspirations as well as interests. This process allows a child to evaluate themselves with external guidance and figure out what their main strengths and weaknesses are. They learn which areas they are naturally inclined towards and where they need to work upon themselves.
- Gaining clarity
Deciding what career to choose is perhaps one of the most important decisions one takes in one’s life. Many children find themselves confused about which path they want to choose, especially when they have interests in different fields. Career guidance helps children gain clarity regarding what they are most suited to pursue, taking into consideration various factors like their talents, their interests, future job opportunities, etc.
- Setting definite goals
Not having a predetermined long term goal in mind can become one of the biggest roadblocks in a child’s development. If a student is unsure of which direction they want to go in, career-wise, then they cannot start working towards that goal. This may lead to them feeling lost and confused. Career guidance helps them set definite goals that they can begin working towards from a young age.
- Building confidence
Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses is an important part of self-esteem. Similarly, dispelling indecision and confusion about one’s career path can also help in building self confidence. Career guidance helps students become sure of themselves and believe in themselves, thereby offering them the confidence to go out into the world and achieve their dreams.