HOW CAN CAREER GUIDANCE HELP THE YOUTH FOSTER A BETTER FUTURE?
In the past, youth had no much opportunity for exploration when they entered the job market. Majority of them were not willing to experiment with their future and thus ended up either in engineering or medicine or in any other conventional profession. Today, due to technological advancements and opening of new industries, youth is exposed to a wide variety of career options. It extends from the typical professions to more flexible and dynamic jobs. But this diversity of career opportunities often leave youth perplexed and they find it difficult to decide which career suits them best. Majority of them end up in a career that their parents choose for them or the society admires the most. But once they begin working, eventually they may realize that the profession they chose doesn’t suit their skills or interests. Another problem could be that even if the skills match, the person may not be fit for the workplace environment. Inappropriate selection of career may thus lead to misalignment between the person, his or her job, and the environment. These issues result in job dissatisfaction and job burnout. Thus it is very important in today’s scenario to provide students with proper career guidance so that they can decide what is best for their life.
As stated by the OECD Career Guidance Policy Review (2014), career guidance is defined as the services and activities provided to individuals to facilitate their educational, training, and occupational choices as well as career management. Parsons (1908) stated that occupational choice will be effective only when individuals understand their unique abilities and become aware of jobs and labor market. Career guidance provides with this insight and help individuals to unveil the association between their skills and the job market. Career guidance services consist of providing career information, career education, and career counseling (Akkok, 2015). According to UNESCO, career counseling of youth consists of the following characteristics:
- Increasing self-awareness about one’s interests, values, abilities, and personality style
- Providing adequate resources that inform about professions and job opportunities
- Facilitating decision-making among youth so that they can identify the profession that best suits their skills and personality style
- Assisting youth to be dynamic administrators of their career paths and to adapt to new experiences including career transitions
Athanasou and Esbroeck (2008) wrote a paper about the International and social perspective on career guidance. The researchers described about the historical roots of career guidance. The origins of career guidance can be traced back from psychology. It emerged from trait theories and extended to differential psychology and organizational behavior. In this era, career guidance was perceived as a necessity in occupations and personnel management. Later the process was influenced by developmental perspectives which led to exploration of career development. It was then replaced by behaviorism and behavioral modification, followed by cognitive approaches including decision making. Along with these transitions, the guidance factor in the process was also progressing. It made headway from mere advice giving into directive guidance, and later into career counseling and facilitation of self-direction or self-construction (Athanasou and Esbroeck, 2008).
In her paper on career guidance and student counseling, Dr Radhika Kapur mentioned about the major dimensions of career management. It is necessary for individuals to develop career management skills. It begins with appropriate identification of one’s career goals and objectives. It should be followed by a career development plan in which the best alternatives have to be identified with regard to disciplines, requirements, abilities, and interests. The researcher also reminds about the need for professional development along with career management and suggests that both should go hand in hand. Successful implementation of all these aspects of career management requires informative career conversations that enable appropriate decision-making.
Career guidance is not only the process of communicating job opportunities to students or the assessment of their abilities. It also involves conveying information about labor market factors, importance of volunteering, as well as facilitation of decision making skills (Kapur, 2018). Stevenson (2015) explained the process of career guidance. It begins with assessment of existing skills of the individual. It includes guidance interviews that help in identification of one’s potential and thereby developing self-awareness. It is followed by opportunity awareness which aims to understand individual’s knowledge and provide required learning opportunities and information about job market. Once self-awareness and opportunity awareness are developed, career guidance will help in taking the appropriate decisions. The process stops in transition planning in which the individual is assisted in attaining goals and objectives.
Career guidance doesn’t stop in a single session. It’s not just a motivational class or a brief explanation about different career opportunities. Instead it should be a lifelong process that should aid one in their professional development throughout their life. Career guidance should focus on learning interventions and on fostering autonomy among individuals (Akkok, 2015). In a study on the need for career guidance and counseling among students, Bidyalakshmi (2016) identified that majority of students are unable to take decisions and wish that they need proper career guidance to direct them into the appropriate profession. Students reported that they face difficulties in academics as well as personal life that they need someone to listen to their worries and to offer an intellectual solution to their queries. This proves the need for career guidance among students. Thus in the days ahead, it has to be ensured that no student enrolls for a higher education course without attending a comprehensive career guidance program during their school life.