Article 1:Creating Paths to Success: Assisting Your Teen’s Career Journey

motivational-composition-goal-achievement (1)

Career Guidance: Notes for Parents

What should my child study after Class 10? Which course is best for my child? What career should my child aim for? These are questions that often invade the minds of parents who have children approaching the end of high school (Class 10) or higher secondary school (Class 12). Career choice-making is a challenging task in the present times with the multitude of career options that are available today. Adding to this challenge is the volatility of the labor market as a result of global economic changes sweeping across the world. In this changing world of work, new jobs keep emerging as others become redundant. Students face the challenge of being able to make career choices that would have scope in the future and are also suitable to their interests and talents. Questions related to career choices confuse parents as much as they do young students. Parents may always not have the knowledge and information required to guide their children properly with their career decisions. A healthy career choice should be suited to the child’s interests and talents. Parents can play a key role in helping a child to identify their interests, talents, and potential. Parents can observe the patterns in the child’s likes and talents over the childhood years. Career choice is a process that should occur over a period of time. Parents and children can work together during this period to make well-informed decisions about careers. The Jiva model of career guidance has identified four broad tasks related to making career choices: self-understanding, knowing the world of work, finding career alternatives, and career preparation.

Task 1: Self-Understanding

Effective career choice-making starts with helping the child become more self-aware. Discovering oneself is the beginning of discovering one’s career. Self-understanding for the student must be something that is concrete and real. The students should start learning about their interests, aptitudes, and career beliefs.

What are Interests?
Interests are activities that draw a person’s attention and evoke curiosity. Things that a person wants to pursue further, activities that a person considers worthwhile and enjoys, all reflect that individual’s interests. During the initial stages of career development, the child may be drawn to a wide range of activities. As the individual grows and matures, interests
Are said to crystallize into a unique pattern.

What are Aptitudes?
Aptitudes are the individual’s capabilities and talents – what one would be naturally good at. Aptitudes point to activities in which the person is likely to have the highest achievements with suitable effort and training. Knowing what are the child’s interests and aptitudes is a key component of the career choice-making process.

Interest and aptitude – it is the combination that matters
Interests and aptitudes are both essential aspects of self-discovery. A limitation of some systems of career counseling is that the focus is brought to bear on just one of these two facets of the individual’s personality. Some systems are driven by analysis of interests, while others lay emphasis on aptitude tests. According to the Jiva model, the analysis of interests and aptitudes for self-understanding is not an either-or questionable. The task before the counsellor is to help the young person discover his/her interests as well as his/her talents. Comprehensive career counselling therefore consists of methods whereby interests and aptitudes could be assessed and compared with each other. It is possible that some of a person’s interests might not match the individual’s aptitudes. Similarly, it is also possible that the individual may not show an interest in careers linked to some of his/her aptitudes. The figure provides a schematic representation of this interaction between interests and aptitudes.

It is important, therefore, that the young person discovers the point of overlap between interests and aptitudes. The Jiva model of career guidance refers to this overlap as ‘potential’. It is the blend of a person’s interests and aptitudes. It reflects the activities for which a person has a talent and the same time also likes and enjoys. Finding the blend between interests and aptitudes would point the person to careers that he/she would enjoy as well as succeed in.

What are career beliefs?

Career Beliefs are strongly held opinions about the process of career choice or about the world of work. Attitudes and career myths could strongly influence career decision-making. Prestige, for example, is a powerful influence on career choice. Certain occupations are believed to be ‘prestigious’, while others are not. Competition for these ‘prestigious’ careers is so intense, that selection criteria become unrealistic and often corrupt. This race toward a handful of careers, leaves in its wake a large number of young people who don’t ‘make it’. It also causes disinterest in the various other careers that are available and perhaps even more lucrative.

Task 2: Knowing the World of Work

The world of work comprises all the different career opportunities open to the child. Career choices are often limited to the careers that the child knows or has heard about. Facilitating an understanding of the world of work widens the child’s horizons. Knowing the world of work entails learning about the characteristics of a career, its projected scope for development, eligibility criteria for entry, entrance procedures, and so on. It is also important that the career chooser has a good idea of the tasks related to a career and the main interest-aptitude that a career draws from. Career information can be found from sources such as daily newspapers, magazines, the government’s newspaper called the Employment News, and of course the internet. Here again, parents can play an important role in teaching their children about the world of work. For example, parents can speak to their professional colleagues to learn more about their careers and then discuss this information with their own children. Learning about a career, before entering that career, can go a long way in contributing to success in that career.

Task 3: Identifying Career Alternatives

After learning about interests, talents and beliefs and exploring and learning about career options, the student must be able to arrive at a set of careers that he or she would be most comfortable with and suited to their interests and abilities. These are called career alternatives. Students very often commit the error of planning for just one career. Career alternatives are a set of two to three career options that provide back-up options, in case the first option does not work out.

Task 4: Career Preparation

Once career alternatives have been chosen, the student’s next task is to begin career preparation. In order for it to be effective, career preparation should be planned with the support of the family. Career preparation involves making a career development plan. A career development plan is a clear blueprint for career development. This requires the student to find out more about each career alternative – developing a detailed description of the paths leading to these careers, listing of eligibility criteria, entrance examinations, important addresses, dates and deadlines that the student must follow, and so on. Career preparation also involves gaining skill literacy and work experience. Promoting skill literacy is an essential aspect of career preparation. Skill literacy can be enhanced through work experience, internships, and placements. Parents are a valuable network that can be used to plan internship programmes. Parents can play a key role in helping their child in different stages of career exploration and selection. The next articles in this series will look at each of the four steps and highlight the role that parents can play in supporting their child’s career development

This article is a part of a series of articles developed especially for parents by The Promise Foundation through its Jiva Career Guidance Programme. For more information please contact Naushad Awadia who is a licensed Jiva Career Counsellor in your area at [email protected] or write to us at [email protected]