Career counselling and influences that can accelerate your future plans

By Teboho Polanka

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There are various assumptions underlying the practice of career counselling. These include the following perspectives:

  1. People have the ability and opportunity to make career choices for their lives. The amount of freedom in choices is partially dependent upon the social, economic, and cultural context of individuals.
  2. Career counsellors assist people to explore, pursue and attain their career goals.

Career counselling basically consists of four elements:

(a) Helping individuals to gain greater self-awareness in areas such as interests, values, abilities, and personality style.

(b) Connecting students to resources so that they can become more knowledgeable about jobs and occupations.

(c) Engaging students in the decision-making process in order that they can choose a career path that is well suited to their own interests, values, abilities and personality style.

(d) Assisting individuals to be active managers of their career paths (including managing career transitions and balancing various life roles) as well as becoming lifelong learners in the sense of professional development over the lifespan.

The reasons why individuals enter particular occupations vary according to the amount of importance placed on personal preferences, such as interests, or external influences, such as labour market trends or parental expectations.

 

However, these influences continue to play a major role:

Self-awareness

When individuals are considering career options, it is useful to assist them in attaining greater self-awareness by asking about their interests, values, and skills in order that they might better understand which jobs are suited to them and which ones are not a good match.

Someone who is well matched to the job is likely to be more motivated and successful in his/her work, and to enjoy the job more than the person who is poorly suited.

Labour market information

Individuals need to gather information about the kinds of jobs that are available to them. This kind of information may be found through books or websites, as well as through a labour market information service that tracks current labour market trends and opportunities in the region or country.

Along with using books and websites or a labour market information service, students can talk to family members, potential employers, and members of the community to ask questions about work options available.

Decision-making/ setting goals

In making a decision about the kind of work to pursue, it is important to integrate self-awareness with labour market information to arrive at the best fit for the person. It is often useful to engage in a discussion and weigh the costs and benefits of the various choices. Setting both short-term and long-term goals is also a useful activity for students to engage in.

 

Be sure to conclude with the following self-evaluation or examination:

  • Who are you? This deals with the future person an individual aspires to be i.e a health practitioner.
  • Where are you? This focuses on where the individual is within the course of becoming the future him/her.
  • With whom? This helps individuals to identify those within their circles who can have significant influence in their choices of career.
  • Talking about what? It’ll help them know whether the things they spent much of their time on will ultimately lead to the fulfilment of their ideal future.

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