Why career guidance should be mandatory

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. While in the past most people’s career prospects were limited by economic or social factors, today one can take almost any career path. One’s careful research and introspection will be worth a lifetime of career satisfaction which is where career guidance comes in as an aiding agent to make the right choice.
Students attending a counselling session. (Solomon Asaba)
Students attending a counselling session. (Solomon Asaba)

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. While in the past most people’s career prospects were limited by economic or social factors, today one can take almost any career path. One’s careful research and introspection will be worth a lifetime of career satisfaction which is where career guidance comes in as an aiding agent to make the right choice.

Experts define career guidance as a developmental process that facilitates the acquisition of attitudes; skills and knowledge to help students better understand themselves while exploring viable education and career options that eventually result into making informed decisions with developed plans to achieve their career aspirations.

 

Currently, statistics indicate that 13.5 per cent of the graduates are unemployed whereas the underemployed stands at 65 per cent. Youth unemployment has become a nationwide challenge and it is being addressed through skills empowerment. Career guidance is another effective way to prepare young people for the competitive job market. Career guidance can become ever more effective if introduced n at secondary level.

 

Musa Fadala, a teacher, says fulfillment is achieved not by wealth or a good job, but rather that sense of inner satisfaction one derives from doing something they are good at or passionate about.

 

“Career guidance should help students discover what they are passionate about and inform them on how best to pursue it. The world is changing so fast that some positions disappear overnight by the relentless march of invention/technology. However, this has created new positions altogether. Today, a car manufacturer employs a design artist, a mechanical engineer and an IT specialist. The long and short of this is that one has a myriad of options but with an ever changing skill set requirement. Career guidance will help students navigate all this armed with sound knowledge,” he says.

Jeanette Kabalisa, a parent, says career guidance should not be neglected or simply left to higher institutions of learning.

“Helping students to decide on their career paths should start at secondary level so that they can have a wider view of their choices and what they opt to study will come in handy in the future,”’ she says

Many secondary schools in the country have adopted career guidance and counseling programmes to help students explore their career choices and decisions.

Angela Uwase from Gashora Girls Academy says they have a career day on which different professionals speak to the students about the requirements and opportunities of particular fields.

“Through career guidance sessions at school, many students are able to decide on their career paths and through that they get internships and mentors in the fields that interest them,” she says.

Benefits

Career guidance enables students decide the education path to take towards achieving their desired career.

Joanna Agasaro says she had no idea about what to pursue at her A’level and not until a career guidance session at her school did she decide to take arts over a science course her parents wanted her to pursue.

Students have a narrow perspective on the range of opportunities available today. Career guidance goes a long way to widen their horizons and gives them knowledge of relevant courses in their field of interest.

As awareness is created among the students, the imminent stress of finding a suitable job reduces. No matter how tough the working conditions and job challenges, a career counselor identifies traits and guide the students on how to choose wisely and be successful in their chosen careers.

“I always thought I would study petroleum exploration but my career guide showed me how irrelevant this course is to my country and she probably saved me from the risk of future unemployment,” says Nelson Bagabe, a senior six vacationist.

Career guidance sessions help to deal with fears one can have for taking certain vocational paths. Students’ lives and personalities get enhanced after speaking to a career counsellor. All hidden talents necessary for career growth are unravelled by the counselor and students’ confidence can also be elevated.

Ronaldo Rwubuzizi, a senior six student, says he chose to study Chemistry, Biology and Physics at A’level after several career counselling sessions because he was convinced that’s where his strengths lie.

“After a counselling session, I realised we have very few professionals in some complex medical fields and I resolved that that is the career path I want to pursue,” he says.

The benefits of career guidance are quite vast in nature which is why it is imperative that students experience it even before they go to university. This way they can be guided on the right career path to take and be put in position to balance between their personal and professional life.

Kurgat Elias, a career guidance counsellor at Nu-Vision High School, says school administrators should create time for career guidance in schools.

“Career guidance and counselling programmes help individuals acquire the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to identify options, explore alternatives and succeed in life, which is why it is imperative that students get exposed to it,” he says.

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