CAREER GUIDANCE: THE IMPORTANT ASPECT BUT UNDERMINED IN EDUCATION
Career counseling is an educational construct where the individual is supported in knowing oneself and then use this information to become useful and effective inside the society to which one belongs. This implies from the individuals side, the development of ones capacity to explore ones own vocational profile and potential, but also ones limits, the problems ones faces and the identification of realistic and rational solutions to solve them under the supervision of a specialist.
Numerous studies indicated that counseling and career guidance offered to young people and adolescents in order for them to discover their abilities, skills, interests and values significantly correlates with academic and professional satisfaction and implicitly with career success. So the issue of career guidance directly impacts youth employability phenomenon since reality shows that the main problem of young people is not finding a job, but rather getting a job as stable and appropriate for the individual concerned.
By appropriate and timely identification of career counseling needs, appropriate, more sustainable and at the same time, at much lower cost, solutions can be offered. Consequently, exploratory action of assessment needs should be considered as a first and unavoidable step in planning interventions in career guidance and counseling in an educational system focused on the needs and interests of the individual.
The career guidance has been the challenging issue especially in under-developed countries where the formal education is still on the lower level. The career development would start in the early age, but due to lack of proper skills and intention to guide someone’s personal development, it leads to mismanagement of one’s future preference.
According to the report by European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network in 2012, career management skills are a set of several competencies, skills and attitudes that help individuals and groups gather, analyze, synthesize and organize personal, educational and professional information, and also make decisions and organize transfers. Career management skills are important and necessary to handle the transitions that characterize today’s educational world and labor market. Based on the constructivist paradigm, a career is no longer a permanent decision but rather a continuous life-long process of constructing and developing in an ever-changing environment that requires constant transitions and career management skills.
Career management skills are general competencies that each individual uses to design their career throughout life. These skills help to gather, analyze, synthesize and organize personal, educational and vocational information and to make decisions, organize transfers and consciously plan a career. Purposeful development of career designing competencies creates the prerequisites for preparedness to manage one’s life by making self-conscious and responsible choices (Foundation Innove, 2016).
These competencies (knowledge, skills, values, attitudes) do not only focus on choices and the decision making process during transfers (e.g. from one level of education to another, selection of a specialty or position, etc.). They also help individuals give meaning to their own roles in a wider context as members of society, family, various cultural groups and to take responsibility for their own development and fortune. Awareness of one’s own strength, positive self-esteem, knowledge of the aspects influencing one´s choices (including stereotypes), and relevant information on learning and work opportunities are just a few of the career management skills that significantly help people extend their options and live a satisfying, meaningful life.
Every person can develop competencies by and for themselves. This is an ongoing process that can be directed and supported by appropriate intervention. One of the ways of intervention could be providing activities that create conditions for implementing or developing certain skills (participating in hobby groups or the work of student associations, visiting companies). Within curricula, career design skills are mostly supported by mediating career services, career studies, guidance and information.
Development of career management skills starts in early childhood through the influences of people surrounding the child. For instance, attitudes towards other people, studying, work and workers all start from home. In practicing hobbies and participating in volunteer activities, several practical skills are developed; spending time with friends develops communication and cooperation skills. Acquiring and developing the knowledge, values and practical skills introduced in school curricula takes place as a result of joint efforts of the school’s teaching and education process, cooperation between home and school, and the direct living environment of the student.
Career management skills can be incorporated into various subjects and extracurricular activities, in optional career classes or by using various combined approaches. Integrating career studies with various subjects provides advantages from an integral and holistic point of view. However, it may be easier to organize intensification of the knowledge, skills and values necessary for designing a career as a part of a respective subject by providing training to teachers or in cooperation with Extra-school career guides. Lessons on career studies do not replace systematic career studies that involve all school levels. They just complement such lessons for the preparation of the individual’s future.