Making a career choice as a teen is always tough, but making this major life decision with very little career guidance, support or information is close to impossible.
An independent study commissioned by Boston City Campus and Business College (BCC) and released earlier this year revealed that 84% of the nearly 1 000 young people interviewed believed they were unaware of many career opportunities. Seventy-three percent of these students said they believed they were still in need of comprehensive career counselling, and 55% said they didn’t know what was expected of them once they were in the workplace.
Another interesting result was that 52% of the students believed that entrepreneurship – rather than job hunting – was a viable career option for them.
A BCC psychometrist, Anastasia Antoniades, says: ‘What we are seeing is that proper guidance counselling is not being given at schools, especially in rural schools. The guidance class is either used as a catch-up class for other subjects or the information that is given is just not broad or comprehensive enough.”
Antoniades says that they also find that prospective students are fixated with career buzz words – such as IT – but actually have a limited understanding of what these terms mean.
‘Many students will arrive here and say they’re interested in IT because they’ve heard the term, but they may actually just want to learn to operate a computer,” says Antoniades.
BCC offers free career counselling, which consists of a computer-based questionnaire of 105 questions aimed at identifying a student’s interests and strengths. Students’ school marks are also taken into consideration. The test takes about half an hour to complete. The career guidance also includes a 45-minute counselling session with a student counsellor.
Antoniades says the useful aspect of this testing is that it gives the students a sense of control about their future and exposes them to a broader range of career options.
BCC has 40 campuses across the country. For more information contact its head office on (011) 485 2838.
Stellenbosch University offers free career counselling for Grade 11 learners from previously disadvantaged schools.
Postgraduate students run the project and learners are assessed psychometrically. The assessment is a scientific measure of the mental capacities and processes of the individual.
Learners also undergo individual interviews. The programme focuses on equipping learners with effective study methods, details about ways to access more career information,and where to find financial assistance. For more information call (021) 808 3461.
The Tshwane University of Technology offers students three types of counselling: an interview, psychometric testing and a complete evaluation.
The service is free for students, and prospective students are charged a small fee. For more information call (012) 318 5010.
Check the Unisa website for online career guidance information, including psychometric testing. The site includes details on how to contact the university’s offices in Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Johannesburg and the Western Cape. Visit:sol.unisa.ac.za/counselling/selfknowledge.html.