THE IMPORTANCE OF CAREER COUNSELLING AND OUR YOUTH TODAY
PETER HEZEKIAH LAWSON
There are different types of counselling – including career (vocational), marital, personal-social and educational counselling, among others. Counselling is ubiquitous for it exists everywhere human beings are found. Most final year students of Nigerian universities are in the exploration stage of career development. This stage which is between 15 and 24 years is when adolescents and young adults explore different occupational alternatives and match with the knowledge acquired about various occupations. Therefore, it is a critical period when career counselling is needed since career counselling is the process of assisting individuals in the development of a lifelong work, focusing on workers’ role and interactions with other life roles (Neck, 1997).
In career counselling, the counsellor helps the undergraduates through proper orientation and current global trends in the world of work. Students also need counselling on the dignity of labour and entrepreneurial characteristics such as determination, need for achievement, taking initiative, calculated risk taking, creativity and innovativeness, and leadership among others.
Meaning of career counselling
National Career Development Association (NCDA) (1997) defines career counselling as the process of assisting individuals in the development of a life-career with focus on the definition of the worker role and how that r ole interacts with other life roles. According to Kolo (1999), career is a lifelong sequence of work, educational and leisure’s experience. This implies that career refers to the totality of one’s activities, hobbies and training that gives him satisfaction through life.
Career counselling can therefore be seen as the process of assisting prospective job trainees (students and apprentices) make useful career decisions that may enable them to make appropriate career choices or adjustments which will bring about satisfaction throughout their life span.
The Concept of Youth
Youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence. That’s why, as a category, youth is more fluid than other fixed age-groups. Yet, age is the easiest way to define this group, particularly in relation to education and employment, because ‘youth’ is often referred to a person between the ages of leaving compulsory education, and finding their first job. Youth is an experience that may shape an individual’s level of dependency, which can be marked in various ways according to different cultural perspectives.
According to Wikipedia, Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). The International Labor Organization (ILO) (2000) from her publication, categorized youths to be in the range of 18 and 35 years. The United Nations, for statistical purposes, defines those persons between the ages of 15 and 24.
The purpose of career counselling
According to Akinade (2005), the purpose of career counselling includes: Identification of personal preferences, exploration of career options, collection and collation of data about careers, making decisions about careers, implementing change from the present situation and assisting with employment seeking or job application issues.
In order to achieve the above purposes and for the counsellees to have satisfying work life, they must be equipped with entrepreneurial skills. As Ikeanyionum (2006), puts it, these skills include human and public relations, accounting, students’ self esteem, communication and computer applications.
In the view of Ahwireng (2011) skills associated with entrepreneurship include technical skills, specific operation technology, communication, interpersonal relations, presentation and assertiveness. Looking at the skills needed for entrepreneurship development, the importance of training is quite glaring. This training is a form of education, hence the need to study the relationship between career counselling and entrepreneurship development skills. Thus background reveals that career counselling is crucial to skills development in entrepreneur especially young undergraduates.
Career counselling is viewed as an interpersonal process that moves beyond providing client- relevant information to broader issues, such as career development, work-adjustment, work-dysfunction, and integration of life roles with other life roles that may or may not be directly related to work (Herr, 1997).
Aspects of career counselling
Herr (1997) outlines five (5) aspects of career counselling:
- Its principal content is the perceptions, anxieties, information deficits, work personalities, competencies, motives, that persons experience in their interactions with their external environment.
- It is a multi-faceted process.
- It has significant value throughout the life span.
- It may be only one of many interventions used to confront the career problem.
- It is best thought as a continuum of intervention processes with a broad range that fuse personal and career counselling.
Choice of Career among Youth
Choosing a career and entering into a profitable employment after graduation is one thing that every individual should begin to focus at especially at this technological period. The International Labor Organization (ILO) (2000) from her publication, categorized youths to be in the range of 18 and 35 years. The World Bank. (2013) reviewed that Nigeria’s population is now 177.2 million out of which, about 67 million young Nigerians are jobless. The population does not in any way commensurate with the available consumer and capital goods. Because of this increase in population, many graduates out there are jobless due to either wrong choice of career that are no longer relevant to the needs and aspirations of the society or lack of skill acquisition to get the jobs that are available .
Ogundele (2013) asserted that the labor market is flooded with different categories of graduates either looking for a fresh job in their area of specialization or looking for another job outside it, for better income, activity, self- respect, social contacts, and creativity. Choice always involves knowledge, one cannot choose what one does not know, but the wise choice of an occupation requires accurate information about what occupations are available, what they require, and what they offer. The choice of a career is one of the very important decisions a person must make for himself and this choice is a long process rather than a simple incident. Career interests and choice do not appear all of a sudden during adolescence, they appear because of developmental process.
In view of this, vocational guidance is considered to be a vital part of technical education as it gives direction to know the kind of job/employment to venture into. As a career counselor, one is able to detect the strength and weaknesses of an individual. In meeting with such individual, one is able to know their individualistic views and find out what is special or unique about them which may be in their artistic ability, athletic ability, sense of human or psychomotor ability. The counselor have an important role to play so as to see what talent the individual has, encourage such person or group of persons to develop their talents for future career usage.
The Essence of Career Education
In today’s world of rapid technological and economic change, uncertainty about skill requirements in the workplace, and abundant learning and vocational paths, vocational planning is more difficult than ever. Nevertheless, where youths have the relevant skills that match their interest and ability, they tend to have a saleable profession.
The essence of career education among youths cannot be undermined in the following ways
- It will help youths to develop the knowledge and skills they need to determine a career path.
- Youths can make informed decision in developing a career through the study of various occupation tools that will facilitate learning through hands-on training in conjunction with academic subjects.
- Career education will provide a means of developing the youths’ knowledge, understanding, and experience of opportunities in education, training and employment.
With the current trend of global event on employment, youth should be able to take some steps that will lead to a good career choice. The youths should be able to: learn and understand themselves and their abilities, learn about their values, interests and skills; be in contact with career counselors for advice; discover and look over the lists of available occupations; check occupations that have been considered previously which are appealing; look at the job description, educational and other requirement, job outlook, advancement opportunities and earnings; contact individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the occupations in which might be interested to them; considered the earnings and advanced degree / certificate in such careers; decide on the career to purse; and finally, put a plan in place and set some goals and decide on how to reach the goals set. When someone discover the ability to a right choice of career, it will result to making a profitable employment after graduation.
The Importance of Career Counselling and Our Youth Today
Importance of career counselling in the life of youths
The importance of career counseling in the life of youths cannot be overemphasized especially in this 21st century where technology is taking the lead. Some of such importance are as follows:
- It helps in placing talent where it is needed for youths and assisted them to make the best possible vocational choice.
- It strengthens the educational systems of a country by providing motivation and meaning to education.
- It adds a feeling of security to the nation, the school, and the youth so that they will be able to face the future.
- It provides information about occupational opportunities i.e. the students become aware of the world of work and the range of available opportunities that exist.
- It also encourage students in decision making i.e. decision on what type of life a students would like to have which would depend on their interest, values, abilities, skills and motivation to learn.
- It help students to know themselves and their environment i.e. each students is helped to understand his/herself in terms of interest, potential skills and abilities in relation to the world of work.
- It help students to understand the problems of unemployment and its causes.
- It empower students to understand the process of making choices and the possible consequences of their decision
- It enables students to acquire knowledge of the practical procedures needed for getting a job and progressing in it.
- It help our youth to reflect on their ability interest, qualification and abilities and orientate them about the world of work.
Career counselling Information Needed by Our Youth today
The youths and working adults are expected to be equipped with employment skills and knowledge so that the increase in demand for technical work force by various sectors of the nation’s economy through formal, non-formal, or informal training. This is why
- They should be expose to the employment prospect
- The nature of work i.e. pleasant and unpleasant thing that may crop up e.g. what are the hairs involve, are there any shift?
- The work environment: is it hot, cold, dry, wet, dirty, noisy etc.
- The qualification involved to get the job.
- What interests are of people who successes in this type of profession.
- They should be aware if the job is licensed or certificate required.
- The kind of education and training involved.
- Is the entrance of the job by examination, application, and interview or by capital investment?
- What are likes and dislikes of the job.
- How are the wages paid? Monthly or yearly.
Some Ways of Exposing Youths to Different Careers
When youths are exposed to different careers in their early life, it will arouse their curiosity and interest. By so doing, it can be facilitated in the following ways by:
- inviting professional experts and business people to address youths on job opportunities that are available.
- assigning activities to explore their talents in a future career.
- matching individual personalities and considering how it would fit a particular career with their makeup which will involve their temperament.
- considering socio-economic and ethnic values of a community and how they relate to careers in the community where they live.
- inviting male and female role models in different fields to address youths of different gender.
Career is a lifelong occupation which an individual enters into throughout one’s life time. There are so many opportunity for our youth in developing their potential to the fullest, this variety of opportunity exists for meaningful career choice through vocational guidance for our youth. If these opportunities are thoroughly explored and harnessed vocational education will regain its rightful place. Counselor too should apply the principles of vocational education choice and vocational education guidance whenever they want to assist students/youths to make informed vocational decisions.
Using career counselling in addressing career choice should be intensified so that the future of our youth will not be mar or ruin, this will enable them to practicalise their potentialities to the fullest, when this is done we will have an enviable society. Therefore availability of enough funds will pave way to fund vocational guidance to the fullest which will add color to the recruitment of qualified personnel such as technicians, technologists, career counselors, etc all these will re-orientate our youth towards a promising future in their choice of career.
To curb the problem of wrong choice of career and technical education among our youths, the following are thus recommended.
- The youths should be mandated to visit the counselors at will.
- Each school must have a befitting counseling clinic where our youth can be counseled on their choice of vocation to prevent future career choice problem.
- The school authority and the teachers should give the guidance counselor an opportunity to handle these youth individual, this is because, it is the teacher that will sometimes refer the students to the counselor.
- The counselor should intermittedly organize career talks to open the eyes of our youths to different opportunities.
- Adequate financial support from the government to purchase necessary counseling materials which will be of tremendous help to counsel our youth.
International Labor Organization (ILO) (2000), Report V, “Training for Employment: Social Inclusion, Productivity and Youth Employment”. Retrieved from:www.ilo.org pp.53. The Importance of Career Counselling and Our Youth Today
Neck,D.A.(1997).Career counselling competencies. New York: Academic Press.
Ogundele, A.G. (2013). The place of technical education towards skill acquisition to national development. IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education (IOSR-JRME) e-ISSN: 2320–7388,p-ISSN: 2320–737X Vol.3 ( 5) Nov. –Dec. 2013, PP 73-76. The Importance of Career Counselling and Our Youth Today
Ogundele, A.G., Feyisetan, C.T., & Shaaba, G.P. (2014).Technical Education as a Vital Tool for Skill Acquisition through Guidance and Counseling for Nation Building. American Journal of Educational Research, 2014, Vol. 2, No. 1, 50-53. DOI:10.12691/education-2-1-9. The Importance of Career Counselling and Our Youth Today
The World Bank. (2013, August). Nigerian: country at a glance. Retrieved from www.worldbank.org/en/country/Nigeria. The Importance of Career Counselling and Our Youth Today.
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.