Have you taken career planning seriously in your institution? Or in your own personal life? I wish I had.
Maybe, I would have followed a different career path or at least felt like there were options. I am not unhappy with my success but I have interests I would have pursued had I known more about these.
I finished high school a long time ago when there was yet no internet. Life in our town was very simple. Information was very limited beyond the radio and local newspapers. In fact, many of the books in our school were old, not really vintage, as development then was not exponential as it is now.
Still, I would have profited and many more of my schoolmates, too, had we had the range of information available now.
Our choices then were limited by the lean information available to us and the even narrower expectations of our families. We had no career counsellors we could go to or chat with online.
So, today, with all the information and resources available, there is no excuse for anyone to take career planning for granted. It is key to your future success and more importantly, your happiness. Why?
Here are the reasons why you need to do a career plan:
1. Enables you to make an informed career decision.
2. Leads you in the direction of the career path most suited for you.
3. Fulfills your personal interests and thus determines much of your career success.
4. Ensures you of a more motivated approach to your pursuit of your career.
5. As we all know, your dream jobs are reached only after you have taken the necessary steps and have built up the skills and competence for it. Having a career plan most likely will enable you to clearly plan those needed steps towards that dream job. It gives you a road map of how to achieve such a dream job.
6. A road map will also alert you to road signs, to turns, to closed bridges, to short cuts, to clear achievable chunks of the journey, thereby, building the motivation and drive you need to be successful.
7. A career plan makes difficult pathways more manageable and enables you to develop your potential in spite of difficulties knowing that this is the road taking you to success. It will also reveal options in the same general direction that may appeal to you even more!
For TVET, it is crucial. Many kids in high school don’t even know the benefits of technical and vocational education. The only path for them is university.
Many don’t realize that TVET is not just for the poor performers in academics. TVET courses today demand not just intelligence but fine skills. Many high school students think that skills courses only lead to poor paying jobs. Wrong.
In the case of countries which export labour, this mentality has changed as many of the skilled workers get better pay and find immediate employment in other countries when their academic colleagues languish in Hamburg Huts.
I know of some university graduates in North America who would rather work in the nail spa as they can earn more there than in low paying desk job that lets them talk only to their computer. They are also learning skills that can lead to owning their own business and being the next Unicorn.
At the same time, be wary of your well laid out career plan.
Change takes place faster than what often you can pursue so make sure that your plan includes the development of skills that are basic to many of the emerging trends in the workplace.
These include communications which means excellent speaking and writing skills, working well with others, leadership, advanced computer, skills and social and emotional intelligence.
In fact, one successful young employee recently told me she has abandoned her plan to take graduate courses. Instead, she will take a series of certification courses that she knows will make her more marketable.
Seeing the new jobs advertised today, you know that many of these skills can only be learned through industry conducted certifiation courses.
By taking varied certification, you gain flexibility to shift towards a new direction or to take a new pathway. Given the rapid changes in the job market, you might have to do this several times in your career.
For school managers, having career planning as part of your TVET institution will enhance the success of your graduates and will encourage many more to pursue and career in TVET.