STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF THE ROLE OF SCHOOL COUNCELORS IN THE CHOICE OF A CAREER
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The review of relate literature was carried out under the following headings.
- Theoretical framework on career
- A changing workplace
- Lack of career knowledge
- Career development
- Challenges in the field of guidance and counseling
- Supporting a comprehensive counseling and guidance system
- Effective career development intervention
- Research on career development
2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ON CAREER
Donald Super’s (1990) theory view career development as a lifelong process encompassing developmental task for the individual as he or she negotiates the personal construction of self and the self’s relationship to the world. (Herr, et. al. 2004). Super posited that individual progresses through five states of career development: growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance and disengagement. (Brown & Lent, 2005, Lapan 2004). The elementary school years encompass developmental tasks in the growth stage. They include;
- Recognizing and increasing personal control over one’s life, that is Locus of Control (LOC)
- Becoming concerned about the future, learning to plan for the future and acquiring competent work habits and a positive attitude achievement in school and work.
Super maintained that positive development across nine dimensions would help children accomplish the necessary task in career development and develop a self concept that embodied the capacity for good problem solving and decision making. According to Super (1990), the nine dimensions associated with accomplishment of required task for the career development of elementary students are:
- Information: A recognition of the importance of career information and knowledge of where to acquire such information.
- Curiosity: The need to learn more about the world.
- Exploration: A drive to engage in experience that will teach the individual about self and the environment.
- Interest: Knowledge/awareness of an individual likes and dislikes.
- Locus of control: The degree to which an individual maintain a sense of control over choices in the immediate environment, the present and the future.
- Key figures: role models and significant persons who influences an individual’s development.
- Time perspective: An understanding of how the past, present and future affect the choices and consequences of behavior.
- Planning: Knowing the importance of planning
- Self concept: An identity encompassing roles and behaviors within the contexts of relationships. (Schultheiss & Stead, 2004; Super 1990).
2.2 A CHANGING WORKPLACE
The skills necessary for competition in today’s globally competitive workplace are complex and constantly changing. The average young baby boomer born between 1957 and 1964 held 10.8 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 42. (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2008). All indicators point to this number is rapidly increasing for today’s students. Global competition, technical advances and continuous innovations in product and process development challenges traditional rules related to organizational structure, employee tenures and advancement. (Feller & Rich 2003). Companies are outsourcing services and product manufacturing, and the economy is completely integrated. Workers are being forced to retrain or be replaced by new technologies or more highly skilled employees. Either by chance or by choice, workers are required to make complex and frequent career decisions as they navigate the changing workplace, making strong career guidance more important than ever.
Not only is the workplace itself changing rapidly, but individual career opportunities are evolving as well. Some traditional careers have become obsolete, while new ones are emerging at a rapid pace. The Bureau of labor and statistics estimates that 15.6 million new jobs will be added to the labour force between 2006 and 2016. (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2008). With population shift and new technologies fuelling job growth, many of these new jobs will require higher communication; math, technology and employability skill level than ever before. Even careers in traditional occupational areas such as the service sector are requiring higher level skills such as creativity, problem solving, communication, entrepreneurship, computational analysis, collaboration and team work. (Van & Debra, 2008).
Unfortunately, today’s students often do not understand the new world of work, and there are gaps in work readiness that must be addressed by educators and employers. Although workforce shortages are widely reported, far too few of these available are prepared to perform today’s job duties let alone the duties of the jobs that will emerge in the evolving future. (Herman, et. Al, 2003).
2.3 LACK OF CAREER KNOWLEDGE
The lack of preparation to navigate the changing workplace can be tied specifically to a lack of career knowledge and awareness. More than half of high school students say no one in their school has been helpful in advising on career option to further their education. (Hurley et.al.2002). Without structured guidance activities, young people tend to drift through their high school education without gaining knowledge of all the career opportunities available to them or the skills that are required. Some will become discouraged and drop out of high school; others may miss the connection between high school, post secondary education and the workplace and make career decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information.
In a survey carried out by the state of our nation’s youth, the top career choices among students in an open ended question were doctor or surgeon (10%), teacher of professor (8%), engineer (6%), nurse/medical assistant (6%), arts or entertainment (5%), lawyer or attorney (5%). Horatio Agler Association of Distinguished American, Inc 2008-2009. Most of these choices require a number of years of post secondary education. Yet only 70% of students graduate from school on time and only 34% graduate ready for college. (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2000). This disconnects between aspiration and educational performance set students up for personal or financial disappointment as they are faced with the realities of the job market.