The rising youth unemployment rates and the inability to fill available vacancies with qualified candidatesare traceable to so many factors. One major factor, as also identified byBusiness leaders is the skills gap and the misalignment between the skills produced from our educational systems and the skills demanded at work.The future of work and the rapid technological changes, skills needed, shifting demographics, type of work available, automation and nature of work (virtual, freelance etc.) has necessitated the need to look into our educational and training systems to evaluate their global relevance, adequacy and their ability to bridge the gap between school and work skills.
Appreciating the current reality and what the typical youth needs to be economically competitive,negates the assumptions being made that secondary and post secondary school education would naturally indicate the preferred career choice or path to take and produce the requisite skill set. This is furtherheightened due to the overly academic focus on “typical careers”.
The average worker changes employment every four to five years, implying a worker might have fifteen to twenty different jobs over their work lives. This trend leaning towards a gig economy where organizations are more open to independent workers, freelancers and virtual staff as against full-time employee also reinforces the need for career planning capabilities in employees.
In the light of these truths,
- What options are available to advance the employability and economic competitiveness of our youth?
- What role does the school training system and Career Development Professionals, Counselors and Advisors have to play to improve youth economic opportunities and competitiveness?
The Career Advisory Program™ (CAP) for Career Advisors and Counselors is a Professional Development workshopdeveloped to reinforce and up-skill the capacity of Career Advisors (CA), Career Counselors (CC), Teachers and school administrators in recognition of the critical role they play in preparing the youth for world of work. Using a systems thinking approach to solving these challenges, the CAP™ workshop curriculum framework a living document is influenced by Theory and Practice, recognized research reports, our continuous practice experience and periodic qualitative interviews and consultations with business experts and bodies.
For the purpose of this workshop, the terms Career Counselor, Career Advisors are used interchangeably and loosely to mean persons with the responsibility of initiating career programs, providing career development services,using theknowledge of the unique values, strength, career interestsof students to improve their post-secondary outcomes, work readiness, skill development and economic opportunities and competiveness.
Objective of the program:
i. Readdress the role of Career Advisors/Counselors and Teachers as facilitators responsible for championing the infusion and provision of technical, financial and 21st century skills into school activities and programs.
ii. Teach participants how to conduct labour market assessment as a tool to improving students career aspirations in novel and promising sectors, being familiar with less known careers and skill acquisition in order to build sustainable career paths and skills;
iii. Teach participants how to introduce school programs that enhance connection between the school system and the business world through work-based learning partnerships;
iv. Initiate the mechanisms for evaluating:
– School structures and practices (policies, learning environment, culture) to ensure they are value-oriented and reinforcing the attainment of the desired outcome;
– The effectiveness of school programs for scalability of impact and learning’s.
v. Introduce the CAP™ workbook, a 3-year engaging and guided approach to outcome focused Career Advisory/Counseling to improve-
– Self- Awareness and Self-Image
– Academic Achievement
– Vocational skill
– Career Readiness and Exploration skills
– Post-college Success
At the end of the workshop, it is expected each participant will begin to-
i. Integrate theoretical concepts, models and techniques into student-work development practice and career guidance programs in schools;
ii. Champion value-driven changes in classroom teaching methods and practice that increases knowledge transfer and classroom experience for students;
iii. Use the CAP™ workbook to revolutionize the career counseling deliverables, programs and activities of the school;
iv. Engage in and teach students how to conduct periodic Labour Market Assessment as a necessary for informing data-driven career decision making;
v. Introduce a systemic and integrated learning opportunity for not only students but teachers to ensure alignment with classroom learning’s and world of work;
vi. Build strategic business-education partnerships for an enhanced work-based-learning programs;
vii. Champion teacher capacity building, development of 21st century higher order skills and the need to integrate these in teaching practice for increased youth transformation and life readiness;
viii. Carry out qualitative evaluation exercise for all school programs and using feedback to instruct the growth and scalability of subsequent programs.
To ensure the capacity of our Career Advisors/Counselors, teachers are relevant to guide and build our students for the world of work ahead, it is critical that investments are made in up-skilling and reskilling of all concerned through workshops like this, as an integral professional development component of value to all stakeholders.