Vocational guidance or assessment of individual learners is poorly handled within the educational system. This weakness leads to poor career decision-making, which in turn means unnecessary wasting of money as wellHIGH-COSTS-OF-WRONG-CAREER-CHOICE as frustration, discontentment and hardship. Most young people leave school with only a vague knowledge of employment opportunities and with little insight on the most appropriate career direction for their abilities, interests and personalities. A large number of school leavers receive no training at all beyond school and become virtually unemployable. And yet, if pointed in the correct direction, they could have become assets to the economy. Many school leavers believe their only chance of future employment lies in gaining some qualification. So, they rush into some sort of tertiary education, irrespective of their suitability for the subjects chosen. Little wonder that the dropout rate for first year students at college and university stands at around 35 %! It is at this point that the first of the wasted costs occur, especially by companies who award bursaries to students. The next area of wasted costs comes after these school and university leavers are employed. Research shows that a large proportion of employees feel “stuck” in their careers. This leads to low morale, poor performance and bad service levels. Further company training tends to have only a short-term effect. In the end, unhappy employees either leave or are dismissed. In either case, the cost to the business is substantial – recruitment costs, training costs, hidden costs resulting from the poor performance and the lack of continuity within the business. In the case of dismissal, there could well be added costs arising from stringent labour laws. The Psychological cost to the employee and his family in either case can also be considerable. The solution lies in proper career guidance and assessment at grade 11 level. This is standard in most first world countries, and would help alleviate much of this hardship and unnecessary expense. It could also play an important role in reducing the high unemployment rate. With the aid of modern technology and the use of Psychometric assessments, choosing the wrong career at an early age should be a thing of the past. But, somehow, this doesn’t always happen. One should however be aware that these assessments are not perfect and you should be careful before basing a career choice on the results produced. For a Psychometric assessment to be effective in Career Guidance and HR Development, it needs to:
  • Combine ability, personality and interest in ways that cab be made transparent for the end user
  • Meet ethical and legislative requirements
  • Be affordable, flexible and user friendly
  • Provide input into possible career suitability based on realistic measures
Choosing career path is such an important decision that it is crucial for the career guidance counsellor to provide the student with:
  • Individual feedback offering explanatory advise based on the test findings
  • A solid methodology in planning for their careers
  • An unbiased view relating to tertiary institutions and course, detailing job descriptions and bursaries on offer
  • Advice on labour trends and employability
It is only after this process that students should embark upon a job-shadowing programme. Too often this vital hands-on exposure is either neglected due to lack of resources or interest or because it is focussed on careers that are of no interest to the student. Where this procedure is properly applied, the results are evident, providing the student with an attainable goal to strive towards.