Career Guidance is a must for children, students, parents, professionals, and relevant leaders, to create a vibrant workforce that fulfills their dream aspirations. These are careers based on the point of knowledge, ability, capability, and interest of the individuals.
I am a Career Guidance Expert in engineering and infrastructure-related careers. On behalf of 8M Construction Digest, I am also the lead Consultant for the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers (UIPE) on the Career Guidance Program for Primary and Secondary Schools. UIPE and 8M Construction Digest (8M CD) support a Career Guidance Program for Primary and Secondary Schools. In the long run, a Careers’ Advice Services Centre is planned for every district in Uganda.
This will assist and motivate the youth towards choosing the right future careers, hopefully, engineering-related, from a knowledgeable point of view.
In carrying out Career Guidance sessions, we seek and involve Role Models, such as famous or excelling engineers, who act as the “preachers of the gospel according to good career guidance tips.”
We also enlighten youngsters and parents on, “Modernization of indigenous production, construction and manufacturing methods and utilization of locally available resources of land, materials, manpower, and machinery;”
2. BASICS OF CHOOSING A CAREER
Choosing a career needs the four principles (P), followed in this order:
P1: Know Many Careers
Before thinking of what career to choose, first know as many careers as possible. This knowledge enables the chooser a wide, rich choice. Like choosing food in a cafeteria system, a blind person may not eat the best of his/her choice, unless guided. Children, students, and even adults need detailed information about different careers. This information should be availed by parents, teachers, and Career Guidance organizations, among others.
For engineering-related careers, guidance may be given through exposure to production, manufacturing, and construction systems.
P2: Choose Ability/Capability
A person should first and foremost plan for careers, in which they are able or capable to perform! Capability or ability is best judged by the skills of the individual, or by the grades s/he attains in class. This is also based on the genes and environmental factors of the individual. The process of knowing one’s ability or capability takes from childhood to adulthood. A child or student, therefore, needs the help of parents, teachers, and career guidance experts to add to his or her effort.
P3: Choose Interest
When one has selected future careers that reflect one’s abilities and capabilities, one should then choose, from among these, a career of one’s interest. This word is often misused to mean the interest of a parent of the child’s favorite uncle, for example. “Interest” strictly refers to the individual. There are ways to assist him or her to discover it.
P4: Choose a Dream Career
Having a grasp of one’s ability, capability, and interest, one then chooses a potential career that will fulfill one’s social, cultural, educational, economic, or political dreams needs, or aspirations. Parents and children very often err by “choosing” a dream career prematurely. It is healthy to talk of a dream career as early as possible, but more healthy to choose the different appropriate stages in life. Normally, where a good choice of “ability, capability, interest” was guided using many different careers, any aspiration will be guaranteed, be it the attainment of riches or fame.
3. HOW 8M CD HELPS STUDENTS CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAREER
8M Construction Digest, in association with UIPE, helps students choose the right future career, based on their abilities, capabilities, and interests. In the Career Guidance galas, meetings, and interviews we organize, we assist the individuals, preferably in the presence of their parents and teachers, to do a comprehensive assessment and understanding of themselves.
We create a pleasant atmosphere, of sipping niceties and cracking a few jokes, here and there, to enable candid and enjoyable deliberations.
This exercise helps the students and their loved ones to grow in the correct footsteps towards choosing the right future career.
Here are some of the steps we take to evaluate these factors:
We encourage students to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, skills, and areas where they excel. We remind them to explore their academic performance, extracurricular activities, and any awards or recognition they have received. We encourage them to put in equal effort in all subjects and activities, to get a fair evaluation of themselves.
b) Personality Assessment:
We suggest personality assessments using different indicators, to understand their personality traits and preferences related to careers.
c) Interest Inventory:
We use different methods to assist individuals in identifying their areas of interest and potential career options aligned with those interests. We remind parents to be on the lookout for the same when their kids are young.
d) Aptitude and Skills Testing:
We encourage the student to undergo aptitude and skills tests to evaluate their natural abilities, such as logical reasoning, verbal skills, or numerical aptitude.
e) Career Counseling:
As experts in the A-Z technical careers of engineering, planning, architecture, surveying, information technology, and others associated with these, we provide in-depth and expert guidance into the various careers, based on the student’s abilities, capabilities, and interests. We do this with detailed information, spices with 3D objects, and animations, for clarity to students, parents, and teachers.
Where we lack depth in non-technical careers, we connect the student (and parents) with career counselors or guidance professionals who can guide them.
f) Exploration and Exposure:
Encourage the student to participate in internships, workshops, or job-shadowing experiences in various fields to gain hands-on exposure and assess their interest in specific career paths.
Networking and Information Gathering:
Encourage the student to talk to professionals in different careers, attend career fairs, and conduct informational interviews to understand various professions and the skills required.
g) Consider Future Trends:
Discuss emerging industries and future job trends to help the student align their interests and abilities with prospective career options.
h) Open Communication:
Maintain open and honest communication with the student to understand their aspirations, goals, and concerns related to potential careers.
i) Holistic Evaluation:
Integrate the results from self-assessments, personality tests, skills evaluations, and the student’s interests to create a comprehensive view of their potential career pathways.
j) Review and Re-evaluate:
Encourage the student to revisit their career choices periodically, especially as they gain more experience and insight into their abilities and interests.
Remember, the most effective guidance considers a student’s unique combination of abilities, capabilities, and interests. It’s a dynamic process that requires ongoing support and evaluation as the student’s understanding of themselves and the job market evolves.
The details of this strategy are as follows:
4. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Ugandan parents, teachers, and relevant leaders need to invest in Career Guidance sessions for their children and students, to give their dream careers that fulfill their aspirations.
8M is organizing a Career Guidance Gala at the beginning of December 2023, to give a chance to students of secondary schools and their parents to plan careers based on the point of knowledge, and the students’ ability, capability, and interest. Don’t miss.
By Eng. Hans JWB Mwesigwa