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Parents and teachers should get career guidance as a matter of urgency, says Natalie Rabson of Boston City Campus and Business College.
“This week it was the Vaal University of Technology that buckled under the volumes of students queueing to re-enrol,” she says. “It’s the second serious incident of registration chaos at one of our public tertiary institutions this year. Clearly it is time we start approaching post-school education differently. Career guidance for parents and teachers could be a good starting point.”
It is to parents and teachers that students first turn when they start investigating their career and post-school training options. But unfortunately, parents and teachers also find themselves in need of career guidance.
“When we enrol our little ones at school we get to know the school system rather well because it is pretty simple,” Rabson points out. “Both private and public schools follow a similar system of registration, timetables, subject choices and curriculum. But when it gets to post-school education it is a different ball game.”
Parents who have not had the opportunity to undertake post-school studies don’t know how it works, while those who did study find that the education scene has changed dramatically since they were students.
Teachers may be up to date with educational trends but not as much with employment trends. They are not necessarily well informed about the career and study options available nowadays.
“So though everyone is calling on school leavers to consider alternatives other than public universities, not many people are coming forth to explain what these alternatives are,” says Rabson. “If you have a child at high school it is advisable that you get directly involved in career research to assist your child in making good choices.”
As information is easily available, helping a school pupil to find career and study direction is reasonably easy and affordable. The best way, according to Rabson, is to draw up a list of the information you need then go about finding the answers.
Ensure that you allocate enough time to gather information as well as to consult and network with people who can assist you and your child. You can expect to have to obtain information from the internet, newspapers and companies as well as speak to recruitment agencies, education institutions and career guidance specialists.
Include success stories in your career research – look for people who have succeeded in the career your child is interested in. This will be motivating and can show you which qualifications would make it possible for your child to achieve success.
“Start helping your children explore their options during Grade 9 so that by Grade 11 you both have an idea which direction you’re heading towards,” Rabson advises. “This also gives you a chance to save or look for ways of financing your children’s further education.”
Of crucial importance is that parents keep an open mind and listen to suggestions. Your child may, for example, arrive home and announce that he wants to be a DJ. While this may sound like a wacky idea to most parents – “how are you ever going to make a living out of that my boy?” – it is possible that your child has a passion and skills that may earn him a good living in this field.
“Becoming a DJ or music producer is a legitimate career option that your child can consider,” Rabson points out.
“Over the last decade, DJing and music have evolved and offer worthwhile work opportunities – so much so that Boston City Campus will be offering a course in digital music composition and production from this year onwards.
“With the relevant training, your child can earn a good living as a DJ/music producer or designing sound and music for games, TV and film, or in alternative fields that you may once have not considered viable. Today it is skills and attitude that earn employment, not solely the theory obtained in a degree”
Boston City Campus & Business College offers free career guidance throughout 48 branches nationwide. For more information on some 80 qualifications, including Unisa degrees and media studies, contact 011 551 2000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.boston.co.za or Facebook.