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Many companies are saying yes to the job-shadowing requests they are receiving as they welcome the opportunity for community involvement. However, once they have shown the job-shadowing learner around, not everyone knows what to do next.
As the number of such requests continue to increase, Kerry Damons of Boston City Campus & Business College suggests that working people get to grips with job shadowing.
This will avoid them being caught off guard when that call does come through: “Good day, Ma’am, my name is So-and-So and I’d appreciate it if you’d allow me to spend some time job shadowing you.”
Boston invites companies and learners involved in various job-shadowing initiatives to make use of its career guidance service – including a computerised career assessment – that is offered free of charge and with no obligation.
“Our career advisers can help compile information on careers and courses so that you are well prepared to job-shadow or be shadowed,” says Damons.
Job shadowing gives a proper indication of what the learner would do daily in that industry.
It’s more realistic than doing internet research, and shows the pros and cons of that job.
This way they’re able to choose careers and courses of study that are best suited to their individual talents and abilities. “Learners are also encouraged by educators and parents to job shadow so they can make better-informed career decisions,” comments Damons.
“In some instances they are required to complete a job-shadowing stint as part of a mark-earning assignment for life orientation.
“That explains why these days everyone seems to be playing host to a job shadower, from the admin officer to the general manager and everyone in-between.”
Companies, too, have come to realise the value of job shadowing.
Consider how the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day (scheduled for next Thursday) has grown since 2003.
Tracker runs a similar initiative, Men in theMaking, (it was held on March 29), which focuses on boys; while trade union Solidarity has arranged for companies to open their workplaces to high school pupils tomorrow.
Hosting job shadowers gives companies the opportunity to build goodwill for their brand and to create a pool of talent they can one day tap into.
“Learners that have a great job-shadowing experience at a company will tell their mates how wonderful that particular company is,” explains Damons.
“There is a good chance that a learner who had a good experience at a company, and to whom attention was paid, will become an unofficial ambassador for that company, even if they decide to follow a different career elsewhere.
“Learners also have the potential to become clients of the companies at which he/she job shadowed.”
Through job shadowing, companies have the opportunity to sign up the best emerging talent, those job shadowers who they would be keen to employ one day, either by giving them a bursary or the promise of employment.
“Given the benefits that can be gained,” Damons points out, “if you are about to start a job-shadowing experience, take full advantage and prepare properly.
“This goes for the employer as well as the shadower!”