Career Counselling-An Ever Going Journey

Career Counselling-An Ever Going Journey

By: Satyendra Kumar Singh, Editor-ICN Group

Evolution of the Concept of Career Counselling

LUCKNOW: The main aim of a career counselling program is to provide step-by-step process that can gel with the school curriculum and pedagogy. Most of the schools these days are adopting career counselling as one of the vital tools for paving the right career paths for their students.

The teachers and the associated staff should learn new approaches and activities involved into career assessment and counselling. Such tools should be implementable in classrooms and on various segments of students. Here comes an advice i.e. there is no standard format which is universal as there are lots of cultural and economic differences across the globe. Therefore, such tools are to be used in context with the segment we are dealing with.

The fundamental feature of such programs is to map talent as per the traits of the individual. These traits are what have been discussed before like interests, aptitudes and abilities. Such abilities have to be in sync with the job markets.

Let us comprehend it better with an example:

A person has a keen interest in sports but has a personality that does not allow him to be a team player so he/she should focus on games that is played on individual basis provided he/she has the requisite skills for such a game.

According to Alec Rodger there are seven traits of a job which include physical characteristics, achievements, knowledge, aptitudes, interests, temperament and situations. These needs to be matched with candidate’s attributes. The attributes of the candidate or individual are classified into six models by Holland (1966, 1973, 1985, 1992). These attributes fall into one of the parameters of RIASEC model ie. Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. These models are influenced by the goals, values, beliefs, genetics and problem-solving styles of the person. These traits and factors are being widely used across the globe for career guidance.

Career guidance needs to have clear understanding of the job market and it should take into account the methods to assess the capability of the individual for fetching the job. It also requires handling the issues of changes in the environment due to numerous factors including global exposure and multicultural perspectives. Necessary care must be taken as most of career guidance models are inspired and influenced by the requirements of the western countries.

This is important in the context that people develop throughout their lives and so are their career requirements. So, it becomes significant to help the person to identify their correct and complete profile so that they can contribute towards the cause of their being on this world.

There are three life stages of one’s life which is very much linked with internal development for the career. The first one (upto the age of 11 years) is the stage of imagination and fantasy followed by tentative stage (11 to 17 years) that marks the development of interest, capacity and values. The third stage (17 years onwards) sees the development of capabilities of exploration, crystallisation and specification.

The above three stages overlooked the concept of vocational maturity which later was proposed by Super (1957). The maturity however is not dependent upon the age only as it can be developed with exposure and circumstances. According to Super, there are five basic stages of development i.e. growth (upto the age of 14 years); exploration (15 to 24 years) that actually gets into crystallization, specification and implementation; establishment (25 to 44 years) that sees consolidation and advancing; maintenance(45 to 64 years) which has thrust on stabilising and updating; and innovating (65 years onwards) that looks into retirement life and its planning. The most important contribution of Super was the time perspective. Whatever you learnt from the past and do in the present, impacts your vision for the future. You always aspire for the better future and it is equally influenced by the role you play at a particular phase of life. You may get into the shoes of child or a student at times, or you may be a worker or spouse, or you play the role of a homemaker or you lead a life of a pensioner. This influence also depends upon the environment you are in i.e. home, society or at your workplace.

Roberts (1968) highlighted the choice of occupations is crucially influenced by certain social variables such as gender and/ or the social class etc. Therefore, the role of home, environment, school, peer groups and the job opportunities is very important.

In fact, the career guidance helps an individual to shape himself/herself according the job requirements. It also resolves the immediate concerns of a person. Therefore, it is necessary for the career expert to develop enough knowledge on career trends and job opportunities.

Daws (1977) highlighted that the careers education programmes can bring about social change by helping and educating the individual.

Due to changes in various environmental factors such as current economy structure, unemployment, and social factors such as peer pressure and change in social structure, the thought process of the person has become distinct in terms of career preferences.  This thought-process is also influenced by marital instability, dependence on technological assistance, nuclear families, low social involvement etc. So, there is always a need for continuous and customized individual career guidance.

The role of learning and experiences is instrumental in career selection. Such learning happens from direct experience of the person or when a person learns from the experiences of another person. The role of books and media is also important in gathering information that leads to learning.

Krumboltz (1996) highlighted that the genetic factors such as gender and physical traits, economic and social factors, experiences and skills influence the person’s beliefs. Such beliefs do affect their aspirations and actions.

Mitchell and Krumboltz (1996) identified that people need to develop their capabilities and interests by exploring new activities. For this they may change their work profiles and learn new skills; and they need to be empowered to take action. Amidst all this the role of a career guide is to remove any fear or stress and plan for a mutual career decision. The more you make your candidate explore the more beneficial it is for him.

In the journey of researches and evolution, another important theory that came into existence is psychodynamic theory. This theory aims to understand and utilise the aspirations of an individual so that the necessary assistance can be rendered for the development of the career. Roe (1956) identified eight different kinds of occupational groups. These groups have their own levels based on skills and responsibilities.  While responsibilities can be professional, semi-professional, business or managerial, the skills can be classified as skilled; semiskilled and unskilled. The eight occupational groups discussed earlier were classified as business contact, technology, service, organisation, outdoor, science, culture, and arts and entertainment.

Roe and Lunneborg (1990) identified that the early experiences in one’s life may be influenced by the situations in the family. These experiences do get influenced by the nature of the parents in terms of whether the parents are either overprotective or over-demanding; whether they avoid the child, the warmth and love extended etc. The early childhood experiences do influence the occupational choice.

Another important theory is the community interaction theory. This highlights the influence of interpersonal transactions on the career choices made. The expectations from the family and community groups; the feedback about their appropriateness for a specific set of occupations and profiles; the support which nurtures their aspirations; the influences due to examples; and the learning by means of observing others at their work place.

Law et al (1998) highlighted that inborn capabilities influence the preferences for career and recommended that the necessary skills should be developed through education.

The role of government particularly the ministry of HRD is crucial as it determines the policy in the field of education and associated employability. The ministry has to regulate and monitor the occupational education that is carried out at schools, colleges and other higher education institutes. The HRD ministry should coordinate with the Ministry of Labour & Employment as both of them go hand-in-hand.

The government prepares the list of occupations for vocational training and provides necessary support and condition for the same. The Pradhanmantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna and similar schemes at state levels are good reflection of government concerns towards career and employment development.

The Regional Employment Directorates implement the state policy for imparting training so that necessary professional qualifications are obtained. These Directorates also look into educational projects and support occupational training in their respective regions. Can’t the local authorities such as municipalities etc take more active and visible participation in promotion of awareness towards the significance of career guidance?

India has a very large list of vocational courses and institutions. The only thing required is the active rather proactive role from the candidate itself. Most of the schools and colleges have either started or going to start career guidance services at their campuses.

The active participation of NGOs and other agencies in this drive for the cause is solicited for. The government, educational institutions and other agencies should thrust upon making career guidance as an integral part of the education system. The role should have under its domain the measuring of the efficiency of career counselling. It should also focus to employ the modern information and computer technologies for career assessment and guidance.

These agencies along with government must implement such programs on students with special needs, youths with physical ailments, people at middle age, and housewives along with youths of less privileged classes. The role of media including social media is very important to promote such a cause. The workshops and interactive sessions of experts should be a regular feature of this career policy. This would lead to have the updated knowledge on the trends and practices in career counselling including global career avenues and available courses across the globe. There should be support mechanism for the aspirants who wish to go abroad for further studies and jobs. There may be mutual agreements across countries to support the brain and talent pool.

All those who are in their career enhancement should use career counselling services irrespective of their demographics. Although government has been keen to promote the compulsory education, it can employ an educational psychologist at such centres or atleast, at the level of district inspector of schools (DIOS). This is necessary because many of the schools may not be able to find or afford such experts, especially in rural areas.

The centre of excellence with the aim for research and counselling related work, promotion of vocational training and support for job assistance must be created across the nation. It should emphasise upon improving the abilities of young people and adults so that they become employable. Special trainings can be organised to develop their entrepreneurship skills.

The private career counsellors are also there and their services may also be taken to inform the students and their parents regarding opportunities and trends in education at secondary and higher levels. These counsellors should provide psychological and medical consultations.

To Be Continued….

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