Preparing Youth to Succeed: The Importance of Career Guidance

This publication is in line with our mission to help young people find an apprenticeship position and provide information on all aspects of education, career guidelines and employment.

Everyone is faced with the choice of profession. Every fifth teenager could tell about their fluctuations in professional self-determination. Teenagers are attracted to dozens of professions. It is not easy to decide on such diversity.

To be able to make a balanced, independent choice of professional activity and form a psychological readiness for professional self-determination, vocational guidance programs come to the rescue. Their goal is to create conditions for successful professional orientation of adolescents, rapid and successful adaptation to the employment market, and the formation of the ability to correlate their individual psychological characteristics and capabilities with the requirements of the chosen profession.

Career orientation is a complex dynamic process of the formation of individuals. It represents a system of their fundamental relations to a professional and labour environment, the development and self-realisation of spiritual and physical capabilities, the formation of professional plans and intentions adequate to them, and a realistic image of oneself as a professional. Professional self-awareness is one of the most important components of human realisation. That is why the study and conduct of vocational guidance for young people in educational institutions have become very relevant at the moment.

The professional orientation is aimed at solving the following tasks:

  • acquaintance with the world of professions;
  • study of interests, abilities, inclinations and motives for activity;
  • acquaintance with the rules for choosing a profession;
  • motivation to think about the professional future.

Since the object of career guidance is the process of social and professional self-determination, it is important to note that the choice of profession is one of the main decisions in life. Choosing a profession is not an instant act. It results from the analysis of internal resources that correlate with the requirements of the profession and consists of several stages that merge into one process.

The duration of the stages depends on:

  • external conditions;
  • individual characteristics of the subject for choosing a profession.

School career guidance programs help students get to know their own personality and the world of work better, build decision-making skills, and enter the transition from school to professional life.

The work on occupational guidance in school can be divided into phases, which are predetermined not only by the general goals of the vocational guidance but also by the dynamics of the vocational guidance of the student him or herself:

  • Preparatory phase (early career guidance). During this period, students study, instilling in their interest and love within the career work. This could be achieved by involving children in different types of games and learning activities.
  • The phase of formation is when the student develops a real interest in choosing a profession. With the help of special events at school, students are taught the motives for choosing different specialities and professions.
  • The leading phase – the formation of motives for choosing a profession continues among students who still have doubts about choosing a profession;
  • The consolidation phase – the period after the student has chosen a profession. This phase aims to prolong the formation of professional interests and create conditions for the implementation of the student’s choice and adaptation in a professional environment.

Interest in the profession often changes among adolescents. This can happen due to the influence of external factors, for example, when students get a misconception about the content of work or the prospects of the profession, or they do not objectively assess their capabilities and neglect their psychophysiological characteristics and overestimate their strengths. In this regard, the main goal of professional self-determination is the gradual formation of the student’s inner readiness for conscious and independent construction, adjustment and realisation of the prospects for their development (professional, life and personal), readiness to be considered developing over time and independently to find personally significant meanings in a specific professional activity.

Many universities have special departments for career guidance. Their representatives conduct lectures, talks, give individual and group consultations, perform professional diagnostics, and lead social and psychological training. Employees of universities and colleges visit schools for career guidance events, inform about faculties and specialities, acquaint high school students with the multilevel educational system.

People who have made the right choice for themselves and work with pleasure in a certain area of the economy, showing high productivity, are an important strategic resource for the state and society, ensuring stability and growth.

But how to make sure someone makes the right choice for themselves?

It is an indisputable fact that the theoretical knowledge acquired in schools and universities often differs from the real requirements of employers. Workplace training for a particular profession in a given industry develops skills derived not only from theory but also and from practice. In the conditions of our fast-changing world, the earlier orientation to a certain profession and the timely and practical mastering acquire key importance for professional realisation.

Apprenticeship is on-the-job training, alternating with learning in the education system. Unlike internships, which are typically short-term, registered apprentices remain with the firm for four to six years and youth apprentices for one to two years. It is enough time to be sure that they secure good-paying jobs which meet their skill and wishes. Even more, young people find apprenticeships attractive because they are motivating, practical, and affordable. For many young people, it is inspiring to learn by doing, particularly for those who perform better in work-based settings than in purely school-based ones.

Some of the most well-known professions that use an apprenticeship as a method of education are law, accounting, culinary arts, and graduate engineering. Not only in skilled occupations but apprentices are also used in higher education, as the modern concept of an internship is quite similar to the idea of apprenticeship. Among them are graduate students in the role of apprentices, doctoral students as journeymen and professors as masters.

The apprentice’s most significant advantage for the apprentice is in building work habits in a specific workplace, in actual conditions, under which young people could work in the future. By joining an apprenticeship program, it will not be necessary for the individual to qualify further if they wish to pursue the same profession in the same job. That would make it easier for them to find a job with another employer who needs a specialist with already established experience in the profession. The apprentice has received not only detailed information but also practical experience. An apprenticeship would solve the problem of not finding another job, gaining professional confidence, or motivating further development.

The main advantage for employers who have opened places for apprentices is that during the apprenticeship, persons they have appointed become acquainted with the specific requirements regarding the work performed. The organisation does not need to qualify them further after the apprenticeship expires if it wants to hire them for a more extended period. If the organisation still needs the job, which has been specially opened for apprenticeships, it will have an employee prepared according to its specific requirements. That will save time and money needed to find suitable candidates for this job and acquaint them with the nature of the work of relevant skills.

Here are five facts about apprenticeships that will be helpful to know:

  • Apprenticeship had existed since ancient times, since the time of Egypt and Babylon, when training in craft skills was organised to maintain a sufficient number of masters. In the later years of the Roman Empire, artisans began to organise into independent colleges designed to meet the standards of their crafts. In Western Europe, handicrafts appeared in the 13th century in the form of craft guilds.
  • Apprenticeship is cost-effective and benefits taxpayers but offers impressive starting salaries. Often their amount exceeds the average starting salary of after college graduates.
  • Apprenticeship training traditionally included soft skills training. These skills enable you to fit in at a workplace. They include your personality, attitude, flexibility, motivation, and manners.
  • Apprenticeship leaves students with minimal debt. Apprenticeship students are paid while completing their education and training. Тhis is a great advantage in countries where taking out a student loan is popular.
  • Apprenticeship training can extend beyond blue-collar jobs. Аpprenticeships are not only for skilled professions. All professions were once learned through apprenticeship—even law and medicine. Basically, apprenticeship is a process of learning by doing. Today you can find apprenticeship positions at startups to learn marketing, sales, and other professional skills on the job.

Conclusion

We can conclude that career guidance is a scientifically based system of socio-economic, psychological, pedagogical, medical-physiological and production-technical measures to assist young people in identifying and developing abilities and inclinations, professional and cognitive interests in choosing a profession, as well as the formation of the need and readiness to work in market conditions, the multi structure of forms of ownership and entrepreneurship.

Apprenticeships are a tool that employers could use to train staff who meet the specific requirements of a particular company or organisation as much as possible. In this sense, apprenticeship – an excellent opportunity to reduce unemployment and adapt skills to employers‘ needs. And for employers, a wonderful way to ensure a team with strong technical and employability skills.

Sources: 

  1. sch17uz.mskobr.ru – Career guidance – theory
  2. moluch.ru – The relevance of career guidance work in educational institutions 
  3. purdue.edu – Apprenticeships: Helping Youth Develop the Skills Needed by Today’s Employers
  4. fee.org – 5 Little Known Facts of Apprenticeship
  5. ilo.org – A framework for quality apprenticeships