High school students need more career coaching help. Recently, I spoke with someone who had graduated from high school about two years ago. As a career practitioner in the private sector I wondered just how much information was provided prior to graduation, that helped her plan her education or find a job. Her response: “I wasn’t prepared out of high school.”
She explained, “I didn’t get enough information on what jobs are out there. You take biology and harder courses, they gear you to take these courses which I guess can make you prepared for something? What she wasn’t prepared to answer was what to do with those courses. “What are you going to do? I never got information about the types of jobs.”
In fact, the schools set these kids up from Grade 10 onward to start picking courses for some imaginary future job. One assessment may be offered and off they go picking their course structure. I remember that same approach during my junior and high school years and that was a long time ago. With no resources, basic resume understanding and no clue as to what is happening out there in the real world (and how that relates to their abilities or interests), many young adults flounder around trying to discover what is next.
There is so much to share with them and it is in their best interest that they receive it before the stress levels get higher. In fact, this young woman spoke to that very stress in our talk. Paraphrasing her passionate response: You see others going off to school and then you see some dropping out of college because it wasn’t right for them. You see friends with jobs and others without. It is a confusing time and you put pressure on yourself to figure out what are YOU going to do.
It is time for these graduates to get more of what the general public has access to from a career consultant, counsellor or coach. When my adult students come through one to one or group sessions they come away feeling empowered, they can plan better for their future and they understand the job market in a whole new way. Self discovery, proper planning, supportive resources and better decision making are important pieces in the process. Shouldn’t our students in high school receive the same quality of information?
There are two traps kids (and parents) fall into post high school:
1. Trying to look for work without a proper understanding of how to market their skills.
2. Applying for courses or programs without proper analysis of their interest or the viability of their choice.
In both cases, the outcomes usually are that self esteem plummets because of lack of success, plus time and money is wasted. We are not teaching our children proper planning for their careers nor providing necessary life skills for a successful transition from school to the working world.
Everyone always say’s “I wish had learned this career planning when I was younger, it would have saved me a lot of time and maybe I would have got into something that I actually like to do. I say, “I wish you would have had this too, but now you know better, you can do better by finding the job or taking the course that makes sense for you.”
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