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Career Choice

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By PrincessMW
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Abstract
When making a career choice there are many variables students have to consider before making their final decision. Fortunately, students have support from teachers, counselors, parents and other stakeholders to assist them with their choices. Career counselors play a pivotal role in aiding students with this important step, by implementing the tools to guide them in discovering their interests and abilities and matching them with jobs that most appropriately fit their personality styles.
A Career Counseling Assessment Programme allows the counselor the opportunity to scrutinise the range of career choices with the student after which the best choice is made in the student’s interest. This requires the counselor to be an objective thinker who is not easily influenced by emotion.
This programme gives students the life skills needed to improve their self-concepts, become sentient of educational awareness, economic awareness, develop their skill competence, problem solving abilities and be generally prepared for the world of work.

Introduction At some point in the life of students, whilst in the process of choosing a career, they encounter situations when they could benefit from honest advice. Career counselors provide this much needed guidance to students so that they can triumph over this overwhelming process. In the school system career counseling is a student-centered support service where students are guided through the career planning process by a variety of tools and skills. This assists them in setting and achieving their goals. It is very beneficial to students who are not certain of what career field they want to enter, are having problems deciding what academic subjects to pursue, or who just want confirmation on an already decided career choice.
Pre-conditions
Worldview
Put God first in every aspect of life is the world view of the author. If we embrace God and trust him with faith as small as a mustard seed, we will be guided to make the right decisions in life and in our careers. As stated in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. We must live our lives according to God’s purpose and will, that is the only way we will fulfil our destiny.
Defining the contextual setting The contextual setting chosen for this programme is the Secondary School system in Trinidad and Tobago from Forms 1 to 5 with the average ages of students being between 12 years to 18 years old. In most Secondary Schools, students are assigned based on the Secondary Entrance Exam, whilst some schools accept private student who pay for their tuition. Students at these schools pursue both academic and technical subjects in preparation for making their career decision. The Caribbean Examination Council and the General Certificate of Education are two of the major examinations by which students are tested at the end of Form 5. According to the Ministry of Education Draft National Occupational Classification 2009, the major occupational groups available to students in Trinidad and Tobago are as follows:
Major Group 1 Managers
Major Group 2 Professionals
Major Group 3 Technicians and Associate Professionals
Major Group 4 Clerical Support Workers
Major Group 5 Service and Sales Workers
Major Group 6 Skilled Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Workers
Major Group 7 Craft and Related Trade Workers
Major Group 8 Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers
Major Group 9 Elementary Occupations
Major Group 0 Defence Force. Globalisation has created market shifts in standards for which the student must be aware. This situation has caused organisations to change the way they do business or face the likihood of being left behind. Productivity, customer focus, flexibility, speed and quality are all characteristics an organisation must possess to succeed in the competitive market. In order to achieve success, organisations have to put greater emphasis on team work and networking. Students have to be mindful of these sweeping changes in the job industry, and change the way they look at the job market. The advent of new international markets, the reduction of trade barriers and advanced information sharing have made some organisations more efficient and productive, thus there is less demand for a huge workforce. For students to survive in this transformed work society, their education and skills must be of the best. Education and flexibility would be the key for students to survive in this globalised world, since traditional jobs are being replaced by those requiring new information and communication technologies. Students are also to realise that the key to securing employment in the future is lifelong learning. According to Betty Mc Donald (2008) of Penn State University:
In the present information age where myriad opportunities abound, for the average individual, making the right career choice can be difficult. Globalization and mobility have caused job stability to be increasingly illusive, paving the path for informed career management (purposeful management of learning, training and work throughout life). (p.1)
Developmental programmes
The student curriculum developed for students is to aid them in their learning process and how to make career decisions. This developmental plan would encompass four broad areas; Personal/Social Development, Academic Development, Career Development and Spiritual Development.
• Personal/Social Development (learning to live) is geared toward developing the students personal life by raising their self-concept and assisting them with managing relationship with others. They will be more aware of their emotions and know how to control them.
• Academic Development (learning to learn) would assist students in all aspect of learning, such as, academic learning, achieving goals, managing time. They would be encouraged to capitalize on their academic opportunities which are the pillar on which they would stand to propel them into the working world.
• Career Development (learning to work) is how the students will learn to make the transition from school to work. This would include being successful academically and learning skills and workplace values which would benefit them for their life time.
• Spiritual Development (learning to believe) is developing the students to believe that there is a higher calling, that someone is responsible for their lives. Getting to know this Being would bring greater self-awareness and holistic living to them.
Content
Developing self awareness
Self awareness assists students to know what they want to get out of life by helping them to understand themselves, and being aware of their capabilities and limitations. It is important in the career development programme, because without self understanding it would be difficult for others to understand and want to employ them.
Having a grasp on self awareness the students would be able to focus on what is valuable to them and not get lost in the day to day momentum which could cause them to lose their vision of what is important. A better understanding of their personalities would guide them in making career decision choices which would be congruent in keeping with John Holland’s theory on personality, in which he assumed that people select a career similar to their personality type. Some of the strategies to be used to achieve self awareness would be to collaborate with teachers who would conduct academic support activities including learning style assessment; administrators who are expected to provide the appropriate school climate and implement behavioural plans; students who are to provide peer support and academic support; and parents who are to encourage their children to think about their career from an early age to assist them in their success.
Career awareness
Career awareness is one of the key parts of the career development programme which introduces children to the world of work. They are able to analyse their abilities and interests, gain the required knowledge and skills needed about different occupations, salary, employer information, labour market information, which would guide their placement, progression and development through various assessment, counseling and training activities. This knowledge can then be applied in navigating the competitive world of work.
Applying educational awareness
Information would be provided to students to assist them in learning more about the different streams of careers and the vocational qualification and skills necessary which corresponds with different jobs. They must be aware of what is needed to develop their readiness for the work market. Programmes would be developed identifying the various career choices and the academic pathway identified. In this way, students would have no doubt as to what qualifications, and skills are needed to make an informed decision.
Economic awareness
Due to the family financial situation, a student may not be able to able to pursue academic studies in keeping with their chosen field of work. This is a barrier that students must be made aware of so that alternative measures can be adopted so as not to hinder the student’s growth. The student would be made aware of Scholarships offered by the government of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the arrangement for Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE).
Skill Competence Awareness
In the quest to identify and assist the student with assessing skill competency, the Myers-Briggs test will be used to gather information. This would allow for the gaining of insights into the personality traits and interests which would be helpful in examining potential career paths for the student, since certain personality types are likely to find greater satisfaction in certain jobs. Analysing the personality and interests of the student is a big part in career counseling, it gives an opportunity for the counselor to ascertain how the student work with others and what are their life values.
Strategies
Implementing relevant programmes
The programme would be implemented over the normal school semester. The contents would be designed to allow the student to learn in a systematic and sequential manner. The curriculum component typically con¬sists of student competencies and structured activities presented systematically through classroom or group activi¬ties (Gysbers,1994) as quoted in The Guiding Principles for Career Development Services and Career Information Products (2007).
Academic, career and social and personal and religious standards are the four major content standards around which the programme would be developed and would be introduced to the student through special seminars and research. The student will be assisted with planning their independent portfolio through information and the development of their special skills with individual planning skills. To be successfully implemented, the cooperation of the principal, teachers and administrative staff of the school are needed.
Engaging team players
All stakeholders would be included in guaranteeing the success of this programme. Assistance would be sought from the principal, teachers, administrative staff, professional agencies and parents and guardians.
The counseling process.
Personal counseling for self-discovery and problem solving In making a career decision choice the student would have to examine all areas of their lives, intrinsically, personal issues and conflicts. The counselor would have sessions with the students to assist in making important choices which are affecting their lives.
Group counseling exercises including social awareness
In order to function in the world of work the student would have to learn how to interact with others. Instilling social skill in students is a lifelong lesson for students which would enable them to make friends and keep the job they are preparing for. Special group counseling would be established to teach the students the benefits of positive social skills. The sessions would take into account any unique situation an individual student may have and give it special attention.
Instruments
A test provides only part of the picture about a person. On the other hand, the assessment process combines and evaluates all the information gathered about an individual or a group of individuals to provide career guidance or to select individuals for training or development programmes. The table below highlights the relationship between assessment tools and workforce development.
Tests and inventories are assessment tools that may be used to measure an individual’s abilities, values, and personality traits. They are components of the assessment process.
!personality inventories !interviews
! achievement tests !physical ability tests
! aptitude tests !specific ability tests
! assessment centers !work samples/performance tests
! general ability tests !work values inventories
! interest inventories
Assessment process
Systematic approach to combining and evaluating all the information gained from assessment and using it to provide career guidance, and aid in training and development.
Adapted from Testing and Assessment: A Guide to Good Practices for Workforce Investment Professionals (hereinafter referred to as the Guide) was produced and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (2006) (p. 3).

Accessing traditional diagnostic tools
John Holland’s theory of career choice is the framework within which an instrument would be created, since it is one of the best theories for career development. Holland’s perception is that individuals choose jobs which match their personality types, and in choosing a job they prefer to be around people who are like them. This would be used along with the paper and pencil version of the Self Directed Search (SDS). The SDS Form E asks simple questions about the student’s likes and dislikes, their competencies, their job interests, and their personal abilities. Using a simplified scoring system, the SDS Form E generates a two-letter Summary Code for each student. Using this code, a search will be made for jobs with matching or similar codes.
Ginzberg’s et al. Career Development Theory is the other instrument to be used to assess students career choices. The theory’s three stages, fantasy, tentative and realistic would be engaged to ascertain how the cognitive transitioning occurred from childhood to adolescent. This would be achieved by role playing and discussion with the aim of discovering students likes and dislikes, their personal values and priorities in life as well as their occupational lifestyles.
Work engagement
Work values awareness
When choosing a profession, a student work value is important and would impact on his or her performance on the job. For a student to know whether a job is right for them, they must always have their values to the back of their mind and whether the job would cause them to deviate from their values. Some of the values a student can look for in a job are transparency in the organisation, or whether the job has creativity which would be one of the student’s values. Values should be the most important guiding principle of the student, since it would allow for the setting of priorities in the student personal and career life. The world of work is dynamic and changes occur daily, unanticipated opportunities or job rotation can be presented to an employee, before accepting it will be wise for the student to stop and reflect their value system to ensure that the right decision is taken.
Employment search awareness
The following are requirements to guide students in preparing for a job:
• Job search in the marketplace: Jobs can be acquired from advertisements in the print and electronic media, through Recruitment Agencies, Internet sites such as, O*Net, World of Work Map and from networking with people in the field of work.
• Writing and circulating a curriculum vitae: include all pertinent information such as name, contact number, relevant qualifications highlighting skills and strengths and, only include what the job requires.
• Recommendations and references: only mention persons who are within the same field as the job being applied for.
• Attending and conducting oneself in a job interview: students would be taught how to dress, answer questions and generally comport themselves in an interview, and be reminded to be punctual.
• Ensure that the student research the organisation to gain general knowledge before the interview.

Philosophical Guiding Principles
• The career development service is adequately promoted within the school so that students are aware of its existence and purpose.
• Students are made aware that they are responsible for active input into the career development service.
• At various points throughout the service delivery, the purpose and goals are reiterated.
• Students are assured of professional and confidential service as beneficiaries of the career development service.
• Students are aided in exploring their options and making choices.
• Students are made aware of their rights and entitlements, and they have rights to complaint if they are dissatisfied with the service.
• Feedback would be collected from students in different formats and where needed used to improve the service.
• Student’s information are adequately stored to preserve client privacy and confidentiality.
• There will be no discrimination to students on aspects of cultural, social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.
• Systems are in place to evaluate the service by all stakeholders, and acted upon where improvements are needed.
Conclusion
Career Counseling Assessment Programme has benefits for students and should be made mandatory in the Secondary School Curriculum in Trinidad and Tobago. It supports the academic, career, personal/social and spiritual needs of students development by activities designed to assist them in acquiring knowledge of themselves and others, and identifying their educational and personal goals through career development.

References
Dr C.B Peter Morgan, Researchers and Their Theories: An Overview. 2012
Dr.C.B Peter Morgan, Elements of Career Development Programme. 2012. http:/www.sc.gov visited on 7th and 8th December 2012.
Mc Donald, Betty, Profiling Career Choice: The case of Business Management Technicians from
State-run Technical Institutes in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies; Canadian Journal of Career Development, Volume 7, Number 2, 2008.
Ministry of Education, Draft National Occupational Classification. 2009.
Testing and Assessment: A Guide to Good Practices for Workforce Investment Professionals, produced and funded by the U.S. Deoartment of Labour’s Employment and Training Administration (2006).
The Guiding Principles for Career Development Services and Career Information Products have been prepared by the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) for the Australian
Government Department of Education, Science and Training.(2007).
Osipow, S.H., Fitzgerald, L.F. (1996) Theories of Career Development, (4th Edition) Allyn & Bacon.
The Holy Bible. King James Version.

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...Five years ago, I began the journey of becoming an LPN (License practical nurse). Even though there where many obstacles. I was able to complete the program and become the great LPN that I am today. Unfortunately, as the years have passed, I once again have decided to continue my education and finish what I started 5 years ago and become an RN (Register Nurse). Not only do I want to become an RN because, I love taking care and providing for others, but I want to be able to be more financially stable to provide for my family. There are also better opportunities as far as work places and duties. My skills will no longer be limited and the benefits will be more gratifying. In total, becoming an RN seems to have more pros than cons. Not only do I want to become an RN because, I love taking care and providing for others, but I want to be able to be more financially stable to provide for my family. It will be fewer hours for better monetary outcome. It will endow me the time needed to spend with my family. As an RN, there will be doors that will open to provide better opportunities and flexibility. Upon completion of graduation, registered nurses are able to work on staff at hospitals, nursing homes, teaching positions at colleges, hospitals, and universities. They can also specialize in certain nursing fields, such as: neonatal nursing, patient educator, oncology, and clinical nurse manager. The need for nurses also gives you some flexibility for your schedules, various......

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...OTHER FACTORS INFLUENCING CAREER CHOICES Interests Career choice will also be influenced by your interests. Most students tell us that they would like an ‘interesting’ job. Interests are of course, very personal, and two people may be interested in the same activity for quite different reasons. A chess player might relish the company, the intellectual challenge, the competition, the elements of psychological warfare. So what do you mean by ‘interesting’? Think of a couple of activities - work, study or leisure that you have enjoyed. 1 2 What interested you? · Mental stimulation? · Using your abilities? · Sense of achievement? · Excitement? · What else? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Which of your activities give you the most enjoyment? By choice, to which do you want to give most time? Is there an overall pattern? If so can you use it to take the following from 1 (most) to 6 (least) preferred? SCIENTIFIC/TECHNICAL (Experimenting, researching, design, analysis) PEOPLE(CARING) (assisting, caring, advising) PEOPLE (INFLUENCING) (organising, controlling, communicating) CREATIVE (art, craft, music, design) INFORMATION/DATA (numbers, analysing, classifying) PRACTICAL......

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