Every year 1000s of Grade 12 learners must decide on their next move after completion of their last year at high school. The choices are vast given the array of opportunities that exist in the world-of-work and tertiary study - making a choice is difficult. Yet we expect 17/18 year-olds to know what they want to do in life. A world renowned sports company has as its punch line, "impossible is nothing", but in this case, making a choice that could influence the rest of your life's journey can be debilitating. Where did we come on the notion that teenagers can do this in their last year of high school?
This question brings me back to the careers evening. Over 50 exhibitors were on hand to provide learners and parents with information packs that could help them make a choice. Consultants were also on hand to give further advice.
My role this evening was to formally welcome the various role-players. I perform this duty with the required enthusiasm, but also used the 10 minute platform to challenge our FET and HEI representatives to question the learners that pass by their exhibitions. They must not allow a learner to simply collect a brochure. Thy must engage our young minds and give advice that may require the person to leave their institution's table and head across the venue to a competing institution, because that is the best option for the child. The choice made cannot be influenced by loyalty to an institution but must be primarily driven by the "best fit" for the learner. And the best fit may be to go the route of technical studies and not to attend an university. And we must be bold enough to say it to the parents chaperoning their children. I remind them that if they don't, the exhibitors should visit the campus bins of the host college, for many of their brochures and pamphlets will end up in these rubbish holders.
Making the right career choice is important; it is of paramount importance for the future well-being of South Africa. Too many learners are making ill informed decisions with regard to their career paths; too many parents are placing undue influence on their children without recognizing that the child's passion may sit somewhere else; too many schools are relying on a careers expo to service the children's need to have informed and well thought through responses to the requirement to define the next step post high school; too many of us are still selling the notion that success is defined by an university degree and every other qualification is inferior in comparison; too many children are paying the price for such stupidity as they join the throngs of unemployed in our country.
Our children deserve well defined processes that help them make career choices so that their ultimate pick serves both the individual and our country. What do you think? Do leave a comment.