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Careers advice vital for fulfilled lives

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It’s common for people to founder a bit before settling on a career, or more often, settling for one, it just isn’t a recipe for a happy, fulfilled life.

The issue could be handled better with appropriate careers advice and the Parliamentary Inquiry into Career Advice Activities in Victorian Schools which begins next week will hopefully provide a better picture of what careers advice should look like.

Submissions weighing in on the topic include Steve Shepherd’s, CEO of TwoPointZero, who believes students do not get the level of career advice or learn vital job seeking skills at school.

To wit: 66% of Victorians believe that their educational institute did not help them make the right career choice; 76% of Victorians believe that their educational institute did not adequately prepare them for the world of work including gaining interview skills, resume preparation and job search techniques and 47% of Victorians have lost hope of pursuing a career they are passionate about.

Shepherd believes the current high non-completion rates within Australian universities can be, in part, attributed to the quality of careers advice being delivered in Victorian schools, leading to students making uninformed choices and being herded into university.

The decline in the number of new apprenticeships is also further evidence of the education system's push for students to pursue further education rather than a vocational path after high school.

According to Shepherd we need to, among other things, apply a greater focus on understanding the career personality of each students and how this links to educational choices and pathways as well as career options.

More time and resources need to be made available to students to allow them to explore career options/opportunities that align with their career personality.

Career conversations should centre on careers first and then study choices once the career path is identified. Work experience selection should align with the careers the student is interested in pursuing or industries they are interested in working in.

He says we need to teach students how to network and build networks as 70% of jobs are sourced through networks.

Parents need to be involved in career conversations as they have the biggest influence over a student’s career decisions, they need to be provided with tools and advice to help them hold better career conversations.

Melyssa Fuqua is a careers advisor in a small rural Victorian school and has pointed out that more focus should be placed on careers education and that many schools do not offer any class time for careers education.

She says “One of the first challenges I faced in being appointed my school’s careers advisor was not being qualified to be one. I did not hold any sort of Certificate or postgraduate degree in careers advising or access any professional learning from organisations like the CEAV.

“There was no time for this and I had may other responsibilities on top of my regular teaching work. Being a careers advisor was one of the most stressful things I have done I saw it as important work, most of my students and their families saw it as important work, but there was little time in the school day/curriculum devoted to careers education and little support for professional learning. There were few professional development opportunities in my area”.

Career advice is clearly an important issue with deep consequences for an individual’s future and the inquiry's report should make for an informative read when released later in the year.

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