Saturday, April 28, 2012

Youth Get Tips on Career Moves

To many young people, making career choices is always a nightmare. And the intense advertising by colleges and universities for courses varying from hospitality to archeology, from communications to law, and contradicting advice from family and friends, does not help matters.

But does choosing a course or career path have to be an unpleasant experience? Patrick Juma the Business Development Manager at Inoorero University disagrees. Anyone seeking to join an institution of higher learning should first evaluate his or her interests, he says.

“Your interests largely determine and influence your performance and capability to perform,” says Mr Juma. It is easy for instance, to know if you are a science or art oriented person. This he says is a good starting point to making a career choice. "Don't pursue engineering if you are poor in mathematics for example.”

Take time to find out the workplaces and even areas within a job that excite and interest you. Next is to research on the basic skills and competencies required to carry out that task or job effectively. Already armed with this information, Mr Juma says, think of the marketability of the course you want to undertake. “You need to ask yourself, in the next 10-15 years, how relevant will the skills I want to acquire be,” he says.

Some colleges and universities have been accused of producing half-baked graduates who cannot transfer theory from the classroom to practice. Aspiring students should research on the reputation of the institution, and especially on the particular programme they wish to pursue. How many of their graduates are in the job market? What experience and capacity (requisite facilities) does the institution posses to teach effectively? How qualified are the lecturers? Among other questions.

A good institution should be able to produce trained professionals that the industry accepts. Evidence of these includes partnerships with industry, networks with the alumni and ongoing mentorship among others.

Mr Juma says seeking professional guidance when choosing a course of study always pays off. “Gather as much information concerning the institution as well as the course,” he says. “This can be done by attending open days by the institutions, attending forums where information on the course is disseminated and consulting career counselors for guidance.” Career counselors help students identify their strengths and interests, as well as give insights on marketable programmes, among other relevant information.

The practice of parents and relatives imposing careers on their children is not a foreign one. This has been blamed as the cause for many career mistakes or wastage of time and resources on courses that students do not utilise in future. “Parents ought to understand and accept that their children may have divergent passions and interests,” says Mr Juma.  “They can advise, but let their children follow their own dreams.”  This article  appeared    in THE PEOPLE  DAILY newspaper in Kenya. Friday ,April 27 2012 page 15 .I was giving tips  to youth on how to choose a career.

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