We often tell our children that if you choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life But the question remains how can a child choose the right career on his own? Being a parent we are concerned about our child’s career choices and as a result we research about various career options keeping several parameters in mind like difficulty level of a career, working hours, salary etc. Most common way of choosing a career in India is still telling our children to follow the footsteps of a successful adult in family, most commonly an elder sibling or a cousin.
Career Counselling has always been important but only recently, got the recognition it deserves. Earlier, people didn’t go to career counsellors as they used to opt for careers according to what their family used to suggest but now a lot of parents take children for career counselling starting from grade 9.Picking a career usually comes after picking a course. If a student doesn’t pick the right course, it would inadvertently affect their career choice. A recent study showed that 1 in 3 students are unhappy with the course that they picked. That is nearly half a million dissatisfied students! Such figures only point to one clear truth – The importance of career guidance in schools.
What happens in psychological career counselling?
To find the right career, there needs to be an understanding of what course to take and if capabilities match interests. A student might want to get into architecture thinking he’s good at math and that drawing a building isn’t too difficult. In reality, there is much more to architecture than that and there is a high possibility of him wanting to pursue another career at the end of the first year itself.In psychological career counselling a RCI certified counsellor will understand the deep rooted interests of child , the counsellor will also perform some psychological tests to understand the child’s personality traits to suggest suitable careers and IQ assessment is also a part of psychological career assessment as it helps to understand the child’s capabilities.
An established career counsellor will firstly, be able to explain the entire report, tell them the perks and disadvantages of pursuing both their interests and aptitudes, and give them the clarity and understanding to make the right decisions. This is much needed, especially, when students are prone to taking advice from inexperienced sources.
Tips for parents
Parents need to accept, acknowledge and allow their child to experiment and this is the only way we are going to be able to build a generation of happy individuals. They need to first take their children to the counsellor at school to understand their child’s career interest. Simultaneously, it is important that they remain open to the plethora of courses that are available today, which match the child’s interest and abilities. If a student likes to explore humanities or music as a career, then support their decision and encourage him/her to take it up.
Students tend to take advice from anyone they think has an experience. But it may not always be right or let alone be the best one.To make sure that students have clarity of thought, career counsellor must be made available for students at all times while they are in high school to receive the right and latest advice and if the school doesn’t have a trained career counsellor parents must take the child for psychological career counselling but make sure the counsellor has experience and license. Although CBSE has made it compulsory for schools to have counsellors, still there needs to be a distinction made as to what kind of counsellors are required. Many of the counsellors already present in schools are life skill counsellors and although life skills are important, the number of career counsellors are low.
As a child counsellor I believe Students want to be successful and they don’t mind getting help. They may feel shy at first or think it’s weak to take help, but it is our responsibility to help them build strong careers. Having a career counselling cell in schools is the first step in doing that. It is a great first step indeed and parents also need to understand the value of a psychological career assessment. The best way to predict the future is to create it and as parents we are responsible to help our child choose the right career option keeping his psychological needs in mind.
(The author is Counsellor for Jodhamal Public School)