There is no doubt that the breadth of career options available to young people has grown immensely over the last few decades. This breadth of choice and abundance of opportunity while incredibly exciting, can also be quite overwhelming! In addition, the time commitment and increasing costs of training and tertiary qualifications creates pressure on young people and their parents to ‘get it right first time’ – to choose training options and career paths which are ‘guaranteed’ to lead to well-paid work and that are a ‘good fit’ for the individual.
The lofty ideal tertiary education as an exploratory learning and life experience, where young people could ‘try out’ various subject areas before settling on a course of study, and pursue areas of interest with no clear employment pathway may be becoming a historical ‘luxury’ (in a post-GFC world).
Finding focus before investing in further education
With a multitude of diverse career paths and highly technical and specialised jobs, the increasingly complex world of careers has become quite difficult terrain to navigate (especially for teenagers and their parents).
There has been a strong emphasis in recent years on ‘following your passion’ and while that is a valid concept to a point, a more relevant and useful proposition is to help young people connect areas of interest, with areas of natural skill and strength, and then use this combination as a launch pad to explore a targeted range of career paths with a focus on areas with strong future prospects.
For me, there are six steps to a robust approach to career planning (relevant to teenagers and adults alike!)
- Understand Self
- Identify Interests and Passions
- Understand Talents
- Understand the Career Implications (of 1, 2 & 3)
- Identify Potential Career Paths
- Consider Future Demand of Potential Career Paths
In terms of the above six steps, I would recommend asking and answering the following questions:
Who am I? I tend to focus on understanding personality here.
What am I most passionate about or interested in?
What are my natural skills and abilities?
What does this combination of personality, interests and talents lend itself to career-wise?
Of the career areas identified, what areas are in demand and/or are predicted to have strong employment prospects in the future?
Author: Kate McBeath, Bulls-Eye Creator and Owner
In 2012, armed with a degree in Psychology, a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and over 10 years working in HR, organisational development and consulting for large local and international businesses, Kate decided to apply her strong knowledge and experience of personality assessment, career management and coaching to develop an innovative online career tool for kiwi teenagers.
Bulls-Eye engages young people through the use of quiz based assessments; provides career path direction; and, opportunities to explore and understand a wide range of employment opportunities. The subscriber base has grown rapidly with Bulls-Eye being used by thousands of students in secondary schools all around New Zealand. The concept has recently been adapted to meet the needs of the Australian market with a pilot underway in a large school in Brisbane (Bulls-Eye Australia).