I was going through various articles and journals about the purpose of education. There was one consensus that ran through all the articles: that the true purpose of education is to equip students with the skills that will enable them to be productive citizens when they finish school. It went on to add that the integral development of every individual should be at the heart of every education system.
There are several ways that a country can achieve this but one critical way is through offering professional career guidance throughout the life of every individual; that is to say, relevant career interventions from kindergarten, primary, secondary, college and universities, in the communities as well as well at the workplaces. It’s on record that well planned and organized career guidance services are important in helping individuals both young and old make informed career choices, transitions and decisions. This service helps in building the concept of the purpose of education; to adequately prepare its citizens for the world of work and careers.
Unfortunately, systematic and organized career awareness, exploration and decision-making activities are limited in Kenya and Africa especially in learning institutions and communities. This situation is further affected by the fact that personnel appointed to offer the service are ill equipped with career guidance competencies to deliver career programmes.
For this reason, a Diploma in Career Guidance and Development (KNQF Level 6), has been launched in Kenya. Benchmarked on best practices, the qualification is developed in collaboration with international awarding organization ABMA Education, United Kingdom. The diploma is an online course where participants will learn about emerging careers and educational trends with a detailed analysis of the dynamic job market, theoretical concepts associated with career guidance and development among others. The outcome of the training will be to produce a pool of trained career guidance professionals who will offer professional services that can help all citizen access high quality career information and advice about education, training and work.
Delivered through remote learning, this qualification will be accessible to trainees all over Kenya and Africa, and can be deployed on both a regional and national and scale. In Kenya, specifically, it will help realize Kenya Vision 2030 (promoting lifelong learning, positive labour market outcomes and social equity and inclusion).
Speaking during the course inauguration, the Director in charge of Learning and Instructions Dr Mercy Maina said, “several reports show that thousands of college students and youth in communities lack career readiness skills needed to join the world of work; are unsure about how to enter the job market and build a long-term career; are unable to link what they learn in learning institutions with the world of work and focus on academic knowledge only. Academic skills, technical knowledge, career and employability skills as well as 21st century skills all combined promote skills to navigate the world of work.”
She continued to say, “inadequate, inconsistent and incomprehensive career guidance services offered has led to skills and field of study mismatch, career misalignment, poor delivery of career information and poor school-to-work transition programs among the youth.” She said all these have resulted to a lot of frustrations for young people, parents, educators and the job market.
The Ministry of Education in their education plans and policy documents, the latest being the Draft Career Counselling Policy (May 2021) highlights the need to address these national challenges. As the first of its kind in Kenya and the region, this training program addresses the training needs of career guidance personnel in different settings (schools, colleges, universities, youth, special needs and corporate organizations). It combines academic and practical skills through work-related learning to enable trainees become career guidance and development professionals. These professionals are expected to support their clients in activities that lead to career identification, exploration, decision making and application of skills across lifespan
The training will produce career guidance professionals with competences to help their clients make informed and rewarding career choices either in schools, colleges, tertiary institutions, universities, youth groups, special needs, and corporate organisations. They will help address the challenge of field of study mismatch, career misalignment, poor delivery of career information and poor school to work transition programs as well as everchanging nature of work.
Kenya is currently going through education reforms. The vision of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) is to enable every learner to become an engaged, empowered and ethical citizen. It aims at providing them with skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the 21st century, early identification and nurturing of talents as well as early introduction of learning pathways for senior school level. What better support can the country have than having a pool of trained career guidance personnel across basic education?
The author is the Director of Administration & Marketing in College of Career Guidance and Development. For more information visit www.careerguidancecollege.com or write to email@example.com