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The Importance of Career Guidance & its Impact On South African Business

The Importance of Career Guidance & its Impact On South African Business

By Laura Kartus who can be contacted at laura@perfectcareers.co.za; www.perfectcareers.co.za

1. The Problem

Within the South African public educational system there is presently inadequate provision for vocational guidance or assessment of individual learners. This weakness results in high unnecessary costs for the Country and South African Business, as well as social discontent and hardship.

The majority of young people leave school with only a vague knowledge of employment opportunities and with little insight as to the most appropriate career direction for their abilities, interests and personality.

A large number of school-leavers receive no training at all beyond school and become virtually unemployable. And yet, if pointed in the correct direction, could have become assets to the South African economy.

Those school-leavers who believe that their only chance of future employment, with current unemployment at around 40%, is gaining some qualification, undertake tertiary education, irrespective of their suitability for the subjects chosen.

Little wonder that the drop-out rate for first year tertiary students stands at 35%!

It is at this point that the first of the wasted costs are incurred, especially by companies giving bursaries to these students.

The next area of wasted costs comes after these school and university leavers are employed. Research shows that a large proportion of employees feel "stuck" in their careers. This leads to low morale, disinterest and de-motivation, translating into poor performance and bad service levels. Further company training tends to have only a short term affect. In the end unhappy employees either leave at their own wish or need to be dismissed. In either case, the cost to the business is substantial – recruitment costs, training costs, hidden costs resulting from the poor performance, and the lack of continuity within the business. In the case of dismissal, there could well be added costs arising from our very stringent labour laws. The psychological cost to the employee and his family in either case can also be considerable.

Career guidance at grade 11, as undertaken in many first world countries, would help alleviate much of this hardship and unnecessary expense. It could also play an important role in reducing the high unemployment rate.


However, despite a recent reduction in price, the cost of psychometric assessment is still beyond the means of many schools and learners, especially those in the public educational system.


2. The Solution

A solution is now available through the use of Career Mapper, the world’s leading careers guidance psychometric assessment instrument, and a funding project being driven by Perfect Careers.

Being aware of the cost hurdle, Perfect Careers has drawn up a funding opportunity to enable the less and under privileged grade 11 learners to be assessed through the use of Career Mapper. Funding will be through Business, in the form of individual companies, "adopting" one or more schools within the public sector. All aspects of the programme will be handled by Perfect Careers in close cooperation with the adopted school and the sponsoring company.

3. About Career Mapper

This fully computerised assessment tool, developed by leading psychometrist Professor David Bartram of Hull University, UK, is registered with the SA Health Professions Council.

As it needs no psychologist to administer it or interpret the results, the programme can be run by teachers – all it takes is one double period.

Career Mapper is currently used throughout North America and the UK as well as developing countries such as Indonesia.

4. About Perfect Careers

Founded in 2000, Perfect Careers specialises in providing comprehensive career guidance to grade 11 and 12 learners through the use of Career Mapper. Perfect Careers is a corporate member of the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) and has worked extensively with their member schools. It is also a networking partner of The School Guide and Standard Bank Ltd.

5. Project Outline

The organisation of the project is flexible and can be structured to meet the individual requirements of each sponsoring company.

The execution of the project will be handled by Perfect Careers and includes the training of the schools’ career guidance teachers in providing individual feedback to both pupils and parents. During this feedback it will be ensured that each learner understands the report they get as well as hearing:

>> What they are like

>> Their personal profile

>> Their individual traits

>> Their working characteristics

>> A comprehensive guide to the careers they are suited

>> Access to a website that gives detailed information as to where training is available for those careers, what is required to apply as well as the who, where and what about bursaries for those careers.

>> An imported Life Planning Guide workbook

Perfect Careers will supply the back-up to the career assessment programme which each school will have and use on its own computers.

6. Benefits to the Sponsor

The sponsoring company will have access to the assessment reports for the purpose of screening potential bursary recipients. Should the sponsor wish to have its logo/name on all assessment reports to increase brand awareness, this can be done. If the sponsor wishes to have advertising/marketing material distributed at the "adopted" schools, this can be arranged. The sponsor’s name will appear on the Perfect Careers’ website. Perfect Careers is currently in touch with the SETAs to have the programme accepted within the training requirements of the levy.

For more information as to how your company can get involved in this transformation process, contact Perfect Careers:

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
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