KAMPALA – Career guidance worldwide is one of those few things that most people do not give attention to and it is a good question to ask. Who is responsible? I was invited by the Rotary Club of Nakawa in Formation fellowship to share my experience. I have been in career guidance for over ten (10) years and I have gotten insights on the challenges of career guidance in this country. Careers are an expression of the demand for human resources in the country and the education plus training available. However, this is a responsibility of key stakeholders; government, parents, teachers, organizations and the individuals themselves. Government has an overall responsibility to its citizens. It has a major role of supporting economic activities in the economy. Government should identify economic activities required in the country and draw up a strategic human resource plan that will serve those economic activities. If Government does this, it will give an indication of what jobs will be required in the years ahead, education and training institutions will act accordingly. Government therefore has a very important role to play in determining the careers the people in that nation will pursue. The challenge with Government though is that if it fails to have the right policies, the economy will not go the right direction. Besides there are some professions where the government has no role. For instance, if someone wants to pursue music and arts as a career, government can only follow up by providing an enabling atmosphere and training facilities.
Parents have a major role to play in the careers of their children. Every individual has inert competences, talents and passion. Parents should identify the child’s ability in the younger years of their life and harness them. If the child has singing competences, they should be harnessed. The parent should then support the child in the development of his or her career by taking the child to relevant educational and training institutions. Parents should avoid forcing children to follow them in their careers or in the parent’s careers. The individual him or herself has a responsibility in shaping their careers. Every individual as earlier indicated has inert talent at times it is difficult to discover these talents. If the talent is discovered, the individual should then seek that education and training that will enable them get into those careers. If somebody knows their passion, matches it well with knowledge and skills, then this person can then pursue a career of their choice. While the individual has a key role to play in shaping his or her career, teachers and academic institutions have a major role too.
When the student enters an academic institution, the teachers and the institution too should have a mechanism of identifying children’s talents and a system of identifying and developing these talents. Students should be encouraged and supported in taking these subjects which they are able and are interested in doing. Teachers should continuously encourage these young people to excel in those areas that they may have identified. Education institutions should therefore have career coaches both at primary and secondary levels and career centers in institutions of higher learning. This should enable an individual to map out a career. Employers too should have a role in shaping the careers for their employees. Once a person has been recruited, his or her abilities should be accessed in relation to the job they perform. The organization should then offer opportunities to the employees to excel in their tasks through training, coaching and mentoring.
Careers are expressions of activities and economic opportunities in a specific setting usually in a country or region. The growth of Dubai as a leading tourist destination in the world created new job opportunities in the hospitality industry and yet Dubai originally was known to be in the oil and petroleum business. The country must be able to plan its future and consequently the type of human resources they require. Individuals and organizations will fit into the bigger picture though Government still has a crucial part to play. The Ministry of Education and Sports Department of career guidance, the National Planning Authority, the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development and Ministry of Public Service are responsible for the country’s strategic Human Resource Plan. However, their effectiveness has been limited by funding.
The author, Maureen Tweyongyere is the Director Career and Skills Development Centre MUBS