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Career’s counselling 101

Guiding students towards their future pathways is a rewarding, but often difficult, task, especially when there is so much uncertainty around what that future will look like. New jobs are emerging, and old ones are disappearing, and the traditional route of

‘go to school, go to university and get a secure job’

isn’t applicable to everyone anymore. How can educators, careers counsellors, and really anyone in a position to provide advice on life after high school, help students make a decision about what to do when they leave school?

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Don’t Be Dismissive

It’s very easy to dismiss someone’s vision if it isn’t similar to our own, especially when it’s someone we care about. When a student expresses their desire to follow a non-traditional pathway, or an interest in a career that isn’t experiencing much growth, the last thing we should do is shut down their idea.

I knew a student who told her career’s counsellor that she wanted to go into real estate. The counsellor told her it’s a ‘dead end job’.

Instead, provide some guidance on how they can pursue that pathway, and help them consider the pros and cons of their choice.

Consider Alternate Pathways

On a similar note, more students are considering non-traditional pathways after school, such as TAFE, traineeships and gap years. Encourage students to pursue a pathway that fits them – university isn’t for everyone, so we shouldn’t impose this expectation on every student.

Encourage Work Experience

One of the best ways students can get a clearer understanding of their future career is to engage with work experience. Encourage students to give it a go, emphasising that it will

  • Provide an insight into what it’s like to work in the real world
  • Show them what it’s like to work in an industry they are interested in, and  
  • Help them develop skills for the workforce

If you have any other tips on how to careers counsel students, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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