In this age of rapid change, career guidance is more valuable than ever. The days when you could just follow one of your parents into a trade and pursue it for the rest of your life are long gone.
Some of the most common professions of today will be redundant in 20 years time, and similarly, new jobs will emerge with new opportunities. It’s all the more vital for people to plan ahead, and ensure they have a skillset that not only caters to their own strengths, but can be adapted to the changing times.
Becoming a career counsellor
Taking all of this into account, it’s clear that one career with a very bright future is that of the career counsellor. A lot of people don’t truly understand the value of a career counsellor until they employ one, and experience first-hand what a difference it makes to receive career advice from a professional, rather than from your parents or grandparents, who will probably advise you to become an engineer because you liked playing with lego as a child.
According to clinical psychologist Robin Scott, former conductor of SACAP’s Introduction to Psychology module (part of the college’s Bachelor of Psychology Degree), “career assessment is a process based on research which indicates that certain types of individuals and certain types of career environments can be matched in order to increase satisfaction for the individual, and productivity in the work environment”.
The use of the term ‘career environments’, as opposed to ‘careers’, is important, because it suggests a general area in which the client may thrive, rather than recommending a specific path. This allows for greater flexibility, which will be critical in the job markets of the future.
What will you learn at a career guidance course?
Being a career counsellor requires more than just being good at giving advice. The reason your services will be so highly sought after is because of the knowledge and skills you gain from training as a professional counsellor. Here are some of the qualities that set professional career counsellors apart from your average advice-giver:
The ability to administer aptitude tests
Aptitude and psychometric tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), are essential tools for helping the client ascertain their areas of strength. Though they do not provide a definitive ‘best’ career choice, they work well as a guideline.
What makes these tests so effective is that they take a number of factors into account, including the client’s interests, personality type and educational background. All of these factors combine to provide a strong indication of the kind of environment in which the client will thrive. For example, some people need the discipline of office environments, while others fare better when operating with more flexible timetables.
Of course, aptitude tests by themselves aren’t enough, otherwise you could just complete an online assessment test and walk straight into a job. People seek out the services of a counsellor because they require something more.
The power of a career counsellor lies in being able to combine analytical methods with traditional counselling skills, so you can help the client overcome procrastination and confidence issues. It’s one thing to take an aptitude test, another to take the next step and actively seek out job opportunities.
Another quality that sets career counsellors apart from the crowd is the ability to provide valuable insight into the job market. This will be especially important in the coming decades, as technological advancement continues to reshape industries.
Career counsellors need to develop research and analytical skills that will enable them to stay on top of industry trends. Training as a career counsellor also provides an opportunity to network, and form connections that will make you a more valuable asset to your clients.
Career counselling as a public service
Hopefully, educational institutions will continue to emphasise the importance of career counselling, leading to more widespread incorporation of career counselling services into the syllabus. Too many high school graduates are choosing career paths based on what their peers or family members are doing, without taking the time to investigate their capabilities. The more people who pursue fulfilling careers that play to their strengths, the better for society as a whole.
For more information on how to become a career counsellor, including courses and programmes that will best prepare you for this vocation, enquire now with SACAP.