Career Awareness Week: 15-19 Oct 2018: Preparing learners for the world of work
The subject decisions that young people make at school have a big impact on their lives - affecting both their further education, training and employment opportunities. Choosing a career is incredibly important, and it requires matching interests with skills, strengths and capabilities. Ensuring that our learners develop these skills and choose the right subjects for the careers that interest them, and for which they are suited, is of the utmost importance.
As the Western Cape Government, we are educating for the purpose of empowering our young people to be productive members of society. We want them to have the right skills to find jobs that are available, or to start their own businesses.
As such, the WCED has planned a Career Awareness Week for 15 to 19 October 2018, to enable learners to make informed decisions about their future careers. This is an opportunity for Life Orientation teachers to complete the World of Work section of their curriculum.
The purpose of the Career Awareness Week is to make learners in Grades 7 to 9 aware of the importance of selecting the correct subjects in Grade 10. During this week schools are encouraged to focus on activities that will guide learners to make informed decisions about their future career pathways.
Life Orientation teachers are encouraged to plan activities for this week that will focus on the World of Work. In some instances work given to learners on the World of Work during the course of the year could culminate in this week.
Grade 7 learners are also encouraged to focus on a weeklong project, which includes the completion of a career research activity that culminates in a career dress-up day. In this engagement with their future careers, learners will come to school dressed up to represent their future careers.
At schools across the province, career planning starts in Grade 7 and continues to matric. The curriculum is very clear about the importance of Career Planning and subject choices. In fact these are topics in the CAPS that are compulsory for teachers to implement. In GET (World of Work) and FET (Careers and Career Choices).
One of the Western Cape Government's strategic priorities is to ensure that learners are 'digitally literate'. We have identified eLearning as a game changer that will help to level the playing fields in education in the Western Cape, and will help to ensure quality education in every classroom in every school.
In addition, it is a priority of the Western Cape Government to promote high in demand technical and vocational occupations.
We have a special focus on the skills demand within our Project Khulisa priority sectors, as they have the greatest potential to drive economic growth and create jobs. These are: Oil & Gas, Tourism and Agri-processing.
We have also launched an app that has been developed as part of our Apprenticeship Game Changer called "Grades Match" that connects learners with education and career opportunities - the app is mainly targeted at high school learners. It requires pupils to register their preferred subjects and answer questions about their personality traits and career goals; it then analyses this information and produces career choices, qualification programmes and lists universities that offer them.
On entering their subject marks in the app, pupils get an admission point score for each subject. It also compares this score to university-required scores. If the learner does not meet any requirements, the app would search out diploma alternatives, and thereafter EFT qualification alternatives. Following this, students would be able to search for funding opportunities related to qualification of choice.
The app can be accessed here - https://www.gradesmatch.co.za/
As a Government, we must strive to create a ladder of opportunity that young people can use in order to become productive and employable adults with brighter futures, so that we break the cycle of poverty that still exists in far too many of our communities.
I believe that through career guidance and awareness, we can teach our learners far more about what careers are available, and also which ones provide better opportunities for employment or entrepreneurship.
It is also vital that we concentrate on empowering our young people to become employers themselves, or to be able to run their own small business so they can provide for themselves and their families.
Globally it has been proven that countries that cultivate entrepreneurial support have reaped the benefits in their economy, boosted investors' confidence, and increased job creation. In addition they have also reduced crime, uplifted the living standards of citizens and contributed to a stable community development.
As a Government we need to invest in our collective futures and the future of this beautiful country by empowering learners to be productive members of society. To achieve this, we need to support our learners in developing critical and well as future skills that will assist them in making well informed choices about their futures, which can lead them to have a more optimistic outlook on life, sense of purpose and greater level of contribution that they make to their families and society.