EA Universities Guide

Career choices: Dilemmas facing East African varsity students

Share Bookmark Print Rating
Media training at St Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

Media training at St Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. The career choices that young adults make are embedded in their perceptions of their dream job. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

By LABAN PETER AYIRO

Posted  Friday, April 22   2016 at  13:43

In Summary

  • A major turning point in adolescents’ lives involves the career choice that they make while in high school. Frequently, it is viewed by family and community as a mere start to workplace readiness; however, this decision plays a major role in establishing youth in a career path that opens as well as closes opportunities.
  • Engaging parents, universities and other stakeholders in active support of career exploration and choice provides the context that assists adolescents in making successful transitions into adult workplace roles.

The phenomenon of globalisation has led to increased competition and threat to the survival of work organisations. All types and levels of employment have been affected to different extents.

Many traditional jobs have been replaced by new ones or have been radically transformed. Increasingly flexible employment contracts and a greater heterogeneity of the workforce are important features in the current labour market.

The growing complexity of the world of work has been coupled by the massification of post-secondary education and training opportunities. There has been an expansion of provision at all levels of the educational system in the East African Community partner states’ universities resulting in greater numbers of students of all ages, institutional diversity, and academic heterogeneity.

When compared to some years ago, students today have a broader range of educational opportunities although they face a tougher, competitive and more complex labour market.

Citizens today have to learn to assess myriad information systems so as to map out their education, training and employment routes that fit one’s interests, skills, competencies, qualifications and evolving labour market opportunities. This implies further educational choices, which must be made in the light of this scenario and labour market demands.

In view of the continuous developments in employment and education, access to high quality career guidance is important for creating and maintaining a competitive knowledge-based economy and ensuring social inclusion.

Career development, for most people, is a lifelong process of engaging the work world through choosing among employment opportunities made available to them.

Each individual undertaking the process is influenced by many factors, including the context in which they live, their personal aptitudes, and educational attainment.

A major turning point in adolescents’ lives involves the career choice that they make while in high school. Frequently, it is viewed by family and community as a mere start to workplace readiness; however, this decision plays a major role in establishing youth in a career path that opens as well as closes opportunities.

Given the differences in the social and economic context of college-bound versus work-bound adolescents, it is important to explore the factors that influence young adults’ selection of specific careers.

Studies have shown the interrelated nature of the youth’s perceptions that highlight the importance family, school and community play in shaping young adults’ career choices. Research brings out the following thematic areas that influence career choices for young adults:

Family, school and social culture nexus

Young adults, through interaction with the context of family, school, and community, learn about and explore careers that ultimately lead to career choice.

The interdependence of family, school, and community culture plays a critical role in shaping the youth’s occupational choice.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 Next Page»