Choosing a career is one of the most important choices you will make in your life. You will spend an amazing 86 400 hours of your life in your job, so it makes sense that you make an informed choice, so that you can be a happy and productive person.
Many people have made a career choice that was ill-informed, or not informed at all, maybe due to the fact that they admired somebody else in a similar career, or because they were not informed about career guidance services available. They may also choose a course because their parents told them to do it, or because their friends chose the same course, or for another wrong reason, such as that they will earn much money in the field. They then find the course they are studying uninteresting and drop out, wasting a lot of training money and time in which they could have earned money for themselves. They start out on another course, also uninformed of what the job entails and find themselves experiencing the same problem over again. Many stories can also be told about people in jobs they do not like, who are unproductive and unhappy.
The Department of Labour provides a free of charge career guidance service. If you are unemployed or underemployed (in a job that does not suit you), sign up for careers guidance and receive job preparation advice that will assist you to plan a bright future for yourself!
What is career guidance?
Career guidance is the process where you are assisted to clarify your career goals, understand your strengths as a person in the work-place and make informed career decisions. The career guidance process uses careers information on occupations, skills, career paths, learning opportunities, labour market trends and conditions, educational programmes and opportunities, educational and training institutions, government and non-government programmes and services, and job opportunities, to help you make a decision.
At Department of Labour you can also obtain employment counseling, which can help you access job and skills training opportunities, and to learn the skills needed to look for and maintain employment, e.g. CV writing and interview skills.
The career guidance service at the Department of Labour involves the following:
Registration as work-seeker on the computerized Employment Services system of South Africa (ESSA), that will make job-matching easier and provide the career counsellors with your skills and experience profile;
- Identifying career guidance needs
- Providing you with information on the labour market
- Exploring your interest fields in the world of work
- Linking your strongest interest fields in the world of work with careers that you can consider (providing careers information)
- Providing information on career opportunities and assisting you to choose a suitable career in line with your abilities
- Providing information on skills development opportunities
- Providing information on scarce skills that are in demand in the labour market
- Assisting you to improve your employability through a set of life skills programmes such as job-hunting, work ethics, retrenchment advice, etc.
- Providing information on topics such as HIV/AIDS, retirement, study skills and the like.
The aim of the career guidance is to place you in a skills development opportunity or career that will be best suited to your own profile.
What benefits can I get from career guidance?
It has been shown that career guidance can assist as follows:
Career choice is a personal issue, because you will have to live with your choice. Best career results are obtained if people work in an area, which suits their interests and abilities. Career guidance can assist you to know yourself better to make a career choice that suits you best.
- You will learn to know the labour market and consider all options suitable to you.
- You can learn about career options you have not considered before, such as co-operatives and small business.
- Career guidance can assist clients with general knowledge on how to navigate the labour market, such as not to resign from a job before they find another
- Career guidance can assist you to become upwardly mobile, since it can show to you, which study courses to follow to improve your skills
- Career guidance can assist you to be more productive and happy in your work
- Career guidance can assist people such as ex-offenders, parolees and people with disabilities to adjust to the work situation
Who will assist me?
The Department of Labour has trained career counsellors that can assist you with the process described above.
What other career advice can I get?
The career counsellors also has access to many aids for the career guidance process, such as careers information books, a set of life skills programmes that can assist you in different problems you might experience, assistance to start up a small business or co-operative and health and well-being in the work-place. The Department has record of many skills development opportunities such as short skills development programmes, learnerships, apprenticeships and internships and also of job opportunities that already exist in the labour market.
How can I access the career guidance service?
You can find a Career Counsellor in Labour Centres in the major cities and towns. You can go to the nearest Labour Centre and register as work-seeker. Ask the staff member to refer you for career guidance. Make sure to indicate your needs in terms of careers advice very specifically. You can also send any careers-related question via Internet to www.labour.gov.za, stating your address, Province and telephone number and we can assist you via e-mail!
A closing note
Many of our people in South Africa never had the opportunity of having career guidance. Be one of those who make an informed career choice. Learn as much you can of the labour market and opportunities before you make a choice. You can do this through getting assistance from a careers counsellor!