Gap Between Career Education And Planning Being Addressed

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Some of the students who attended the National Career Showcase (C. Pitt)

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has recognised that in the face of all opportunities, there are gaps.?? And, it is moving to deal with the situation.

This was disclosed today, as Acting Chief Education Officer, Laurie King spoke with third and fifth-form students attending the Sixth National Career Showcase, hosted at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, by the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors (BAGC).

Mr. King told participants that Government’s newly conceptualised strategy for Human Resource Development would address as one of its planks, career education and planning, in its entirety. He explained: "Barbadians will be exposed to how to develop career plans by linking them to the up-to-date available Labour Market Statistics that would speak to job demands, market trends and training opportunities. As we move forward, it is quite obvious that most professions will require a mixture of hard skills and soft skills.

"The time has come when there must be a good mixture of the two streams of qualifications; academics coupled with the technical and vocational that will present students who are well-rounded and better prepared for the work force in Barbados and the world."

Students also heard that there could be no lost time or wastage when a male or female utilised the opportunity given through education to prepare for life.?? "There can be no denial that the best things occur when one is prepared,"

Mr King said, adding that there could be no doubt that the most successful persons who contributed meaningfully to society seized the present moment and this assisted them in charting their course in life.

Meanwhile, President of BAGC, Margaret Grant, said the aim of the career showcase was to create an environment where students would interact with professionals, from various fields. "This is so that their options are multiplied and they can see the relationship between subjects and careers… Too often career planning is considered important only when children are about to leave school: As guidance counsellors, we recognise that early intervention relating to vocational issues serves to help steer the students and assist in their overall goal planning.

"In any event, occupational information is an essential aspect of career intervention; as counsellors, we have the opportunity to influence the later career development of children in many significant ways."??

Urging students to let the event work for them, the Guidance Counsellor with over 20 years’ experience at The St. Michael School said:?? "Explore, be curious, grab the opportunity to get as much information as possible, take contact information even from the presenters so that you with your parent’s permission will be able to organise a job shadowing experience where you can visit the workplace and observe the actual environment.?? It would even be better if your parents can go with you."??

The showcase was held under the theme "Embrace the Opportunity" and brought together over 100 professions from traditional and non-traditional careers, including small business entrepreneurs. Its key sponsors included the Ministry of Youth, Family, Culture & Sports, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Ministry of Labour, Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd and the Student Revolving Loan Fund.

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