Parents are being encouraged to give their children the chance to help choose their own career or profession. The caution from Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors (BAGC) president Janice Jemmott, as hundreds of students from public and private secondary schools descended on the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, today for the first day of the university’s annual National Career Showcase.
The two-day showcase for students of third and fifth forms, organized by the BAGC and supported this year by UWI, is in its tenth year. A range of sectors and industries were represented with about 75 booths in one section, and tertiary education institutions represented in another.
Acknowledging that choosing a career was a process, and the career showcase was just one aspect, Jemmott said most often it would take some time and parents should therefore pay close attention to a number of areas so they could help to safely guide their children’s decision.
“Personality is important as well; but parents have a great influence, because my child may want to do the languages, and I may say, ‘No, do science. You have to be a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant. Those things make money’.
“So parents have a great influence. But I always say to the parents, ‘You are not the person sitting in the classroom’,” said Jemmott.
“So sometimes we need to listen to our children and see what they like; what they are good at; and look at the report that is coming home to you every year; hear what the teachers are saying; see what they are saying in the reports.
“And at the parent level meetings, make sure you go and hear what they are saying, because that gives the parents a better idea too as to where exactly the child should go. But you need to kind of take some direction from the student,” she advised.
Jemmott said she was satisfied that much work was being done to help children make informed career choices, and that the students were excited. She said the showcase was especially important for students at the third year level, since they were in the process of making subject choices, and for students in fifth form, since many of them were on the verge of going on to do tertiary studies.
The National Career Showcase is expected to attract about 500 students over the two days.
Some students said they were grateful for the opportunity to interact with the more than 70 representatives at the various booths and that they had been able to identify areas of interest to them.
Some students of the Ann Hill School told Barbados TODAY that they believed the showcase was crucial in helping to inform their decision in choosing a career. After the showcase, a majority of them expressed interest in joining the Barbados Defence Force.
Meanwhile, Richecheda Chassang of the Springer Memorial School, who wants to be an entrepreneur, said she was yet to choose what areas she wanted to get into because “there are so many things!”, especially in business. She was hoping that the showcase could help her narrow down her options.
Louise Alleyne, also of Springer Memorial, who said she wanted a career in the medical field, welcomed the showcase saying it was a good avenue to help her gather more information on that area of interest.