08 April 2020 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Supplied
Career development read more
Nonhlanhla Moleleki.

Many students arriving at institutions of higher learning for the first time are often overwhelmed by the vast number of academic programmes available to them. They either end up going for study choices without much thought, or out of desperation. 

Seeing the gap between self-awareness and how it impacts career choices, the UFS introduced the Career Development Programme to teach students more about their chosen careers from the onset.  It was first introduced to first-year students on the Qwaqwa Campus in 2017. 

Project leader and registered counsellor in Student Counselling and Development on the Qwaqwa Campus, Nonhlanhla Moleleki, said the programme was implemented to assist students in better understanding their study choices and the career they have selected, and to better equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills. 

This annual project is once again available to students, and this year it has been extended to the South Campus to assist students enrolled for the University Preparation Programme to choose a study field that fits them best. 

Students are uncertain about their study choices
She said many students often settle for study options without aligning these choices with their interests, personalities, and capabilities, which frustrate them in the long run. 

“Students are often unsure about the career stream they are in and whether it suits them best, leading to poor academic performance. We’ve started receiving bookings from students on the different campuses, which shows that there is a need for the project to be implemented across all campuses. If students choose the right career path and go for options that best suit them, they have a better chance of excelling,” she said. 

Career programme carries long-term benefits for students
The programme runs for eight weeks annually through two-hour sessions per week. Moleleki said during these sessions, students are completing activities on career awareness, understanding individual abilities, and personality styles. The Student Counselling and Development team is also able to connect students with resources related to the industries that interest them.

“We also equip them with coping skills, as well as decision-making processes, in order to choose a career path that is well suited to their own interests, values, and personality styles,” she said.

She said assessments are done in the following areas: self-information, career information, integration of self-information with career knowledge, and career planning.
Moleleki said students who participated in the programme showed an increase in self-awareness and were able to better integrate this into their career choices. “In addition, they are also registered on the national Department of Labour’s database. This connects them with other graduates and potential employers.”

“This programme helps students align themselves with relevant skills and knowledge about the careers that best fit them. It also prepares them for the world of work. It’s not always about the jobs in demand, but it’s about students having a career that they will be happy with.”

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