JIS News

Students at all levels of the education system will benefit from career advice and counselling during the Ministry of Education's inaugural Career Awareness Week from February 6 to 12.

Under the theme: ‘Career Development: Preparing a workforce, developing a nation, time for action’, the event is being held in collaboration with the Heart Trust/NTA, and will feature a variety of activities at centres islandwide.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry, Grace McLean, told JIS News that the week was organised out of the need to bring all career-related activities and events under one umbrella.

“We felt that with all of the various career activities that are taking place within our schools…that we needed to pull all of them together and create one general awareness on a yearly basis, where all our students from the early childhood level right up to the tertiary level will develop this appreciation for careers and the various types of careers within the country and that are available internationally,” Mrs. McLean explained.

Manager of the Career Development Services Department of the Heart/Trust NTA, Erica Williams, pointed out that career development is one approach to attaining a competent and educated workforce.

“(It can) help in improving the education and training system, it can motivate students, improve their academic performance and even reduce the drop out rate and the reason for this is that, with career development, learning becomes more relevant and meaningful and linked to real life contexts,” she pointed out.

She said career awareness is especially important for students leaving school, as the aim is for them “to see and understand that there is a connection between what they learn in school and their future success in the workplace”.

“It will also facilitate a smoother transition from high school to productive and skilled employment and even further learning,” she noted.

Activities for Career Awareness Week include a public forum on Monday, February 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Tom Redcam Library in Kingston, while various schools across the island will be hosting expositions.

There will also be a discussion seminar looking at career development at the tertiary level, which will take place on Thursday, February 10 at 9:00 a.m. in the training room at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.  Guidance counsellors and placement officers will be invited to discuss the theme: ‘Career development at the tertiary level: a collaborative approach’.

The week will be officially launched with a conference on Wednesday, February 9 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.