JIS News

Hundreds of young Jamaicans poured into the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Monday, March 15, in search of career education at the National Youth Service’s Youth Opportunities Fair.
The Fair, which seeks to expose unattached youth, ages 17 to 24, to the varying career possibilities within their respective parishes, is one of 14 in an islandwide series.
Speaking with JIS News, Career Counsellor, Hope Dandi-Lawrence said that career education was the process of providing young people with general information, knowledge and experience of jobs, training, further and higher education and the world of work.
“It also equips them with the skills, attitudes and competence to seek out further information, to become self-aware and to be capable of decision making,” she said.
In addressing a group of participants during a career guidance session at the Fair, Mrs. Dandi-Lawrence pointed out that career development started early and continued throughout one’s lifetime, as it was a development process that was largely dependent on the individual’s mindset to achieve.
“God created man not to sit idly and watch the world go by, as he made each of us for a specific purpose. You must find that purpose and when you do, it becomes your goal,” she noted.
She added that it was important for people to know their purpose/goal, so they could plan towards achieving it by asking themselves certain questions from the very outset.
According to Mrs. Dandi-Lawrence, people should first attempt to assess their own personalities, determine who they were by measuring their values, interests, skills, talents and strengths. She added that it was particularly important for individuals to recognize their interests so that they could choose a suitable career path, as people did better at jobs they enjoyed doing.
Identifying skills and areas of interests, she said, made the professional decision much easier, as well as allowed for greater efficiency, since people were more productive in areas they enjoyed.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there. However, if you do know, then you can plan a route to get there,” she advised.
She further encouraged the group to actively seek information by visiting factories, business enterprises as well as speaking with persons in different professions, particularly in non-traditional areas such as computing and telecommunications.
Continuing, she said that by researching, the job seeker would be better able to analyze labour market trends, deducing what was in demand and knowing the aspects that were overly saturated. Mrs. Dandi-Lawrence pointed out that there was a current trend towards services – health, tourism, recreation and that employers were seeking people who were multi-skilled.
Finally, having decided on a career, the individual will need to devise strategies on how to achieve this goal. She noted that at this stage, one should have the right attitude, problem solving skills and human relations skills in order to surpass obstacles that might prevent the attainment of goals.
Mrs. Dandi-Lawrence advised the participants to acquire the necessary competencies and to engage in proper networking with persons in the relevant industries to assist them in the development of their careers.
The National Youth Service embarked on this islandwide initiative in August 2003, based on the belief that all school leavers, including those with challenging needs, had the right to benefit from effective instruction to ensure optimal development.The final two Fairs have been scheduled for March 19 and 25 in St. Catherine and Manchester respectively. Interested persons may receive additional information by contacting the NYS Offices in their parish or by visiting the website at “” .

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