"Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."
- Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
In some sports such as football, parents will often take their children out to the backyard to practise from a young age. Even without much expertise, a lot of money, or time, great effort is invested attempting to develop their skills. Whether in school, pushing your child to join a team, or at home seeking for a child to join a club, investing in opportunities to practise, practise, and yet more practise, can be seen.
Of course, this is not just relegated to sports enthusiasts, but also off the field as we seek to develop our careers. Career development takes years to cultivate and should start early. To this end, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, HEART Trust/NTA, and Junior Achievement Jamaica have undertaken a programme to align career education from early childhood to the future business needs in Jamaica while developing the ecosystem (businesses, parents, NGOs, and global partners).
Stakeholders in the education sector have convened and are collaborating in the journey of a child into adulthood and his readiness to become an entrepreneur by owning his business or effectively contributing to the success of his workplace.
The need for a realignment of career development comes from the lack of preparedness by Jamaican youth for their future as they graduate from secondary and tertiary education. Guidance is needed for students who either do not know what they would like to do or the best ways to accomplish it.
Another challenge is the need to provide motivation for those youth who do not consider education or a career path as a means to a sustainable livelihood.
The reality is that few students are able to make informed decisions when choosing subjects at the end of grade nine. They should, instead, be guided on a continuous basis from the earliest years in school.
Discover interest, ability, and values.
Investigate work of parents and their interest.
Acquire knowledge to perform job.
Experience the reward and responsibility of work.
Against this background, the Career Integration Committee will host National Careers Week (NCW) 2017 under the theme Expanding Horizons, Vision 2030. During the NCW, primary and high school students will be engaged islandwide through a series of displays, forums, and practical working experience. The activities are structured to highlight our students' career education throughout the school year at all levels, introduce global competitiveness, reward innovation in product design, and engage regional and national partners.
Career development will be practised in an interactive thought-provoking way. Students will showcase their ideas for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) based on product development; display artwork; and give business pitches. Students are also learning about the world of work and creating displays of a Vision 2030 workplace.
Labour-market presentations will help to inform persons about Jamaica's anticipated career needs. Students will participate in Take Your Child to Work Day job shadowing to further examine or think about a Jamaica with them working in it.
The preparation of our youth to excel in any career starts with intentional practice from a young age and it involves everyone. Join us during NCW 2017, from February 11-17, to highlight careers.
- Alphie Mullings-Aiken is president of Junior Achievement Jamaica. Article submitted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
CAPTION: Students from Charlemont High School present their school-run business to judges from the JPS and Scotiabank at the José Marti High School 2017 Regional Forum.