Choosing a career is a big decision and when you are a teenager, there is a lot of noise from universities, polytechnics and apprenticeship providers about all the various options available. Additionally, family, friends, teachers and guidance counsellors are all weighing into the decision process, sharing opinions and experiences. While this information can be useful, it can cloud an impressionable teenager’s judgement. During the decision process of what career to pursue after completing high school, it is crucial to be aware of one’s skills and strengths, as well as the areas that may be in need of some more work. Fortunately, Sheffield’s Senior Consultant Fleur Hellemans, has been working with Year 13 students from Christchurch Girls’ High School to help raise their awareness of their strengths and challenge areas, and offer some important career guidance.
What We Did to Help
Over 200 Year 13 students at Christchurch Girls’ High School completed the My Self career assessment, which looks at an individual’s strengths in areas that have been shown to be important to success at work, and how these align to different careers. The assessment is underpinned by the vocational research that demonstrates that the level of congruence between a persons’ strengths and their work environment, determines their level of job satisfaction and performance. Therefore, understanding strengths can help guide students toward careers that will bring out their full potential.
By answering a selection of questions about behaviours, the My Self assessment and resulting report highlights:
• Signature Strengths (behaviours the individual prefers to exhibit)
• Challenge Areas (behaviours the individual finds more difficult to consistently demonstrate)
• Study/work environment suitability
• Potentially suitable career areas
Based on the combination of an individual’s strengths, certain industries and professions are suggested. Further, in the self-assessment report, it is outlined why those strengths align with the suggested professions and the type of behaviours and characteristics that are typically required in those careers. “We’re using a modern career assessment tool to support the Year 13 students in their career related decision making” said Fleur Hellemans, Senior Consultant at Sheffield. “The tool raises self-awareness and helps students to identify their strengths and how these relate to different careers. It is about empowering the students to make good career choices.”
What Happened as a Result
Jessa Gardener is a Year 13 student who found the assessment very informative. It’s opened up her career options and helped her to make some big decisions. “Next year I’m thinking about uni and this has reassured me that I’m picking the right subjects.” Even the teacher agrees. “It’s getting our students to think about their strengths, which is fantastic,” said Larisa Thatcher, Head of Careers. “Getting them to think about where they can go in life is a very valuable exercise.” Pauline Duthie, the Principal who helped initiate this project, was absolutely delighted with the results. “It was a great tool, that was delivered very well by Sheffield, because it also involved the parents,” she said. “At its core it offers the students a learning experience and initiated conversations that were very affirming.” Sheffield have also delivered the assessment to Year 13 students in the next year and have been approached by other schools to do the same for their senior students.