The problem of occupational choice appears to be the starting point of most career education programs. The choice of an occupation is central to career education in the world of work. Career education is therefore conceived as an attempt to link the school with the world of work thereby ensuring a smooth transition of school pupils or students from full-time studentship to full-time gainful employment. Career education is therefore defined as “the totality of experiences through which one learns about, and prepares to engage in work as part of his or her way of living.
In another way, career education can be explained as the process of helping individuals acquire and use those attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to develop and manage a reasoned, socially purposeful, and personally valued life pattern about work of whatever kind. The major goal of career education is to lay more emphasis on the type of education that can make school experiences more related to experiences in the world of work.
To achieve the stated goal, career education programmes in schools are usually designed to promote self-awareness, decision-making, career planning, career development, and enhance the acquisition of employability and survival skills. In a similar vein, Adesina (2003) pointed out five purposes of career development:
- Effective self-evaluation
- Rational decision-making skills as regards vocational choice
- Appropriate job or career placement
- Planned vocational training and
- Assurance of satisfactory job and results.
Vocational development could be viewed as the total of educational, economical, physical, psychological, sociological, and change factors that combine to shape the vocation or career of any given individual.
Vocational development follows a general pattern of development; it can be conceived of as a continuum with definite life stages that can be defined through their peculiar characteristics. The series of characteristics are summed up into 5 life stages which are growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline, and these stages, in turn, may be subdivided into:
- The fantasy, tentative and realistic phases of the exploratory stage.
- The trial and stable phases of the establishment stage.
The choice of a vocation is very crucial in one’s life. The reason is that the occupation a person chooses to pursue can be an important determinant of his or her entire style of life. There is a need to understand some concepts used interchangeably by different writers and even professionals.
OCCUPATION: refers to an individual’s work activities especially the type engaged in by an adult on a regular basis.
VOCATION: the employee’s work activity that depicts his personal call in life. The word is got from the Latin word “vocatum” (calling): referring to an area of life work to which an individual, as it were, has been called by God to engage in, hence, the term priests or religious vocation.
JOB: refers to a set of related or similar positions in an enterprise, institution or business organization. Hence, it is possible to have one or more people employed in the same job.
POSITION: A group of duties, tasks, or activities performed by a given person. Examples are counselling, guidance, supervision, consulting e.t.c
WORK: an activity calling for an expenditure of energy toward some definite achievement or outcome.
Factors Influencing Vocational Development
Some factors known to influence the vocational choice and development of the individual have been identified.
These factors are grouped under two main headings – (Internal and External Factors).
The internal factors that influence vocational development are as follows.
INTELLECTUAL ABILITY: Adolescents with high intellectual ability, tend to seek and prepare for jobs that require superior intelligence while those with lower mental ability go in for semi-skilled jobs and continue in inconsequential positions.
The different occupations require a wide range of intelligence, and some jobs require that a prospective job seeker has above average intellectual ability.
INTEREST: Interest means things you like or dislike. Assuming a young boy has a liking for singing and each time he sings he gets acclaimed, he will continue to sing and sing because singing forms the activity from which he derives joy.
However if someone witnesses his friend drown in a swimming pool or river, the person will not like swimming because his interest in it would have been blocked. Interest has a number of stages Some of which are;
- The formation of the interest
- Development of the interest
- Maturation of the interest
- Stability of the interest etc. (Gesinde, 2001)
APTITUDE: Aptitude is just a design to show whether somebody has the natural ability for a particular job or course of study (Hornby, 2005). Occupations differ in terms of specific aptitudes demanded naturally by the job which the individual wants to do. Individual aptitudes exert influence on the vocational level they are likely to attain, the training they are likely to be admitted to or succeed in and the quality of work they can perform.
PERSONALITY: (self-concept) and identity The personality of an individual affects his vocatiónal interests just as it does his general interests and their development. An extrovert in all probability would make a successful public relations officer but not a scholar or a librarian. In the same vein, a quiet and introverted personality would be unhappy if placed on the job of a salesman.
Every job can be described in terms of personality characteristics required for the person to be happy and satisfied in it. For instance, good teachers are usually social. communicative, self-confident, self-sufficient, and aggressive. Bankers, dentists, and musicians are more conservative, self-contained, and less aggressive.