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The Best Memory You Will Ever Make Is Planning Your Future and Career.
By Tersia de Necker HED, CFM Consultant
This article is specially written as a confirmation to Zara Nicholson´s article, ´Many left out in cold, Matrics urged to study their options´ and Ann Werner’s ´Choosing a career is a tough decision and needs good guidance and research, which appeared in the Cape Times, Tuesday, February 15, 2011.
What has been written by them is experienced by me as a school teacher who has over forty years experience in Education. I agree with Ann Werner’s statement that many schools don’t organise career evenings. Many can’t and the gap between the “haves” and the “have-not” are growing daily. There are some structures in place to seek the potential of every learner but few make use of these opportunities for many reasons. It is not only the responsibility of learners to seek advice but of all individuals preparing them for the future.
Wisely planned high school experience will prepare learners for life and give them every advantage for their future development. This planning has to start at the end of gr 9 by choosing the correct subjects. I often hear learners being advised to choose some Commercial subjects, some Science subjects and some Social Science subjects ‘just to make sure or in case.’
Parents cannot afford mistakes made by their children after one or two years on the wrong road at University or College. I must admit that subject choices at many high schools have been carefully chosen for just this reason of ‘just to make sure’.

Guidance Overview
With more than 30,000 kinds of jobs to choose from, it’s no wonder people make mistakes. For example, accepting the first offer that comes along. Or saying “yes” just because of the salary. Or trying to live out their parents’ unfulfilled dreams. Or went job-shadowing without concrete results. Many stories have been told by parents at interview sessions of frustration and procrastination in their own work place.
We’ve received a unique combination of work-related gifts and talents. The secret is to determine what they are and how to use them in making career and education decisions. Areas of work and influence are: Government, family, education, arts, science, business, communication and church. Where does a learner start?
Learners and parents must make sure of the options that all institutions other than universities, offer. The reading of Educational articles and reports, own experience and newspapers convinced me that more than 60% of University student have never considered a College career or apprenticeship to prepare them for a more practical experience. Research will and must always stay the responsibility of the student and parents but few do or know how to take action. Time is our most valuable resource and students must be well prepared. There is truly a cry out from learners for help! Mistakes are costly.

*The Four important aspects you need to know when searching for a career.
Personality – Who you are? Personality describes the way a person naturally is motivated to act. Experience and observation confirm that there is no best personality style. ALL styles are valid and are needed in society and in the workplace. ALL have strengths and weaknesses. This is the critical part of any assessment and if any Career Guidance System is not available in your area speak to parents, teachers and pastors. The goal is to identify occupations that are a good match for your natural temperament tendencies, as well as your interests, skills, and values.
Interests –
People excel easier when they are interested in their work! What may appear as a tedious task to one person may be easy and enjoyable to another who is naturally motivated toward that type of work. The more you can relate your work to areas that excite you, the more likely you are to be successful. Many people develop successful businesses from their hobbies; keep in mind the more you enjoy what you are doing, the more likely you are to be successful at your work, and the lower your work stress will be.
Skills – an understanding of your skills will be important as you evaluate potential career fields and occupations. It is very critical that you match your work to your best skills in order to gain the personal joy of doing something that comes naturally. It is important to note that while a skill may appear to be low, it may be a skill that could be developed if there was an interest.
Value – You can be in a career field that is a good match for your vocational interests, skills, and personality strengths and still experience job dissatisfaction and stress if your work does not match your values. Many people think they can be happy doing most anything if it makes them “successful” in a material sense. All too often, they find themselves unfulfilled and burned out a few years into their careers. Using values as criteria for career choices can preclude much of the disappointment and career stress present in today’s workplace.

Plan of Action for gr 10, 11 and 12.
Practical steps to take for your life and work before the deadline comes.
Prayer and the Word of God will give clear guidance. After all has been said and done by many who disagree, the Lord has formed all people while still in their mother’s womb and He knows the thoughts and plans He has for their lives. They are plans for good and not for disaster. Plans to give them a future and hope in their final outcome so that they may have a prosperous and peaceful life. This statement it non-negotiable.
Utilise a reputable Career Direct guidance system or visit a Career Counselor which will help to discover your God-given design that will match your personality, and vocational interests, skills, and values with fitting career and educational direction. Recommended resource: Crown Financial Ministries’ Career Direct Student Guidance System which is designed for high school learners from gr. 10, 11 and 12, university and college students. Even people who are in the workplace for more than 10 years and who are unhappy, can find direction through this Guidance System or speak to any Psychologists specialising in career counseling. It is never too late to make the change.

Mission Statement
Write a brief mission statement for your life o Do you want to study further? You will need a National Higher Certificate (NSC - National Senior Certificate as certified by the council for general and further education and training, Umalusi). For a Diploma (NSC as certified by Umalusi with an achievement rating of 3 or better in four recognized NSC 20-credit subjects) or Bachelor’s Degree (NSC as certified by Umalusi with an achievement rating of 4 or better in four designated subjects chosen from the recognized 20-credit NSC subjects)? Your personal assessment, school subjects and minimum admission requirements will determine the route to go. o Have your reasons for further education clear in your mind. o Have clear social guidelines for your future. Social consideration must be taken into account. For example: If I go to Stellenbosch, what is going to happen with my relationship with James/Dorothy. Will Pretoria not be too far from home?

Reasearch
Let all the necessary research and planning be an enjoyable journey and experience. o The end of the matter: do your research in order to gain knowledge, not decisions. The lack of knowledge is the end of all wisdom and very dangerous when choosing a career. Get information!!! Not from only one or two institutions but many. You can later narrow down your list and make decisions. o Select a college, university or apprenticeship opportunity. Navigate the application process and consider academic requirements seriously. Compare academic requirements of different courses. o Begin visiting college/university campuses or places for apprenticeships. Visit all university and college websites by typing in the name at the search station’s prompt if you don’t have the web address. Most institutions will help with student loans. Search each web site for all information. o Seek institutions appropriate for your career goals. o Consider employment opportunities. Many government sectors and big businesses have student loans but also seek commitment for several years after studying. Your God-given design must be taken into consideration at this point.

Grades
Gr 11 - Determine to achieve great grades (most universities and colleges will accept students with good gr 11 results) and start preparing your experience by seeking a part time job to learn skills particularly relating to your chosen field of interest. This will enhance your CV. Be realistic. Don’t fool yourself by thinking, ‘I will start working once I am at Varsity. Let me just get over this boring school.’ Your future starts the minute you have taken a decision whether you are in gr 10 or 12. There may be alternative routes but your journey has started.
Set goals to achieve higher grades or update your goals. The higher your grades the best chance you have of being admitted to your first choice of institution and for a bursary.
Plan how to finance your education. Parents must help with their children’s career choices. After all, most parents will be paying for it! Commit yourself to learn biblical principles of managing money during high school. This will greatly enhance your experience of spending away from your parent’s purse.
Learn how to take college/university preparation exams with available preparation materials.
Commit yourself to find balance. Participate in your community and service activities for spiritual guidance to help you understand ‘real life’ away from home. The workplace or institute for further education is nothing like high school. Be prepared.
Engage in sports. Life goes on in the class room and outside.

Thinking Skills
Develop your thinking and memory skills. o There are many challenges you will have to face while on your feet. At all times you want to make decisions with integrity. o Think things through and lean heavily on the wisdom of your parents.
Build your vocabulary by attending courses. o You are going to experience vocabulary that might be totally new and strange – prepare yourself. o Professors and lectures will not baby sit you. Be responsible for your own actions and don’t blame anybody if you don’t understand.
Sharpen math and accounting skills.
Read at least 3 auto-biographies of great and important people.
Volunteer some time in a good cause like serving the community.
Consider a part time job.

Time to get serious.
You are now in gr 11 - 12 - Time to get serious about applying for colleges, apprenticeships and universities. Write for admissions information and financial aid opportunities to more than one institution. Stay organised as you approach numerous deadlines. Go for it! This is your opportunity to make a good start! Get ready for a great time training to fulfill your calling and remember:
The best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen and the memories you’ve made along the way.
A father’s wise advice: Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. DON’T GET SIDETRACKED.

Other Resources
Visit Crown Financial ministries´ Web site at www.crown.org.za or call Adriaan @ 0219750228 for more information on Career Direct and the other career resources from Crown. Student Guide to Financial Aid www.education.gpg.gov.za Visit the websites of the Government for educational queries. Tersia.denecker@gmail.com a qualified Career Direct Consultant
* Taken from a Career Direct™ Educational report.
Tersia de Necker is the founder principal of Harvest Christian School in Port Elizabeth. She is also a Certified Career Direct™ Consultant for Crown Financial Ministries and has given personal counsel and advice to more than 260 High school students and their parents and vocational direction to university students to help them prepare for a great future regarding their Career Direction and subject choices.

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