To assist students in making prudent educational and occupational choices, Our Own English High School, Sharjah (Girls) organised the Career Orientation programme for the 4th consecutive year on the 13th of October, 2016.

The phenomenon of globalisation and the growing complexities have led to increased competition affecting all levels of employment. Many traditional jobs have either been replaced by new ones or have been radically transformed. In view of the continuous developments in employment and education, we believe, access to high quality career guidance is important for creating and maintaining a competitive knowledge base and social inclusion in the next phase of students’ educational journey.

Students today have to learn to assess myriad information systems, so as to map out their education, training and employment routes that fit one’s interests, skills, competencies, qualifications and evolving job market opportunities. This implies further educational choices which must be made in the light of this scenario which will help open the pupils’ eyes to careers they may not have considered.

Consequently deciding on and working towards one’s professional aspirations and preparing for a constantly changing labor market are some of the daunting decisions most 14-17 year olds and their parents are faced with.

The counselling team of the school organises the event annually to support students acquire information on undergraduate courses. Representatives from 44 universities were available in the premises to meet and talk with students giving an insight into the multitude of courses ranging from Accounts & Finance to Technology, Medicine to Media. The half-a-day event, also witnessed a panel discussion comprising industry experts from the field of Management, Finance, Medicine, Science & Technology, Media, Hospitality, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Architecture.

The illustrious all women panels made a powerful statement on Women empowerment with their presence on the dias. They spoke about the academic choices that paved the path for their current profession and what encompasses a typical day of their work. They shared their much acquired expertise advising the students on how to approach their career goals with positivity and balance, about the importance of passion being at the core of the decision making experience while upholding one’s individuality.

The much awaited Q&A session revolved around understanding the demands of an ever changing economy, importance of broadening one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet the demands, the ways to maximising one’s career opportunities and the possibility that one may lose focus or discover a new passion within the framework of that field. It is even possible one may realise that after all the choices made with a great deal of planning, perhaps this is not what you want to be or want to do. It is possible one may not be sure after all! Responding to a parent’s question posed by Mr Nair about what message they had for students who were not sure yet about what they wished to be, the panelists surmised that it is important to find out the combinations available in the market, based on the likes and interests of the child. Parents were advised against coercing and pushing their children into a particular field.

A student enquired about what they actually looked for in a person while recruiting – attitude, capability or qualifications? They were told that caliber would be the most important aspect in most of the professions. However, to work as a journalist the requirement would be a mix of creativity, knowledge and a passion to tell stories. There is need to develop the essential soft and technical skills that employers seek, while gaining relevant experience for the workplace.

The discussion attempted to drive home the message that there exists a general lack of clarity and many misconceptions with respect to various fields. Students were advised to go out and explore, talk to people and get out of their comfort zones. To be successful, a panelist suggested that one should develop the habit of writing down what one needs to achieve at the beginning of each day and end the day by writing if that goal was achieved.

Panelists recommended that students enhance understanding of their economy on a local and national level and ways in which developments are impacting the job landscape. They need to understand how the available career options relate to their own interests and talents to help them make informed choices.

Parents Speak:

Mrs. Chockalingam, parent to Aishwarya from Grade 11 expressed, “The career orientation was very interesting, and far exceeded expectations. The school has evidently put a huge amount of work into organising it, and my daughter was clearly exhilarated to know about the number of options available.”

Mr. Bipin – parent of Neeraja a Grade 10 student, a chemical engineer himself, has always been keen on his children pursuing their education in the field of science. Neeraja however, an avid photographer is very creative and bent on doing something else. Mr. Bipin quoted “This session has not only been very informative but has given me so many perspectives. We met representatives from different universities and also got an opportunity to speak to one of the panelists to clarify our doubts. Coming here was a good idea!”  

Mr. Balachandran, parent of Sonali (10 E) said, “It was enlightening to know that the school does not put all its effort into exam grades, but also helps guide its pupils towards suitable career options.”

Our Own Voice:

Gayathri of 10L said, “We had a fantastic opportunity to meet accomplished women and learn about the world of work. The panelists motivated us to follow our passion and sharde their experiences.“

“I am yet to make up my mind and was considering between science and commerce. But after listening to the panel discussions, I am also considering humanities. Why not – when there are so many options available and there is so much to do. I have visited every stall to gather information. Actually, I am still unsure, but I can now think with clarity,” says Madhulika of 10 L.

Whereas Nandini of Grade 11, felt she now knows exactly what she wants to do. “Every bit of information I have assimilated is going to be worth the time spent. I am feeling at ease now”, said the student.

Our Own English High School, Sharjah (Girls) not only focusses on its Core values but also on its commitment to assisting every student succeed ultimately in life that they may not be a product of circumstances but a product of informed decisions.

– Our Own English High School Sharjah