Virtual Career Guidance during COVID-19
The transition from school to work can be a challenging time for adolescents. From getting acquainted with labor rights to learning about business registration procedures, employer-employee relationships, and job ethics, it’s easy to feel lost and unsure where to start.
The career we select in early adulthood will most likely follow us throughout our entire life. It’s therefore important to identify our real potential and steer our efforts towards the right career path for ourselves. This is why career guidance services are so important: they help empower students and equip them to resiliently navigate the world of work. Over the past years, EYE has established career guidance centers in 9 Vocational Education schools across Kosovo.
We are particularly proud of this achievement as these centers now help hundreds of young people to identify their aptitude and strengths, and make informed choices about their career options. The centers employ professionally trained counsellors that help students select job-oriented courses which will kickstart their career. They also help link students with private businesses so that, through the Work-based learning (WBL) scheme that we helped introduce, students can not only gain a real-life job experience but also employment and income opportunities in the job market upon graduation.
In 2020, as the pandemic unfolded, teaching and learning experienced significant challenges and drawbacks. But there were opportunities as well. COVID-19 fueled an unprecedented shift to online formats, as people struggled to adapt. When it comes to counseling, the possibility of sharing guidance and training resources digitally would offer innumerable opportunities to reach more young people and help them meet their career guidance needs. But these centers lacked the skills to integrate IT resources into guidance activities. So EYE came to their aid.
Together with the Kosovar Career Development Foundation (KCDF), we helped train 21 career counselors of school-based career centers to begin to offer virtual career services to VET students. Our goal was to ensure career centers can provide socially-distanced quality counseling even in times of uncertainty. Students in the 12th grade were a high priority as they graduated during the peak of the pandemic and the transition from school to work was slated to become particularly challenging for them.
With our help, career centers of VET schools provided online training to 218 students as they get ready to enter the job market! Additionally, as usual recruitment efforts were put to a halt by the pandemic, in the month of June, we developed a media campaign to promote the 9 VET schools and increase enrolment of new students. Although recently graduating seniors will bear the brunt of the pandemic’s impact on the labor market, with the tireless help of counselors, we are confident that the students will confidently navigate the job market.