Planning for the future
by Tim and Vicky Scott (revised, originally published in 2011)
Suitable for Key Stage 4/5
To consider how to choose a career and what skills we need to plan our career.
Preparation and materials
You will need to be familiar with the career interests game that is played in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1. It is available at: https://career.missouri.edu/career-interest-game
Use the career interests game (available at: https://career.missouri.edu/career-interest-game) to get the students thinking about the types of career that would suit them.
Tell the students to imagine that they are at a party where people of a similar type have congregated in each corner of the room. Which group would they be most drawn to: solicitors, IT consultants, doctors, health workers, bricklayers, plumbers . . . ?
If everyone in that group left, which group would the students join next? Then, if that group left, which group would the students join next?
How do you choose a career? Perhaps you already know exactly what you would like to do one day as a career. Perhaps, like most people, it will take you a while to work out where you are best suited. Do you know what you want to do? What do you think is the difference between a job and a career? Increasingly, people have several different types of jobs over the course of their careers.
It’s a good idea to be proactive rather than reactive with career planning. How many of you have been proactive in your career planning so far? Have you taken some time to think about and plan your career? For example, you may have read about the types of careers that interest you or talked to people whom you trust - and who know you well - about what career they think would suit you. You may have reflected on your own experiences, for example, by thinking about the types of activities that you enjoy and where you have felt a sense of real achievement. There are resources to help you with this, so be sure to talk to your school’s careers contact.
Where are you now and where do you want to be? There are five stages to career planning.
- 1. Explore. Understand yourself and where your skills lie. What are you good at? What motivates you? What do you enjoy doing? Would you like a role dealing with people, ideas or things? Would you prefer to work in a public, private, large or small organization? Do you like the sound of job security or would you prefer variety? Are you happy working in a pressurized environment or do you prefer to work at a steadier pace? What sector would suit you? Academic? Public? Commercial?
You could use a skills list for inspiration or an interests inventory.
- 2. Discover. To gain a better understanding of an occupation or industry, talk to people who already work in the career that interests you. Perhaps this could form part of a school project. Find out what a typical day at work is like for them: what skills do they use each day and what knowledge have they had to gain? You could ask them about the culture of the company for which they work. Ask them what skills and experience they think are most important for their role.
- 3. Look out for opportunities. When the time is right, look out for the right opportunities, both those that are visible and invisible, such as unadvertised jobs.
- 4. Market yourself. Sell yourself for those opportunities by using your CV, an interview, a website and so on. Be as imaginative as you like!
- 5. Achieve success. Start in your ideal job!
To help explore your skills, you need to consider the things that you are good at and not so good at, and the things that you enjoy and do not enjoy.
Time for reflection
Spend a moment thinking about what you might like to do in the future.
We can enjoy thinking about what we might like to do as a career. As you think about the future, trust your family and friends to help you to consider where your real motivations and talents lie and where you can be most fulfilled.
Christians believe that God is interested in their lives. They believe that God wants to guide them into the right career, where their skills and talents can be fully used. Psalm 119.105 states, ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ Christians believe that God will guide their choices and always want what is best for them.
Thank you that we can trust you to help us, both now and in the future.
Help us as we take steps towards our future careers.
Help us to use the skills and abilities we have been blessed with.
May we be wise in the decisions we make.
May we make good choices in our lives.
‘Lord, for the years’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 310, 2008 edition)