2018 CITW Careers Day – YES Programme, Zambezi Region

As the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Programme focuses on secondary school students with commitment, leadership potential and a particular interest in conservation, it is essential to expose these students to a variety of occupations in order to equip them to make sensible career choices. The annual YES Programme Career Day activities in Zimbabwe and Zambia in July did just that.  Students are given an opportunity to learn from, and interact with, elders, mentors and professionals, thus encouraging them to think about their futures and to take informed, practical steps towards their career paths.

This year CITW teamed up with the Wilderness Safaris Zambezi Region’s Human Resources Manager, Busani Mpofu to run the days’ event at the host schools – Kapane Secondary School in Zimbabwe, and Nalituwe Secondary School in Zambia. It was overwhelming to see in attendance not only members of the YES Programmes, but many students and school leavers from all secondary schools in the area.

The traditional way of conducting career guidance in schools has always been getting a few “heroes” from the local community to talk about their professions, which in most cases the students already know a bit about.  As Children in the Wilderness (CITW), we sought to break away from this style so as to give the students more information on a wider range of careers available to them. The emphasis placed on the values; integrity and creativity, as the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe and Zambia needs the youth to make realistic choices and think outside the box…

The introductory part of the presentation focused on the following:

  • Discovering more about yourself;
  • Discovering more about your subject choices;
  • Discovering more about careers available to you;
  • Improving your self-image and sense of self-worth;
  • Making you a proud and productive citizen of your country;
  • Helping you learn to value and respect differences;
  • Stopping family members from pressuring you to follow specific careers;
  • Enabling family members to be supportive of your career choices.

The students were introduced to nine career areas: Engineering and Technology; Health and Natural Sciences; Computers and Information Technology; Business, Finance, and Management; Agriculture and Environment;  Human, Social and Education; Services; Arts and Culture; Languages and Law.

Each of these careers were further broken down into fields, with an in-depth explanation of the different vocations in each area and how these are generally suited to specific personality types.

The students were encouraged to choose career fields that suit their personality and it was explained to them that human beings each have particular ways of thinking about things thus behaving and reacting differently to specific situations.

The students were introduced to four personality types; namely doer, thinker, creator and giver.  Through a practical exercise each student matched themselves to one or two personality types and then broke into groups of one of the four personality types where they were best suited. With the guidance of mentors, each student appreciated that their personality type suited a particular career path and in turn this linked to specific subject choices.  They were further encouraged to follow this advice when choosing their subjects for the final exams at school.   

Representatives from various institutions and colleges were present and offered advice on what qualifications were required, how and when to make applications to study towards their preferred career choices.   Three local business people joined in too, and encouraged students, who weren’t necessarily academics, to not feel they would have failed  if they were not able to, or could not go on to tertiary education.  There were more paths to success and one just had to be honest and work hard and opportunities would come their way. 

In conclusion, Shuvanayi from CITW gave the students a good talk on discipline, self-esteem, dreaming big, and explained how CITW is involved in identifying and facilitating scholarships for disadvantaged students.

The events ended with some eats for the students and all participants. Hopefully, change some lives with this event.