Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 72 - How young is too young for career planning?

OK. This is getting out of hand! Kids as young as nine years old are scheduled to receive career advice in a new program underway in London. Children in the British primary schools are now slated to receive advice via Internet sites (like YouTube) on their future career paths under a new government plan. The program is designed "to help children of all socio-economic backgrounds realize their goals." Each student will be assigned a mentor, have a chance to visit a university, and receive counseling on what subjects to study (some of this will be done via social networking sites like Facebook).

A recent study showed that 75 percent of 11-year-olds in the UK already want to attend a university. So, why implement the new program? Some say it's because parents said they wanted the government to put an end to the "old boy" network which saw only the children from privileged backgrounds getting into universities. The Brits have said that age 14 is simply too late to influence young citizens, but seven, eight and nine are better ages for career counseling. (Really?) This new British program is being tried out initially in 38 schools. It was designed to encourage students to think about what they want to do for a living at a much younger age.

At nine, I think I still wanted to be a starship captain! If anyone had made a serious career suggestion to me then, I think it would have shortened my childhood and stunted my imagination. Opinions?

Of course, some might say that at 50, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Hmmmm. They would not necessarily be wrong. But would extra career counseling in elementary school have made a difference? It's certainly food for thought.

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