Being a high school student, you are at a great point in your life. You have your whole life in front of you. It is not just a period to learn a wide range of subjects and amass knowledge to become educated, it is also an opportunity to begin to learn about the world of work. It is never too early to start your career search. Now is a good time to start thinking about your future, to make some initial plans; but be aware that plans can be easily changed.
Additionally, employers are very keen on work experience – or rather, they’re keen on what it gives you: the confidence and practical skills you need to succeed in the workplace. Whether or not you’re planning to go to university, getting good work experience while you are at school, you stand a good chance when it comes to getting hired and designing your career path. However, it is not strange that at your age, you are still unsure about what career path you would want to take. Even some adults are still in search of what it is they want to spend the rest of their lives doing as a career. Experts predict that the average person will change careers — not just jobs — more than five times in his or her lifetime.
As you start thinking about one or more potential educational and career paths, here are various opportunities that exist which could help you on you building employability.
1. Internships or formal work experience placements: Educational NGOs like High School Ghana, Academic Outfitters, 1st Step Ghana etc. are set out to assist high school students like you find your place in your career journey early enough and give you opportunities to experience the world of work. Their programs are structured often up to a week in a location arranged by your school or independently. Typically unpaid, this is an opportunity to learn about the world of work and see it in action.
2. Summer jobs: Otherwise known as vacation jobs are also good avenues for gaining work experience with the advantage of making some coins on the side. They can be a great way to learn how to work hard and perhaps the basics of a profession.
3. Part-time jobs: Depending on the type of work, some part time jobs are available to high school students such as working in a retail shop which gives you customer service and time management skills and helps to develop your commercial awareness. Delivering newspapers or babysitting develops responsibility and resilience in you. Skillsets to make you employable are derived from such part time job opportunities. Employers like evidence that you can be relied on to turn up when expected and stick at what you’re meant to be doing till you’ve seen it through.
4. Volunteer opportunities: There are stacks of volunteering opportunities out there. You could volunteer as a retail assistant in a charity shop, help with outdoor conservation projects, or collect funds or support young disabled people on activity days. You can find out more about volunteering opportunities for young people from High School Gh (HSGH).
5. School leaver careers fairs and employer events: This is a chance to meet either lots of employers in one go or a single employer, for example via an open evening at its offices.
6. Employer’s insight day or week for school leavers: Some organisations that run school leaver programmes also offer you the chance to spend a day or more seeing for yourself what working there would be like and meeting employees who have joined straight from school. Multinational Professional services providers such as PwC and EY all run insight weeks, while IT employers like IBM offer insight evenings.
7. Extracurricular activities: Being part of a sports team or another club or group such as a theatre group or choir, involvement in the Scouts or Guides, or other social clubs can also help you gain skills which would be appealing to your future employer. Learn more about High School Gh (HSGH) High School Entrepreneurs Club program (HSEC).
8. Entrepreneurship: Perhaps you aspire to run your own business one day, or maybe you’ve got a commercial idea that you’re keen to get off the ground. Employers are keen to take on candidates with entrepreneurial flair, so it’s well worth sharpening your skills whether or not you go on to set up your own venture. You could try and search for entrepreneurial support institutions on the web and apply for a start-up grant for a business idea that supports sustainable use of energy and resources. Take part in HSGH’s MONEYWISE program
9. Personal projects: If you’ve designed and made something on your own, such as a DIY (Do It Yourself) or craft project, a website or a blog, you may well have developed the problem-solving and creative skills that employers look for.
10. Positions of responsibility: High school usually gives you the opportunity to take on responsibilities like; being a head boy or head girl, a sports captain or house captain, student representative, or taking on a leadership or committee role in a group or club or taking prospective pupils and parents on tours and speaking to them, or being involved in the school council. This kind of experience sharpens the communication and leadership skills employers want.
- 10 Things for High School Students to Remember by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
By Emmaline Datey:
Speaker | Trainer | Mentor | Coach | Writer | Consultant in areas of Leadership – HR – Business – Motivation
Emmaline Datey is a leadership development specialist, life coach, and a people & culture strategist. She works in the fastest growing media company, EIB Network as Group HR &Admin Manager holding a certificate in HRM from Valley View University as well as a Professional Certificate in HR from Human Resource Certification Institute, USA.