When children as young as three are asked ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’, getting the answer ‘A dragon’ or ‘A pony’ would be nothing out of the ordinary. Such responses, as little as they are, make it apparent that aspirations and ideas about growing up and ‘becoming’ something start long before they start primary school.
It is only later at the start of primary schooling that they would respond to this question more realistically, because
they would have made more sense of the world they live in. At this time, they have some knowledge about the common careers known of in society such as a doctor, teacher or a police ofﬁcer. However, even with their
constant curiosity and questions that they ask at home and in the classroom, primary schooling does not include career guidance in its curriculum. If this was incorporated in the foundation phase curriculum, children would be afforded an opportunity to learn about the variety of careers they can choose from when they’re older, which in turn will get them thinking about what their interests are by reﬂecting on the types of career areas that are open to them.
Traditionally, the importance of career guidance has been emphasised for learners in Grade 9, where the school provides guidance as students are required to choose subjects they will focus on from grade 10 to 12. This is an important step in their lives because the subjects they choose will shape their future and this phase in their lives cannot be left this late in the school curriculum. Learners need to be afforded sufﬁcient time to consider the various
careers and how those tie in with their interests, skills and strengths.
It is for this reason that we invested in curating an exciting, colourful and simple to read career guidance book for foundation phase learners, which focuses on careers within the health and social development sectors for kids in Grade R to 3. The book, titled ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was ofﬁcially launched on 10 May 2019 at Mvelaphanda Primary School in Tembisa. On the day, the school’s Grade R’s and 1’s were presented with HWSETA bags packed with the reading book, a colouring book version, crayons and a doctor’s playset. Ofﬁcials from the Department of Higher Education and Training, Netcare, Medi-Clinic, City South Africa and other SETAs attended the event to celebrate this milestone.
What sets this book apart from other children’s books is that it is sector speciﬁc, tailored speciﬁcally for the respective age group, informative and entertaining at the same time. Pairing it with a colouring book was intended to engage, stimulate and bring out the creativity of the young learner. It also encourages involvement from the parents, as parents have a unique position of inﬂuence in their child’s life in a manner that they will also be informed about the different careers and thus become better equipped to engage and support the young learner.
“At HWSETA we understand the importance of making future investments in the present” expresses Mrs. Elaine Brass, HWSETA CEO, “hence we have invested in this creative career guidance children’s book. We cannot wait until it is too late to prepare for the future of our young learners. I am incredibly proud and excited about the amazing transformation this book will ignite. I have no doubt that learners in their foundation phase will get the most out of the book. I believe this book is a stepping stone to the trajectory of the quality of education in South Africa and also in the attempts to improving employment opportunities for the future”.
Furthermore, we also recognised that there is a language barrier in rural schools and as a way to overcome this, the book has been translated into two African languages; SeSotho and IsiZulu, and will be launched in the relevant provinces.
The HWSETA further hopes that the book will also encourage other SETA’S and other various entities to start viewing career guidance from a different perspective and ignite conversations that’ll hopefully forge
partnerships to change the current status on career guidance. Mosima Mehlape, HWSETA’s Marketing Administrator and co-author of the book, stated ‘We are very proud of this book as it’ll start gearing young minds towards thinking about their futures and compel them to ask the right questions that’ll better position them to make an informed decision later on in their lives’.
Last modified: August 5, 2019