Career guidance is an active and ongoing process in which a person assesses his / her skills, competencies, and interests, and based on this can decides regarding his / her development and related education and training. In Bulgaria, career guidance does not have a long history and tradition, which makes the work of modern school psychologists and career counsellors even more challenging and extremely important. Therefore, it is necessary to study the attitudes and desires of young people for their future career, which will contribute to the development and dissemination of career guidance in our country. Here we present in brief the results of a study aimed at exploring the intentions and desires of upper secondary students regarding their future professional realization, sources of information available to them, as well as desired professional areas.
The study involved 109 students from 23 High School “Frédéric-Joliot Curie”, Sofia. The sample is gender balanced. 54 girls and boys participated. The students are aged 12-18.
Based on the results obtained from the presented study, the following positive trends can be deduced, related to the professional orientation of Bulgarian adolescents. First, the prevailing desire of students to continue their studies at a college or university after graduation shows that they are moving towards more highly qualified professions that require specialized training and higher education. This is an indicator of higher aspirations and ambitions.
Second, 93% of students show a willingness to take personal responsibility and independence in their career choices. Third, the skills that students feel they possess are transferable in a variety of professional fields and would help them adapt successfully to today’s uncertain work environment and can be more resilient to change. These skills, combined with appropriate knowledge and experience, would enable them to have a more successful job in the future.
An alarming trend is the fact that students do not show much interest in specialized subjects in school, which can complicate professional choices. Moreover, given that their most preferred professional fields are computer science, design and architecture, trade and sales, finance, marketing, which require knowledge of mathematics.
About 37% of the respondents do not have a character / role model to inspire them. Those who have, want to look like some famous athletes, singers, actors, vloggers. According to Savikas, choosing a role model for children to admire is the earliest professional choice.
The typical characteristics and qualities of this role model are used as a basis for building the self-concept and later integrated into the professional identity. The fact that some students do not have a model to inspire them, while others admire mainly media stars and celebrities reflects on the one hand the lack of vision for their own professional image, and on the other hand, the dominant values among adolescents such as fame, notoriety, achievements, material status.
The analyzed results show that about 30% of students do not know what they want to do when they grow up, and only 41% assess the availability of information about professions as very useful and important for the career choice process. This indicates that students are likely to encounter some difficulties in the career guidance process and need more adequate career counseling at school.