Two-day Training Take a Step Forward  -Develop Your Career

Within the activities for the promotion of career counseling and career guidance, in the direction of providing guidance on how young people can replace internship in permanent employment, the Euroguidance ambassador for higher education Goce Markoski, PhD held, a two-day training in the period from November 25 to 27.

The objectives of the training were to know:

  • What is Career management;
  • Why it is necessary to manage career development;
  • How to plan their career;
  • How to make a career plan;
  • Why is necessary to set SMART goals;
  • The elements of the communication process and what is good communication;
  • What is assertive communication;
  • To recognize leadership styles;
  • Pitching (presenting) ideas within organizations;
  • Networking: how it starts, how important it is, and how to take advantage of it;
  • What are conflicts and how to manage them;
  • Team and Team working-challenges and opportunities.

The seminar should ensure that the participants recognize their career paths and at the same time know how to build them upwards.

The workshop took place in 10 sessions over two days.

At the beginning of the introductory session, the attendees were introduced to the planned agenda of the seminar as well as the working methods. Through interesting games, a mutual acquaintance was enabled in an informal way, which included an individual presentation of each participant, group dynamics, and work in pairs, followed by the expression of their motivation for participation, as well as expectations from the seminar.

After the participants got to know each other and the implementation of several exercises that allowed the participants to get closer, the implementation of the first part of the training began, and it was about defining the meaning and possibilities of the practice.

The focus was placed on the students and the student internship, what it means for them and what are the opportunities to realize it in the company where they performed the internship. The participants of the training learned about the opportunities and obligations that students and companies have during the implementation of the internship, and the importance of networking and staying in touch with colleagues even after the implementation of the internship.

At the end of this part, which was intended for familiarization with the internship, the students were divided into 5 groups with 5 members each and the same teams had the task of determining the positive and negative aspects of the internship.

The Career Planning session began with introductory remarks about the career as a set of different types of activities of the person, his/her promotion in the professional field, but also the realization of other goals - personal and professional, as well as the tendency to progress in society. This was followed by familiarization with the process of career management, as a process of self-understanding, creating career goals, improving skills, and searching for suitable job opportunities. All participants were encouraged to think and perform a self-assessment through a specially structured Self-Assessment Test (roles, interests, values, skills, attitudes, personal style, preferred environment, and development needs). The session continued with an individual presentation by each participant through a critical reflection on the current situation and how it aligns with his/her desired career aspirations at the moment.

In this session, students learned about setting specific, measurable goals that can provide a path to career improvement and achievement. Goal setting can be used when given a specific task or project or to make personal progress in some way. You can also set goals for advancement, creativity, education, and many other different ways to improve your life and career.

The purpose of this session was to highlight the importance and need of setting goals, especially SMART goals in developing their career and realizing their career plans. In this session, 2 exercises were done, the first one related to the perception and differentiation of long-term and short-term goals through visualization of the same and the second exercise related to setting goals and proposing recommendations for their realization. The exercise was carried out in such a way that everyone present at the workshop was given a blank sheet of paper on which everyone had the task of thinking about three goals and writing the one they consider the most important on the blank sheet. Then the sheets are circulated in order to each student, who for the written goal gives a proposal for its realization. The exercise lasts until the initial sheet reaches the owner. Then the goals, proposals for implementation were publicly read and comments were given.

The session Communication skills for achieving goals started with an introduction to the key competencies according to the European Qualifications Framework EKR/EQF, where communication skills occupy a special place. Through an interactive exercise (teamwork), the importance of good communication was emphasized as a means of motivating, negotiating, convincing the interlocutors, followed by recommendations for effective communication. An activity for active listening was realized, through a set of 4 (four) different specially prepared exercises/activities for the participants. After completing the exercises for verbal and non-verbal communication, a discussion followed about how the flow of information - messages circulated, how they were transmitted, how clear they were, and what experience each of the participants had about the way of receiving and transmitting the messages.

The purpose of this session was for the attendees to become familiar with the types of communication, and assertive communication, as the best type of communication, was explained in particular. Also, in this session, the topics of how to decide when choosing a profession, i.e. what are the real opportunities, were discussed. The issues of what employers want, what their priorities are, and the necessary competencies that students should possess were also discussed and explained.

The next session was devoted to conflicts and how to manage and resolve them. The topic aroused great interest among those present, during which a significant discussion developed. During the implementation of this session, two exercises were worked on. One was a 9-point problem exercise, which hypothesized students to think differently when solving conflicts, and the second was an exercise to assess their personality when dealing with conflict.

At the Teamwork Skills session, the participants got to know the characteristics of teamwork, while working in groups they presented what the team means to them and what characteristics individuals should possess for the team to be effective. Then the participants, divided into 2 teams, performed an activity to emphasize the importance of good communication between team members. Recommendations for achieving effective interpersonal relationships based on respect, understanding and empathy among all members followed. At the end of the session, the participants divided into 5 teams were given the task to apply what they learned and work as part of a team, in an atmosphere of trust, to express themselves openly, through open communication and developing new skills.

The participants were awarded certificates for the successfully completed seminar, and the benefits of the training were highlighted, through the level of acquired knowledge, the topics of the training, as well as wishing success in the implementation of the internship.

Communication in the group went well, from the very beginning through the use of energizers (games), interactive communication and active participation of all participants was established. Then, the interactive approach was maintained in the group, so that through group dynamics and mutual interaction through methods and techniques used in non-formal education, all applied techniques and analyzes were solidly mastered during the training. There is always a need for the participants to express themselves and additional time, but with more effort and investment, the set goals of the training were achieved in the given time frame.

From what was perceived at the training as a need for the future, the need for further work and cooperation with all stakeholders was highlighted in order to develop new skills and competencies among young people. This implies the inclusion of mentors and a mentoring approach, as well as directing the participants towards their career development.