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Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:26

Medicine Hat College offering free career counselling to 'find your fit'

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Whether you’re a high-school or college student or even a middle-aged person feeling you’re wearing shoes in quicksand rather than working boots, career counselling may be helpful to alleviate the problem.

Enter: Medicine Hat College’s career services.
Since this spring, the campaign “Finding Your Fit” has been attempting to assist those who seek help, determine what profession may be right for them.
The college is currently offering free career counselling to anyone who is seeking info on the themselves in their quests for new professions.
While it’s beneficial for numbers if those people looking to change careers access programs offered by the college, the idea is more to get people on the right path whether it’s nursing, something in the trades or in education.
Andrea Aarden, student recruiter and someone who can help in figuring out what path to take and how to take it, enjoys figuring out what makes each individual client tick. Aarden is one of the people within the Student Employment and Career Centre who is trained in administering career assessment tools and inventories.
It’s not a monotonous job as every person has varying degrees of life, employment and educational experiences, aptitudes and intellect. Plus, everyone’s personality, decision-making techniques and approach to daily life has developed differently.
“I really do like working with people of any type, regardless of any factors,” explains the uber-positive and amiable Aarden who has been doing some form of career counselling for nine years.
She gives a lot of credit to those who have mentored her. It has helped given her enough worthwhile experience to deal with a variety of people.
“I can offer students a process and normalize the process in order to help them.
“Most (high-school/college) students, they just haven’t had a chance (life-experience-wise) to figure it out yet. We need to talk to them. First, ‘I know I want to go school, but I don’t know what to take.’ They’re ready to come to school but they don’t know enough about themselves to even major in something,” explains Aarden.
“For older adults, some may feel they have no support or they are so stressed, they have made a  wrong choice early on and they’re fearful to screw it up. School is expensive or it’s overwhelming ... Our job is to normalize the experience.”
Aarden feels fortunate to be doing what she’s doing. She loves getting to know people and helping them get to know themselves.
While having a positive frame of mind, Aarden is a professional and expertly administers the tests in order to get people to understand what makes them tick.
“It’s too bad they’re so many people struggling with their personalities,” explains Aarden.
“They’re skilled. I just want to show them how awesome they are; embrace who they are and learn to be successful by themselves.”
She says an initially poor program fit for someone is one of the major reasons students can’t or don’t finish off a post-secondary program.
Amongst those tests and inventories is Career Cruising, the Strong Interest Inventory and the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator. She will administera test or two, depending on need after assessing the client’s situation.
She says personality testing isn’t new, but now it is being incorporated into a situation where one can determine what career path is best.
“At the time, the Meyers’ Briggs was so mind- blowing,” adds Aarden.
According to the Myers and Briggs Foundation, Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ “typological approach to personality theory’s essence is that much seemingly random variation in the behaviour is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.”
The client will answer questions from the test. From there, the responses will indicate personality type and suggestions for  professions which best suit the client.
Aarden has no control over what the suggested professions are, she is just able at that point to offer suggestions as to how the person best goes about either adding further education or job hunting advice.
Aarden says once the tests are administered and the results determined, she or another college representative will go over them. While this sounds like a perfect set up for recruitment for the Medicine Hat College to book new students there, Aarden says this is not the case. She only outlines the options, or “finding your fit,” whether it’s through the college or elsewhere.
For example, Aarden suggests spending time with “someone you admire and time with them just asking questions.”
Aarden will book whatever time is needed for a client to ensure they have it figured out.
“We will explain to them this is what we’re going to do help you,” explains Aarden.
“If we show students what it’s going to look like at the student’s end, it will be better for them, but everyone is different. Some say let’s make a five-year plan and others just are figuring it out year-to-year. When you can be yourself, that’s fun. Doing these tests, it’s going to tell yourself where you’re at and it’s helping you know yourself. Some people are just indecisive.”
Aarden is confident she can help provide assistance. She doesn’t feel any added pressure in trying to right the ship for the student. At the end of the day, what students do with the information she is able to garner is up to the students themselves.
“I’m not worried about ruining a student’s life and what they choose to do,” explains Aarden. “I give them the information and when they are ready to make that decision then they will do it. Sometimes, some people are never ready ... I’m just there to help them on their journey and just act as a guide along the way.
“Not knowing what they’re going to do is the biggest concern: our Number 1 goal is finding a fit.”
Interested individuals can contact Medicine Hat College at 403-529-3819 to set up a consultation.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor