Background to the Study
Counselling is a helping relationship in which one person endeavours to help another solve his/her adjustment problems (English and English, 1971, cited in Okebiah and Okorodudu, 2004). This helping relationship originated from the very discovery that young people need to be guided in their career decision-making process. Okobiah and Okorodudu (2004) emphasise that counselling is a person-to-person process in which one person (the counselee is helped by another person (the counsellor) to help, increase in understanding and ability to solve his/her adjustment problems. They explained further that counselling requires a wide range of activities which should start from the infant stage of the child designed to aid individuals in solving their problems, the problems referred to in counselling and mostly those of decision-making and developmental problems. One of the benefits of counselling is that it helps the individual to develop, sustain a career and be adjusted in life (Obiunu and Ebunu, 2010).
Career, according to Okobiah and Okorodudu (2004), refers to a variety of work and non-work situation which usually span through the entire life of an individual. According to them, career is generally related to a pattern of decision, transaction and adjustments which affects one’s of decision, transaction and adjustments which affects one’s role in work, education family, community development and leisure. The National Career Development Association (NCDA) (2003) stated that career is the total of work. Paid and unpaid – one does in his/her lifetime. Thus, career embraces a sequence of positions jobs or occupations which an individual holds during his/her life time (Obiunu and Ebunu, 2010).
Career counselling is a field of counselling which gives relevant information regarding different careers. It is a process of helping and enabling people in their career development. Career counselling helps the students to select their careers according to their choices and interests. Career counselling is now being increasingly stressed as an integral part of education. According to Francis (2010), career counselling involves three steps which are: self analysis, occupational analysis, and true reasoning or counselling to relate personal and occupational information.
One major variable that affects how people choose their occupations is personality traits. Holland (1987) argued that the choice of an occupation share similar personality characteristics. Career interest is a second factor that affects the choice of a career. Interest may be concerned in terms of an activity which an individual engages in for the interest of it without deserving for an external reward. The reward is in the performance of the activity the person does (Lazarus, 2011).
Personality and interest are not the only criteria for choosing a career. An individual’s aptitude and intellectual abilities are equally of great importance. An aptitude is a potential for success in an area after undergoing some training but a layman may define aptitude as a flair for something. The context in which people live, their personal aptitudes, and educational attainment are other things that do influence people’s career choice (Bandura, Barbnaranelli, Cafrara and Pastorelli, 2001).