Unveiling the realities of diverse professions

The Church of Divine Mercy welcomed youth, working adults and parents to its first ever career fair, organised by its Learning Centre, on April 28.

May 10, 2024

Career sharer with demonstrations of his job scope.

PENANG: The Church of Divine Mercy welcomed youth, working adults and parents to its first ever career fair, organised by its Learning Centre, on April 28. The “Career Exploration Day 2024” with its tagline Career Journey: The Inside Story, aimed at providing a platform for various ‘career sharers” to share the inside stories of their career journey – everything about their day-today job scope, the dos and don’ts, work-life balance, the educational requirements and other tips and ideas that cannot be found in any conventional career fair.

The idea behind this Career Exploration Day was conceived during a meeting of the Learning Centre team at the beginning of the year. The project leaders, Loke Yiing Jia and Alicia Jeremiah Perera felt that young people often lack opportunities to truly understand different careers or even get the chance to speak to the experts in the careers of their choice. They might choose careers based on surface-level information or false expectations about a job, thus leading to disappointment or frequent career changes. Hence, to bridge this gap, Career Journey: The Inside Story came about to provide young people with unfiltered insights into various professions and the realities of the working world.

The organising team of the Career Exploration Day leveraged on the rich professional backgrounds of parishioners to provide young people with first-hand insights into various careers. 53 parishioners generously came forward to volunteer as career sharers for this event and to share their career journey experiences and wisdom with the youth.

These 53 career sharers are all wellexperienced, highly acquainted workingadults/ retirees from a wide range of industries that included aviation, banking, business development, engineering, information technology, sales, medical and health, logistics, supply chain, event planning, education, engineering, corporate communications, as well as archaeology and zoology. The visitors were given this golden opportunity to ask the career sharers firsthand questions regarding their future career plans from their desired industry.

The Learning Centre team wanted to provide the young with information beyond what is offered by conventional education fairs. While education fairs are valuable, they often focus on university and college programmes, admission requirements, and potential job titles. They may not delve into the day-to-day realities of most careers, except for well-established professions like medicine, law, or engineering. With these objectives in mind, the team felt that a casual dialogue or chit-chat format between career sharers and the youths would enable more fruitful discussion and networking than the usual talks.

The Career Exploration Day had about 139 visitors who came from other parishes in Penang – Church of Risen Christ, City Parish, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, as well as parishioners from the Church of Divine Mercy. Many were intrigued by this unique way of discovering an interest in a particular occupational field before fully embarking on that career journey. This event gave the visitors clarity and better understanding of how to choose the right career path and of course, secure a job in the future. Not only did the visitors gain knowledge and insight, but the career sharers as well as the organising team had the opportunity to mingle and network.

“The event was good. I have a better idea on what I can do now,” said Rose Maria from Church of the Immaculate Conception, currently working. Other youth from CDM felt that the time given could have been longer as the event greatly benefited them, and they had so much more that they wanted to know and explore.

Linda Shalini from City Parish felt that despite the short time spent, the event was an eye-opener. “For me, I personally got to know more in-depth regarding the area of supply chain. Got some advice from Ms Mary based on her working experience in supply chain and now I have got a clearer direction on what to do next.”

Career Exploration Day quickly became an exciting event to plan as the idea of having experienced people share the inside story of their job scope unfolded. The team wanted it to be as laid-back as possible to not bog the visitors down with admission requirements, college and university programmes, job titles, down payment deposits and so on. This event is to go beyond academic qualifications to show young people the diverse possibilities within each field.

With the success of this career fair, the Learning Centre team is looking forward to other similar events shortly, that would greatly benefit the public, near and far. — By Pamela Vinsence, Loke Yiing Jia and Anne Rowena David

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