Launched in 2012, Trinity Yard’s Career Development Program has three simple objectives:
(1) to provide individualized career counsel to our students and graduates to help them choose a desired career path and develop a plan for the future;
(2) to assist our graduates in selecting a senior high school placement, vocational school placement, or apprenticeship placement based on their skills, aptitudes, and interests; and
(3) to provide financial assistance and emotional and logistical support, as necessary, to our graduates so that they may further their educations and acquire the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a limited and highly competitive job market.
Individualized Career Counsel
The first phase of Trinity Yard’s Career Development Program is intertwined with the Bridge Program and is all about exposure and education. In addition to strengthening our students’ core academic competencies, we incorporate a series of workshops and projects into the curriculum to expose the students to career options unrelated to the fishing industry or subsistence agriculture. We also take the students on several field trips, visiting important local sites (such as the Cape Three Points Forest Reserve), historical sites (such as the Cape Coast castle), and worksites (such as electricians, masons, caterers, tailors, and dressmakers). Throughout the academic year, we emphasize the importance of setting realistic and attainable goals, discuss options for achieving those goals, and work with the students to formulate viable plans for their futures. In the months immediately following graduation, graduates are given additional personalized, in-depth instruction tailored specifically to their chosen career paths.
The second phase of the Career Development Program is helping each graduate find a solid match based on his or her interests, abilities, and personality. Graduates typically choose one of three placements: senior high school, vocational or trade school, or an apprenticeship with a highly skilled master. Each such placement presents unique challenges and obstacles.
To attend senior high school in Ghana, a student must score well on the Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E.), a wide-ranging exam that favors students coming from more affluent regions of the country who attend strong primary and secondary schools. In addition, senior high school students must pay application fees, admission fees, and term fees, plus the cost of uniforms and school supplies – expenses that are simply too high for the low-income families from the communities we serve.
Formal technical and vocational training institutes have a similar set of costs associated with their programs. In fact, while entrance requirements tend to be lax and application and admission fees low–at least compared to senior high schools–student fees and the costs of practical training at trade and vocational schools often far exceed the costs of attending senior high school.
Three-year and four-year skills-based apprenticeships are another option. In these programs, pupils are placed with master craftspeople to learn trades like dressmaking, carpentry, electrical wiring, auto mechanics, and masonry. Apprenticeship programs are typically the most affordable but still remain too expensive for our graduates and their families, at least without some financial assistance. Moreover, finding qualified and dedicated masters can be difficult, and apprentices are often subjected to poor working or living conditions.
To insure our participating graduates are placed appropriately, the Trinity Yard staff spends many hours evaluating potential apprenticeships and masters and developing relationships with those masters and with the principals and teachers at various schools. Graduates are placed only after thorough evaluation and careful consideration.
The third phase of the Career Development Program is focused on support. After our graduates have been placed in programs of their choice, we actively monitor and support them to insure successful participation and program completion. Participating graduates are expected to report back to us on their progress, attendance, expenses, and concerns. Often, students are attending programs full-time in an unfamiliar urban environment and are living independently for the first time in their lives. Accordingly, it’s crucial that they have a solid support network that extends beyond their immediate families. In addition to financially assisting the students throughout the duration of their programs, Trinity Yard staff regularly visits students at their placements to check on their well-being and document their progress.
For specific examples of the Career Development Program in action and to learn about sponsoring a Trinity Yard School student or graduate, please check out the Student Profiles.