A Busy Month for Career Pathways

Recognizing the dual importance of both soft and hard skills training, Hagar Cambodia established Career Pathways in September 2007 as an evolution of Hagar’s vocational training program at the women’s shelter. The program’s diverse creative training curriculum equips students who have had little education and employment experience to explore their career options and achieve their dreams, while providing employers with an energetic, motivated and job-ready workforce.  Nine classes and 162 graduates later, Career Pathways has become what many employers consider Cambodia’s premiere training program.

On June 17, Career Pathways welcomed over 133 graduates, business partners and partner organizations to its Annual Alumni Workshop.

The atmosphere was buzzing as graduates trickled in and caught up with old friends. Our soft skills trainers led the group in a few games to lighten the mood and set the tone of the workshop.  Representatives from WorldVision, Chrysalis and Boddhi Tree (all close partners of the program) gave brief motivational speeches to the audience.  A few successful graduates also shared their experiences with the group and offered advice to the new class of students on how to get the most out of their time at Career Pathways.

The participants then divided into groups based on their vocations and discussed both their experiences at Career Pathways and the challenges they face in their current jobs.  Career Pathway’s business partners also provided valuable feedback to both the program and the students in general.  The Career Pathways team took detailed notes for each of the discussion groups and came away with exciting new ideas for adjustments to the training curriculum and career services processes.

During the lunch break, participants mingled around the courtyard.  Graduates from the dressmaking trainers set up small stands to sell their fashionable goods, while other graduates scanned the photo collage on the wall and recalled fond memories with their peers.

The afternoon session was devoted to discussions on job searching, interview preparation, and the culture of learning.  As the daylight faded and the workshop came to a close, the Career Pathways team reiterated their commitment to helping each individual find a path to their dream vocation.

The entire Career Pathways team walked away with renewed passion and overwhelming sense of the opportunities to strengthen the program.  All too often we focus on the minor issues that arise each day, whether it is that lesson that didn’t quite resonate with the students or the hard skills trainee who is struggling to communicate effectively with his or her employer.  Reconnecting with the living, breathing results of our work reminded us to always step back and look at the bigger picture: how do we best accomplish our mission of Whatever it takes, for as long as it takes?

The lifelong love for learning that we seek to instill in each of our students is at the core of the Career Pathways team, and it is because of this that I think the program is incredibly special.  We won’t be satisfied until we’ve developed a program of the highest quality possible for our women and men, and you cannot do this without a culture of openness, humility and self-reflection.

We finished the day exhausted, sweaty, and with big smiles on our faces: we’ve done quite a bit in the past few years, but there’s still a lot more we can do.

A big thanks to Soun Sorphea (Career Pathways Coordinator) for taking the helm on the workshop.  Also, thanks to the whole Career Pathways team.  From facilitating group discussions to arranging beautiful hand-carved fruit plates, you all put on a stellar event that the participants truly enjoyed!

~ by responsiblenomad on October 25, 2010.

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