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The Work Awareness and You (WAY) intervention

WAY, The Promise Foundation's career education programme is designed to meet the career development needs of the disadvantaged adolescent. WAY rests on the premise that every individual has talents and potentials that could become his or her career and source of livelihood. The intervention combines traditional methods of career counseling such as aptitude testing and career information, with interventions that address the young person's attitudes and mindsets. WAY attempts to provide the young person with career development skills that could place him/her on a trajectory toward gainful employment.


WAY focuses on school to work transition and is based on extensive research. The programme is theoretically grounded in some of the most current conceptions of the human potential (e.g. Theory of Multiple Intelligences) and established theories of career psychology (e.g. Social Cognitive Career Theory). WAY is conducted as a standardised, group workshop directly in schools that cater to children from lower income groups. Given below is a brief overview of the WAY programme.

Orientation to the future

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to view the future in terms of the deprivations that they experience in the present. The WAY workshop begins with activities that help the young person understand that one can plan for career development and that actions taken (or not taken) today have an impact on prosperity in the future.

Self Discovery

Helping young people discover personal talents and aptitudes goes a long way in building their confidence to make career plans and set goals for the future. WAY uses standardised inventories and tests to facilitate self discovery. These tests have been developed by The Promise Foundation and are administered in the vernacular.

Understanding the World of Work

Disadvantaged young people's orientation to the world of work is often limited to settling for 'whatever I can get'. WAY widens their horizons and introduces them to the many career possibilities open to them. A systematic format is used to help participants understand career names and career paths. Activities are interactive and students learn about the world of work.

Opportunity Awareness

A significant problem we have noticed among children from deprived backgrounds, is that they are unaware of the opportunities for employment/training, scholarships, grants and government support that are available. The Promise Foundation has developed a special data bank of career opportunities for young people who do not have the resources to pursue further education. This data bank is made available to the workshop participants during the WAY programme.

Career Alternatives

WAY then helps the student blend information about personal interests and aptitudes with information about the world of work. The career development target at this stage is to help the student develop clear, attainable goals for skills acquisition through further education, before entering the world of work. Important issues such as work ethics, dealing with failure, orientation to prosperity, the need to delay gratification of personal wants and making long term plans are addressed through games, role plays and activities. This part of the programme prepares the student to develop career plans that could be implemented within the frame work of resources that are available.

A spontaneous gesture of a student who had attended one of our careers research projects, provides an apt illustration of the impact of the WAY programme. Almost eight months after the programme, a young man visited us. Full of confidence he walked into the researcher's office and said that he had attended a six month course on screen printing and now had a regular job. Then, rather shyly he said he had something to give the researcher. He drew a soiled envelope from his pocket and said, "I received my first salary today. I want you to use this to help someone else in the way you helped me." Inside the envelope was a fifty rupee note. A large sum of money for a boy from his background. Moved, but curious we asked him which of the intervention groups he had belonged to. The boy looked up and said, "The group where we learned to think differently."

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