In #brnoregion, technology helps young people choose their careers
In the Czech Republic, up to half of all the students of bachelor programs quit their studies before getting a degree, usually as a result of different or unfulfilled expectations. The sad part is that many could avoid this by preparing thoroughly and getting to know themselves first.
The app saves time for school psychologists
A lot of high schools have psychologists and guidance counsellors. Unfortunately, not all these experts have enough capacity to deal with psychodiagnostics or career counselling with individual students. More often, they need to deal with problematic behaviour or organize group sessions aimed at prevention, development as well as intervention, leaving very little time career consultation.
This was one of the reasons why Adam Benkovič, Libor Vošický, and Tibor Kučera developed Salmondo app – to help students choose their professional career. After all, they themselves weren’t satisfied with the universities they chose. “As high school students, we realized it would be difficult for us as well as other students to choose a study program and thus determine what we’ll do in our career. A colleague of mine had too many interests to pick one, while another one chose poorly because he didn’t think it through enough. There was nobody to help us at our high school,” Kučera says on their motivation to develop the app.
Salmondo contains a set of psychological personality tests to help students discover their strong and weak points as well as their motivation. The app also offers modules for planning, staying motivated, and coaching. “We’d like to help young people do something meaningful that they can be successful at,” adds Kučera.
In May 2019, Salmondo was used in over 200 Czech schools by over 20 thousand users.
The outputs are not meant for students only – they can also be used as a resource for career counselling, especially thanks to the automated test evaluation feature. Together with a counsellor, each student can then isolate specific parts to focus on.
By experts for experts
It’s not only unhappy students behind the development of the app, as experts from the Czech Academy of Sciences as well as psychology and pedagogy counsellors contributed to the tests. In terms of methodology, it’s supported also by the Centre of Education for All from South Moravia, which specializes in career counselling for the general public and serves as a methodology centre for pedagogical staff as well as the general public.
This allowed the Centre to participate in introducing Salmondo at high schools as well as elementary schools in #brnoregion. “Using innovative tools in career counselling is a very good way to make it more attractive to more students. Of course, the activities of the counsellors are essential, as personal counselling is irreplaceable in this process. The app serves as an effective complement to their activities,” says Hana Rozprýmová, head of the Centre of Education for All.
The Centre of Education for All provides both personal and online consultancy for the general public and young people 14 years of age or older. One in four clients of the Centre is a high school student.
Experts from JIC provided some mentoring for the authors of the Salmondo app, as part of its JIC Master program, and helped create its business model and identify the target group. Thanks to this cooperation, the creators of Salmondo won the Seal of Excellence prize awarded by the European Commission which enabled them to conduct a feasibility study focusing on the expansion to foreign markets. “There’s nothing like Salmondo in Central Europe, so we can see a huge opportunity to easily pass our tool to surrounding countries as well,” describes Kučera. And who knows – Salmondo may soon be used by high school students in your town as well!
Supporting entrepreneurial spirit
However, there are many more institutions in #brnoregion that care about education of young people. And the best part? They often cooperate!
Youth career education is supported by the KaPoDaV project – Support of Career Counselling, Entrepreneurial Spirit for Sustainable Development and Further Education in the South Moravian Region. Apart from the Centre of Education for All and JIC, Lipka (a school facility for environmental education) and other institutions participate in the project as well.
In addition to helping students define clearer career goals for themselves, KaPoDaV supports their entrepreneurial spirit as well. It focuses on the development of financial literacy, business competency, education for sustainable development, and development of a set of soft skills to support initiative and creativity. “Our aim is to have more young people successful in their further career in our region, either as active employees or future businessmen,” says Vojtěch Krmíček, the Entrepreneurship and Spin-off Support Team Manager at JIC.