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Grade 11 is a strange year. You feel like you're almost there, but just not quite. It's also possibly the most important year in your high school career, above even Matric.

It's in Grade 11 that you need to start seriously thinking about your plans for after school, looking at universities and colleges, deciding what degree programme or diploma you want to chase. Your Grade 11 marks even play a role in your application to university!

Also in Grade 11, you're required to do 2 or 3 days of job shadowing. You'll need to find someone who has a career that interests you and organise to spend the day with them on the job, so you can get a taste for what that career is really like and whether or not it's right for you.

Grade 11: Job Shadowing

Story time! When I was in Grade 11, I was so sure I wanted to study medicine and become a doctor. I was sure. Then I spent my job shadowing in the cancer ward of the Red Cross Children's Hospital (I was interested in becoming an oncologist, or cancer doctor) and let me tell you, I am so glad I didn't take that path.

While it may be the right thing for some people, it wasn't for me and I never would have known that if not for my job shadowing. Well, I probably would have figured it out later, but by then I'd have already been studying medicine. This is why job shadowing can be important.

Another story! I tutored a girl who is very good at editing videos. Like, scary good. We organised for her to spend her job shadowing days at a video production company and she loved it. In fact, the company even offered her a job, after she's finished her tertiary studies. Job shadowing can also show you that a career might be just right for you.

So, how do you organise job shadowing? Let's take a look at a few steps you should follow:

  • Think about what career you're interested in
  • Research! Find local companies and professionals in the industry
  • Write an email enquiring about job shadowing and send it off - your school may even supply you with one. You can also make phone calls if email isn't your thing
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to your job shadowing
  • If possible, ask questions throughout the day or make notes and ask the questions later
  • Write a thank you note to the person you shadowed

And that, my friend, is how you go about job shadowing and why it really is super important.

Article by: Conor Engelbrecht

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