Life centered career education is designed to address the needs of those students who have mild mental disabilities, learning disabilities, or who are at risk in some way. Its focus is to teach these students the skills that they require in order to live a life that involves independence and freedom. At the same time they learn how to become productive members of families and society. They also explore the opportunities for personal satisfaction through achievement.
The students overcome the challenges that they face and learn a number of useful skills. The first stage in this education is assessment of the individuals' needs and capabilities. Observation, combined with verbal and non-verbal tests, allows the assessor to determine what form of training would best suit them.
Having joined a training program, the student's level of competency is documented. This in turn leads to the creation of an individual education program, designed specifically for them. It is systematic and highly structured, with mutually-agreed objectives or milestones.
The main elements of life centered career education are the skills needed to see the student through the day-to-day routines of living. They are taught the abilities to manage the regular domestic activities of life. These include personal activities, the management of household tasks, dealing with personal finances and the preparation of food and meals.
The training also covers personal-social skills, giving the student the confidence and composure to engage with other people. They learn how to make decisions, taking more control of their own lives and reducing the extent to which their choices are determined by others. Students learn to use their initiative and to exercise their own freedom of expression in ways appropriate to their environment.
The third foundational element is occupational guidance and preparation. This is vital if the student is to enter the workplace and establish some sort of career for themselves. This part of the training is highly oriented to their competencies, helping to ensure that their abilities are well matched to the sort of role they will find fulfilling and interesting.
The life centered career education process works best when family members or friends are involved. They can help to support the training and reinforce the lessons learned in a domestic environment.
It also depends on the teacher taking a flexible approach with their student. The student works towards the objectives and gets all the support that they need in order to achieve them. Success, even in little things, must be recognized and acknowledged, as this continues to build confidence.
Life centered career education delivers a strong foundation for future career development and helps to ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities that life holds.