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This study seeks to assess the career readiness of Office Technology and Management students in polytechnics in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu state. Career readiness is a measure of the extent to which the OTM students possess the skills and attitudes needed for advancing in their career path. The career readiness of the students was measured using six indicators; office skills, managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills, ICT skills, communication skills and socio-psychological skills. The study employed a survey research design and polytechnics offering OTM in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu state were selected for the study. Seven research questions and three hypotheses guided the study, 179 HND II students offering OTM constituted the population, and no sample was taken because of the manageable size of the population. Structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The instrument was structured on a five point scale, type in line with the indicators for measuring the career readiness of the OTM students. The instrument was face validated and trial tested on 35 OTM students from Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo and a reliability coefficient of 0.95 was obtained. The instrument was administered to the respondents and data collected was analysed accordingly. Mean was used to answer research question 1 to 6 while research question 7 was computed using the Arowolo & Ede (2012) modified formula for computing readiness index. Hypothesis 1 and 2 were tested using t-test at .05 level of significance while hypothesis 3 was tested using ANOVA at .05 level of significance. The findings of the study showed a low career readiness index of 2.43 for the OTM students in the Polytechnics in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu State. The indicators for measuring career readiness showed that the students are lacking in office skills, managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills and communication skills but rated very high in ICT skills and socio-psychological skills. The low career readiness index has great implication for OTM programme in south east Nigeria and it justifies the opinion in many researches that graduates of the Nigerian higher education institutions are not employable. The study reveals that much of what is done in the classroom are mere theoretical rather than practical. It was therefore recommended among others that the polytechnics should strengthen their partnership with industry for work based training of their students and a re-evaluation of the programme should be conducted to ascertain the possible strategies for effective teaching and learning of office technology and management courses.



Background of the Study

Career choice has been the major content of vocational advocacy. However, preparedness to take advantage of the openings in the area of career choice is more important than the mere choice of a career. To develop a career is a lifetime process encompassing the growth and change processes of childhood, through formal education at school throughout a person’s working adulthood and into retirement. Career development occurs through life and it is enhanced by lifelong learning. The term career as defined by Herr, Cramer and Niles (2004) is a sequence of interaction of individuals with society, education and organisations throughout their lifespan. A career can be defined as a pattern of work experiences comprising the entire life span of a person and which is generally seen with regard to a number of phases or stages reflecting the transition from one stage of life to the next (Weinert, 2001). Similarly, Collin (1998) explains that the term career arises from the interaction of individuals with organisations and society. This interaction, as Savickas (2009) proposes, is no longer merely just a sequence of jobs but is now a story or an identity that working people build about themselves.

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