Career Development in Schools: Do Teachers Have the Skills?

Article excerpt

The need for a unifying career development framework in Australia was first identified a decade ago by the Prime Minister's Youth Action Plan Taskforce in its report Footprints to the Future (2001). Since then there have been major advances in career development in Australia. The MCEETYA Taskforce on Transitions from School developed the Career and Transition Services Framework and, in July 2003, ministers of education and training agreed to promote the framework as a tool to assist jurisdictions in planning for and providing services to support and prepare young people to make successful transitions. One of the objectives of the framework was that 'career and transition services within the framework should be delivered by professionally trained and committed staff able to access an extensive school-community network' (MCEETYA Taskforce on Transition from School, 2003, p. 2).

In 2006, Education Queensland introduced the senior phase of learning to provide options, flexibility and support for young people to engage them in learning or earning so that all students would have the opportunity to finish Year 10 and then go on to gain at least a Queensland Certificate of Education (or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement) or Certificate III vocational qualification. Year 10 is a foundation year for the senior phase of learning to consolidate the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are necessary for successful learning in Years 11 and 12. To assist in building this foundation, all Year 10 students have the opportunity to develop senior education and training (SET) plans with their school and parents or carers. The SET plans are a student's plan of action for their education and training through the senior phase of learning. School principals are charged with the responsibility of ensuring integration of career education and advice into learning programs so students in Year 10 develop a SET plan, in partnership with their parents. Principals are also responsible for ensuring that career education and advice is undertaken throughout all phases of learning, but with a particular focus in years preceding the transition to and laying the foundation for the senior phase of learning.

The Australian Blueprint for Career Development (MCEETYA, 2009) is a framework that can be used to design, implement and evaluate career development interventions for young people and adults. The blueprint identifies the skills, attitudes and knowledge that individuals need to effectively manage their life, learning and work roles in the 21st century.

People develop these career management skills in a variety of settings: at home, in classrooms, in the playground, in the workplace and on the sporting field. But career development programs mean more people have stronger intentions to develop these competencies (MCEETYA, 2009).

The blueprint provides teachers, parents, career development practitioners, employment service providers, employers or others who are in a position to support people's careers and transitions with a nationally consistent framework that identifies 11 career management competencies and outlines processes for designing, implementing and evaluating career development programs or redesigning and enhancing existing programs (MCEETYA, 2009; MCEEDYA, 2010).

In 2008 the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council received endorsement of their Community Services Training Package. The Certificate IV in Career Development (CHC42108) is a qualification from that training package covering workers who provide a range of programs and services to individuals and groups of clients to support them in planning their career or locating, securing and maintaining suitable employment or both. The qualification consists of 16 units of competency, 13 of which are core, plus three electives. The approved nominal hours of training are 330 hours for core units and up to 600 hours for electives, depending on electives selected. …