Career Development: Moving Forward Together

Article excerpt

The recent International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy, held in Sydney in April 2006, was a fruitful experience for all involved. More importantly, it was indicative of the level of maturity that the career industry has attained in Australia. The symposium brought together international colleagues from around the world for what proved to be very productive discussions resulting in individual country action plans and a collaboratively developed communique, published in this edition of the AJCD. Australia's adept management of the event demonstrated that this country has made considerable progress in the area of career development, particularly since the 2002 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Review of Career Guidance Policies.

These are exciting times for career development in Australia. More than ever before, governments and non-government stakeholders are working collaboratively to develop and implement national career development policy. The Australian Government has been a significant player in these initiatives, committing substantial funding to the vision of improving the quality and availability of career services for all Australians. The Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) has pro-actively contributed to policy development and has been integral to the implementation of several of the resulting projects. The enthusiasm and goodwill of all players has been critical to the impressive outcomes achieved.

PROFESSIONALISATION OF THE INDUSTRY

In response to recommendations of the OECD review, the Australian Government, through the Department of Education Science and Training (DEST), determined to encourage quality improvement in career service delivery. Following an extensive consultation process, the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners were agreed by all CICA member associations in December 2005. For the first time in Australia, these standards describe agreed terminology, membership of the career development profession, a code of ethics, entry-level qualifications, continuing professional development and competency guidelines. The standards will be regarded as the minimum requirement fur career development practitioners from January 2012. Copies of the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners are available from the CICA website (www.cica.org.au).

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

In tandem with the development of professional standards, professional development opportunities for career practitioners have been expanded. A career elective for pre-service teachers was developed in 2005. Australian Career Development Studies (ACDS), available on the Internet (www.career.edu.au), offers opportunities for skills enhancement to anyone who helps others make career decisions. Flowing from this, a current DEST project will develop a nationally endorsed Certificate IV in Career Development, which will incorporate the three accredited units in Component Two of ACDS. The learning materials for all of these professional development opportunities are, or will be, freely available, and all contribute to the strengthening of the skills base of career practitioners and the quality of career services available to Australians of all ages. Scholarships for school career practitioners have also been introduced on an annual basis. These provide an opportunity for career teachers either to undertake study related to career development, or to participate in an industry placement. They have been enthusiastically received, indicating that career teachers are keen to develop their skills and that they are recognising the value in forging connections with industry. Information about the scholarships, including success stories from early recipients, is available at www.dest.gov.au/career scholarships

AUSTRALIAN BLUEPRINT FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT

The Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) is supporting the development of a framework, the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (ABCD), designed to create, strengthen and evaluate career development programs and products for young people and adults. …