Academic journal article Australian Journal of Career Development

Counsellor Practices and Student Perspectives' Perceptions of Career Counselling in Australian Secondary Schools

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Career Development

Counsellor Practices and Student Perspectives' Perceptions of Career Counselling in Australian Secondary Schools

Article excerpt

The voices of secondary school students describing their experiences of school-based career counselling services are reported and discussed. Arising from the students' narratives and school-based career counsellors' descriptions of their services, a continuum of service delivery is conceptualised that highlights features of career service delivery models valued by students. Consistent with international research, the valued school career counsellors were those reported by students to spend the majority of their time with individuals and small groups.

Increasing focus by both state and federal governments in Australia on the post school outcomes of students has resulted in a range of developments and policies. These have been aimed at attracting and retaining students in educational settings and equipping them to make choices about their future career and education. The Queensland Certificate of Education (Queensland Studies Authority, 2006) and the Youth Participation in Education and Training Act 2003 (Education Queensland, 2003) are examples of state initiatives targeting young people in their final years of secondary study that structure planning for study and post-school options within a specific and prescriptive framework. The Australian federal government's Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) is actively involved in research into, and the shaping of, careers education in schools. It is involved in running pilot programs on a range of career planning and career education related approaches (see for example, the Partnership Education Outreach Model (PEOM) (DEST, 2004) and the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (Haines, Scott & Lincoln, 2003)). A logical outcome of current school based initiatives is an increase in demand for the services of people identified within schools as careers counsellors, guidance officers, careers practitioners, careers co-ordinators or careers educators.

The skills required by, and the education needed to equip, career counsellors was the focus of a federal government report early in the 1990s. In the National framework for careers coordinators: A proposal (National Board of Employment, Education and Training, 1992), a national survey of the range of knowledge, skills and attitudes required by careers counsellors was conducted. From this, six major skill and knowledge areas were identified as providing a framework for the development and education of school-based staff-working in careers counselling roles. The report argued that the creation of career pathways for people working in careers counselling settings in schools would assist in the retention of staff in positions that often have a staff turnover leading to loss of organisational knowledge and program momentum. The report also made a case for the ongoing professional development of people working in careers counselling, particularly high-lighting the ever-expanding nature of the knowledge required in this profession.

Within the Australian context, the Career Industry Council of Australia(CICA) has recently completed the Professional Standards for Career Development Practitioners, after extensive industry collaboration and federal government input. The recent piloting of the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (ABCD) is an example of a national approach to the development of career competencies needed by Australians to manage life, work and learning. The ABCD also proposes strategies for the development, implementation and assessment of career programs and career resources.

In their review of western research literature on counselling outcomes, Sexton, Whiston, Bleuer and Walz (1997) observed that school counselling, in which they included guidance and career counselling, 'has the least amount of empirical evidence available to practitioners' (p. 125). In the Wiggins and Moody study (cited in Sexton et ah 1997), they reported that school counsellors who were rated by both students and a team of evaluators as being high]y effective spent the majority of their time (over 70 per cent) in direct service delivery, that is, in individual and small group counselling activities and very little in administrative tasks. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.