Academic journal article Australian Journal of Career Development

Are We Doing OK? Developing a Generic Process to Benchmark Career Services in Educational Institutions

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Career Development

Are We Doing OK? Developing a Generic Process to Benchmark Career Services in Educational Institutions

Article excerpt

One part of the mission of the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) is to promote, implement and maintain professional standards for career development practitioners. In conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the CICA commissioned the development of a set of Guiding Principles for Career Development Services & Information Products (Career Industry Council of Australia, 2007a) to form an important part of their national framework for career development in Australia. These Guiding Principles accompany the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners (Career Industry Council of Australia, 2007b) and the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, & the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2008).

The eight Guiding Principles for Career Development Services are these:

1 to promote awareness of the service and goals

2 to ensure user entitlement

3 to ensure that users and clients have access to career information and are assisted in their understanding of that information

4 to create channels for generating/incorporating user feedback

5 to differentiate service provision to accommodate diversity

6 to collaborate with other facilitators of career development

7 to provide staff with sufficient support to deliver a quality service

8 to monitor the outcomes of service provision.

The fifteen Guiding Principles for Career Information Products are these:

1 career information products make their purpose explicit

2 career information products are consistent with current career development theory

3 the relationships between key data streams are made clear

4 educational and training information are verified by reliable sources

5 occupational and industry information is verified by reliable sources

6 occupational information is comprehensive

7 labour market information is derived from reliable data

8 authors of information are identified

9 limitations of the data are acknowledged

10 the currency of information is verified

11 information users are referred to multiple sources

12 terms are clearly defined

13 all text and imagery assists understanding

14 products are free of extraneous material

15 information is free from stereotyping.

In 2009, the manager of the University of Technology (UTS) Careers Service decided to audit the service against these guiding principles. This was the first Australian service to do so and in a sense was field-testing the principles. This was the beginning of a four-stage process for developing a generic process to benchmark career services in Australian universities and educational institutions in other sectors. STAGE ONE: USING THE CICA INSTRUMENT

For each of the eight Guiding Principles there are approximately five criteria against which a service can self-assess its services as meet fully, meet partially or do not meet. A column is also provided for those performing the self-assessment to provide supporting evidence for the decision. A snapshot of the layout of the Guiding Principles instrument is provided in Table 1. It contains an example Principle, a sample of the Criteria listed under each Principle, empty boxes to tick against the scale and a space to provide evidence.


Staff of the UTS career service used this CICA framework to undertake a self-assessment of the service. Each member of staff was given a set of the self-audit documents and was asked to comment against each of the criteria listed under each principle. One of the senior staff collated all the comments against each criterion and presented a collated list under the three different categories for each criterion: meets fully, meets partially, does not meet. …

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