Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

A Life-Design-Based Online Career Intervention for Early Adolescents: Description and Initial Analysis

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

A Life-Design-Based Online Career Intervention for Early Adolescents: Description and Initial Analysis

Article excerpt

Today's career problems require supports and services different from those traditionally used, such as matching people to jobs (Savickas, 2008). Using technology in career intervention offers one such novel approach. Technology and the Internet could support career counselors in providing high-quality services at reasonable prices through the use of computerized tests, materials, evidence-based protocols, and other information that can be quickly accessible to clients (Sampson & Osborn, 2015). Technology could also enable career counselors to assist clients with life planning by providing person-environment matching activities and disseminating information about training opportunities and educational plans. Career intervention activities that help contain costs and reach a large number of people are becoming increasingly important (Soresi et al., 2014), and using technological innovations could promote real progress toward reaching this goal (Richards & Viganó, 2013).

The Pew Internet & American Life Project (Rainie, 2010) suggested that technological innovations offer the possibility of involving younger generations in important activities in an interactive way. Likewise, Gati and Asulin-Peretz (2011) pointed out that a major challenge career counselors will face in the 21st century concerns the use of new technologies. They asserted that it is necessary to invest in online career self-assessments and self-help interventions and investigate how these can be included within the career counseling process. Therefore, we developed and conducted an initial test of an online career intervention program derived from principles of life design. Life design is a new career paradigm advanced by an international group of scholars to support people to become experts in constructing their life-careers, to anticipate and deal with transitions, and to create hope for a meaningful future in spite of the complexities of work and careers brought about by today's economic conditions, globalization, and the digital revolution (Savickas et al., 2009). The online program was designed to encourage early adolescents to invest in their future and its design, increase their career curiosity and life satisfaction, and formulate career aspirations by considering issues such as the importance of education, self-determination, and the role of relationships in career planning and decision making.

Career Adaptability in Middle School

During preadolescence, children initially engage with the world of work and develop foundations of career adaptability (Hartung, Porfeli, & Vondracek, 2008). Career adaptability involves having initial concerns about the future and control over one's own life, curiosity about how to make career decisions, and confidence to make and implement such decisions (Savickas, 2013). Children begin to think about their vocational interests, work values, and career aspirations and expectations that will eventually become important for making successful career transitions, such as from school to work (Hartung et al., 2008).

In Italy, it is in middle school that students face their first critical career transition and decision as they must choose a type of high school that matches their first professional plan. During this transition period, many students experience much distress as they struggle with indecision and uncertainty about their futures (Howard, Ferrari, Nota, Solberg, & Soresi, 2009).

Students need to use current strategies to cope with this transition period, so that it can be an opportunity for growth and a source of satisfaction for them. Hartung (2013) maintained that, in this connection, supporting the development of career adaptability could be important. Such thinking is in line with studies indicating that adolescents with higher levels of career adaptability feel more career decided, more oriented toward the future, and more competent with regard to constructing their future career intentions and transforming their intentions into goal-oriented behaviors (Wilkins et al. …

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