Introduction to the Special Issue: Global Perspectives on Vocational Guidance

Article excerpt

This special issue of The Career Development Quarterly presents the outcomes from an international symposium, titled International Perspectives on Career Development, jointly sponsored by the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance and the National Career Development Association. The articles in this special issue discuss international perspectives on and comparative approaches to educational and vocational guidance that differentiate career development practices in different nations. In addition to the articles in this issue, a selection of papers presented at the symposium has been jointly published in a thematic issue of the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 5(2).

This special issue of The Career Development Quarterly (CDQ), together with the jointly published thematic issue of the International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IJEVG), presents the outcomes from an international symposium, titled International Perspectives on Career Development. The symposium was organized by the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance and the National Career Development Association, and took place orf June 29-30, 2004, in San Francisco under the leadership of Raoul Van Esbroeck and Edwin L. Herr.

The symposium focused on educational and vocational guidance and career development from international perspectives. The goal of the symposium was to bring together a group of international specialists in the field of career development. The participants were scholars and professional practitioners who were among the leaders in academia, professional organizations, and public institutions from 46 countries. In general, they discussed international and comparative approaches to public policies, theoretical models, resource commitments, service-delivery strategies, and intervention outcomes that differentiate career development practices in different nations. In particular, the participants explored four broad issues:

* The extent to which career counseling and related interventions are now worldwide phenomena

* The indigenous national approaches to the rationale and delivery of career development practices

* The roles of career counselors under different public policy initiatives and systems of accountability

* The emerging views of the preparation of career counselors in relation to international qualification standards

These broad issues were considered in three keynote speeches and a roundtable discussion for which the participants convened as a whole. However, the majority of the symposium was devoted to work groups that intensely examined specific topics. To facilitate in-depth discussion and understanding of each topic, the participants worked in seven separate discussion groups. Each participant remained in the same discussion group throughout the conference. The discussion topic for each group was introduced by the chair of the group. The chair then moderated a discussion, prompted by a set of papers that selected participants had prepared in advance. There were two types of papers presented in each group. One type consisted of papers chosen from submissions to an open call for papers; the other type was invited papers. Authors of invited papers addressed a set of questions prepared for their group by the organizers of the symposium. The following paragraphs present the guiding questions for the seven sets of invited papers and moderated group discussions.

Group 1: Career Theory in an International Perspective

Chair: Jean Guichard, France

Some career theories receive worldwide recognition and are often used in different cultural environments. The question is to what extent is this advisable? Can they be applied as such or do they need major adaptations? In addition to these theories, there exist a large number of less known theoretical models that are used locally. …