1. What do you see as the major significant change in the career field in the past 10 years?
One of the most significant changes that I see in the career field in the past 10 years is the range of settings where career development services are offered. Career guidance was traditionally the domain of schools with a focus on adolescents and then directed at young adults in post-secondary schools. Now, we see services related to guidance, career choice and job placement responding to people as they grow and mature and their career development needs also change. There are career development services now offered through community-based organizations, in the not-for-profit sector, in private practice, and many organizations are implementing career services as part of their approach to recruit and retain talent. One of the biggest growth areas is the provision of career development services is through the Internet, reaching people locally, remotely and internationally.
2. At Cannexus15 you spoke about “Social Justice: One Action at a Time.” What is one message you hope is still resonating with people today?
The one message that I hope still resonates with people is the idea that career development practitioners are in the business of addressing social injustices. Many people’s career-related issues are inextricably bound to systemic and social influences, and many members of non-dominant groups in Canadian society are adversely impacted by barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential. Career practitioners have a lot to offer, if they are given the time and resources to support people to move beyond barriers to reach their full potential. This requires us to also take a hard look at the conditions and organizations where career development services are offered. Policies and practices, such as the number of sessions, who had access and does not, and how we organize our services in conjunction with community members are important considerations. We want to make sure that our services are doing more than maintaining the political and social status quo to meeting the needs of all people who are living in our local communities. One action at a time can make a real difference!
3. As you look ahead, what factor do you see most influencing the future of career development?
The future of career development is increasingly tied to local markets and world economies. There is an underlying tension in defining the work that we do – is our role to fill the labour market trends or to help people live satisfying lives? These are not always mutually exclusive questions. They are tied to a larger issues of of what values and whose values will frame the work that we perform as career development practitioners in future years. During economic high points, people often have more choices. During more challenging economic times, career practitioners are challenged to perform their roles in different ways, as there simply may not be paid jobs with employers available in the same ways. We are called upon to support our clients to determine how best they can live out the values that matter most to them, with or without the forms of employment that they would like to hold. More than ever, it is time for us to look beyond our roles for serving clients directly, to consider how we can continue to advocate with policy makers to invest in the infrastructure to support people in building sustainable futures.
Nancy Arthur is Professor of Educational Studies in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary and Canada Research Chair in Professional Education. Her current research and teaching focuses professional education, career development, multicultural counselling, and international transitions. Her books include Counseling International Students; Case Incidents in Counseling for International Transitions, and she co-edited the award winning book, Culture-Infused Counselling. She serves on the Board of Governors for the Canadian Career Development Association and the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance.c