CPC: Canada’s National Career Association—A Valuable Community of Practice

Hands held together in support, representing a community of practice

On July 1, 2022, Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) incorporated as a national not-for-profit associationdedicated to the advancement of the career development sector in our country. This step forward in CPC’s evolution ensures the longevity of an organization that—since 2004—has been the community of practice for career development professionals serving the Canadian labour market.

What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?

Community of Practice.ca tells us:

  • A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic, and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals.
  • Communities of practice often focus on sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice. Interaction on an ongoing basis is an important part of this.
  • Many communities of practice rely on face-to-face meetings as well as web-based collaborative environments to communicate, connect, and conduct community activities.

What is the Origin of the Term “Community of Practice”?

The concept of a community of practice originated in learning theory when social anthropologist Jean Lave and educational theorist Etienne Wenger studied apprenticeships as a learning model. They observed that apprentices learn when their “community” acts as a living curriculum. Later, the researchers realized that communities of practice existed everywhere—not just within the realm of apprenticeship arrangements.

What are the Characteristics of a CoP?

 Communities of practice share three characteristics and CPC clearly demonstrates each one.

  • Domain: Community members have a shared domain of interest, competence, and commitment.
  • Community: Members pursue their shared interest through joint activities, discussions, problem-solving opportunities, information sharing, and relationship building.
  • Practice: Community members are actual practitioners in this domain of interest and build a shared repertoire of resources and ideas that they take back to their practice.

Why CPC is the Community of Practice for Career Development Professionals

It has always been true that Career Professionals of Canada offers career practitioners many benefits. As a focused, caring, inclusive, and collaborative community of practice that upholds the highest standards, there is no parallel.

Members often report that they learn more through sharing than they would on their own. They form valuable, supportive connections with other members. Connecting and collaborating with others who share the same passions, interests, and types of problems deepens the sense of belonging to a community. Learning from others provides insights that can help us overcome challenges, avoid missteps, strengthen our own work, and evolve best practices. Being part of a CoP offers opportunities to bounce ideas off one another, share tools and resources, and chart a path forward for long-term success.

Barb Penney, volunteer lead of CPC’s Social Media Team, offers facts that demonstrate the strength of Career Professionals of Canada’s CoP:

“CPC’s social media sites—our LinkedIn Group and Facebook Group—offer our community of career practitioners endless opportunities to connect and help one another. These sites serve as 24/7 information centres for members and, in the last 6 months, have seen 10% growth.

More than 4800 career practitioners from around the world are members of CPC’s LinkedIn Group and have access to timely articles, best practices, labour information, professional training information, and all things career development. It’s interesting to see what members share and engage with. The conversations can be rich!

965+ members of our Facebook Group also share current professional information but with a more informal feel to it. Members freely ask for and receive help to deal with client issues, résumé writing challenges, business affairs, referrals, and more. It’s a safe place to share both industry struggles and humour with colleagues.

CPC Social Media Team volunteers moderate these sites and are among the most active members. They do an amazing job of keeping our community of practice alive on social media.”

To all who are part of CPC’s community of practice; thank you! If you’re not yet a member of Canada’s career development CoP, what are you waiting for? We look forward to welcoming you.

Cathy Milton, after a long career in the telecommunications industry, embarked on the path to become a résumé writer. She has been a member of CPC for 10 years now, and has earned the MCRS, MCIS, MCCS, MCES, and MCWS designations. Cathy is an advisor for CPC and the association’s Communications Manager. She is an avid sailor, a fairly decent cook, and active “pack member” in her pet menagerie.

Photo by rawpixel on 123RF

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6 weeks ago I asked members on the CPC Facebook Group “What’s one of your favourite things about Career Professionals of Canada”. The responses touched on all the elements described in this article. Learning, sharing information, collaboration, networking events, informative newsfeed articles, and more! Support from CPC and it’s members was a stand-out response for me. Yes Cathy, members of CPC are a shining example of a community of practice. ?