We Need to Value Career Development
By Sharon Graham.
As career coaches, consultants, trainers, and counsellors, we have something in common. We are part of a group of outstanding Canadian professionals called Career Development Practitioners (CDP).
We make a difference to Canadians in many aspects of their work and life. By helping individuals, we are not only enabling them to attain meaningful careers; we are enhancing their ability to become productive, contributing members of society. More than this, we are doing our part to enrich our culture, eliminate poverty, improve our economy, and enhance our global competitiveness. We have a profound impact on Canada’s labour market.
Why we engage our clients in Career Development
We are in the midst of deep-rooted concerns about the immediate and long-term career prospects of individuals across our nation. Most Canadians do not know what “career development” is. They do not realize that there is a benefit to creating and managing their own career. For this reason, they often do not engage in the process:
- Our youth are making uninformed career decisions, which might affect them through their lifetime.
- Canadian adults do not appreciate that they can manage their evolving career path.
- As our labour market ages, people are not prepared for the later stages of their career and life.
As professionals, we know the significance of career development. We need to inform and empower our clients to take action in creating their own career pathways.
Facilitated career development enables our clients to develop a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. By raising awareness about how lifelong learning complements and enhances one’s employment journey, we create better outcomes for our clients. Moreover, by instituting an understanding of the deliberate practice of career development, we are enabling our clients to have a lifetime of meaningful work.
Communicating the Career Development message to our clients
Career development is not a one-time event. Rather, it is linked with every aspect of our clients’ lives – from birth on. Career development applies to everyone at every age and stage in life. It takes a “whole person” approach so that our clients can effectively:
- Determine a career path: Prepare for the “world of work”
- Complete a career transition: Complete a “career change” or “job change”
- Ensure career management: Focus on employability throughout their “work life”
Career Professionals of Canada (CPC) has devised a working definition of Career Development that you can share with your clients: “Career development is a proactive approach you take to create the work and life you desire. It is much more than getting a job. It is a lifelong process of learning and growing. Career development enables you to make informed educational, occupational, and employment choices. It is an ongoing process that you embark on to ensure meaningful work throughout your life.”
You can also share Career Professionals of Canada’s Career Development Model with your clients. Through a formal process of self-assessment, research and discovery, goal setting, and performing, you can enable your clients to create the work and life they desire:
- When you know your value you gain confidence.
- When you explore your options you can make informed choices.
- When you plan your actions you can set reachable goals.
- When you create your future you are in control of your life and work.
Here are some discussion topics for you to start a conversation with your clients:
- You can attain joy and satisfaction from proactively creating a career that is fulfilling.
- A career is much more than a paycheque if you love what you do.
- It is possible to create and manage every stage of your life.
- You can choose to do the work you love.
- Work does not need to be meaningless if you focus on your passion.
- When you are prepared and self-aware, you can make knowledgeable career decisions.
- Life is a journey; things evolve and change organically and you can adapt.
- Every decision you make and every step you take drives your career and life.
- Maintain a good support system so you can survive and thrive during changes in your career and life.
As practitioners, we help people to make tough decisions, work out conflicts, and get through times of crisis. Once clients understand that their career is an integral component of their life, they can assume autonomous responsibility of their own career development. Such a careerpreneurial attitude positions our clients well for their future.
Establishing Career Development in our industry and across our country
For career development to be instituted the career community, educational institutions, federal, provincial, and municipal governments, and family members must understand its significance to the complete outcome of a person’s work and life.
In Canada, leaders in our industry are making a concerted effort to build awareness of the importance of career development. We are starting to bring together career practitioners and policy makers. We are also working to ensure that people outside of our field understand the need for career development. However, there still is much to do.
Key players are moving towards formalizing the industry. We are working together to build a consistent standard of professionalism across Canada. To this end, we have made significant strides:
- The Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) has worked tirelessly over decades to build consensus and develop the Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners (S&Gs). The S&G’s are an outstanding example of a “world-class” model that has been adopted by many countries around the globe.
- The Canadian Council for Career Development (3CD) has brought together provinces involved in existing or emerging professional certification. This Certification Working Group has allowed for greater visibility and transparency for CDPs.
- The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) embarked on a campaign to sell Career Development Matters t-shirts at Cannexus 13 National Career Development Conference. Through this initiative, they are creating awareness of career development and how career development professionals are making a difference to Canadians across this country.
- Career Professionals of Canada, academic institutions, and provincial associations across Canada have created and now offer exemplary programs that are bringing structure and visibility to the CDPs.
- The publication Career Developments profiles progress in the field of career development nationally and internationally. Career Developments is published quarterly by in collaboration with the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) and the Canadian Council for Career Development (3CD).
Becoming a better Career Development Practitioner
Today, anyone can call himself or herself a career development practitioner. However, as an industry, we are moving towards instituting standards and certification. Provinces are working on further establishing the Certified Career Development Practitioner / Certified Career Development Professional (CCDP) designation.
CPC supports and promotes these provincial initiatives and offers Career Development Practitioners (CDP) additional credentials through a Fast-Track Recognition Program. Practitioners who have completed the provincial and/or academic programs are eligible to be conferred the Certified Career Strategist (CCS) designation immediately upon application with CPC.
The Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners (S&Gs) define the competencies Career Development Practitioners need in order to practice effectively and ethically. They are used extensively in Canada in shaping professional training and development programs, certification, and scope of practice.
A number of Canadian institutions offer degree and diploma programs for career development professionals. However, many career practitioners come from an alternative educational path in a related discipline such as psychology, education, social work or human resources. A number of professionals have established themselves through work experience alone. No matter what path a practitioner has taken, it is in his or her best interest to pursue ongoing professional development.
It is a calling, a privilege, and a responsibility to help people to find work that is meaningful. As career professionals, we must keep up with developments in the career industry, labour market trends, and evolution of the workplace. Nobody can do it alone. If you are an independent practitioner or if you work in a firm that provides career services you need to keep informed. You can start taking steps towards learning the basics required for the role of Career Development Practitioner by joining a professional association such as Career Professionals of Canada.
Career Professionals of Canada offers professional development to help you develop your competencies and credentialing program to validate your expertise. Joining CPC can help you develop competencies, knowledge, and attributes necessary to work effectively with your client base. CPC offers various certifications to validate your expertise in four areas. Take the first step in attaining your credentials in résumé, interview, employment, and career strategy through Career Professionals of Canada.