The Centre for Career & Personal Development’s latest Occasional Paper is the first to be available on-line – follow the link at the end of this blog. It offers a collection of articles from presentations at the Centre’s biennial conference which took place in May 2011. Boy, do we live in challenging times! When planning the conference in 2010 we wanted to move away from an event focused on policy and were determined to concentrate on the core values that career guidance practitioners hold dear. We had the heady days of supporting statements for career guidance from the Conservative minister at the Institute of Career Guidance annual conference in November 2010. And then what happened – the coalition spending cuts in public services. It then felt that not to pay attention to the impact of these cuts would be like ‘fiddling while Rome burns’. However, mindful of the challenges and the effects on jobs for many colleagues in the field; we still wanted the conference, and the collection of papers, to be an opportunity for sharing both current purpose and future possibilities. Our aim was to pay attention to the core values of impartiality and listening to the client and their story – what we view as a return to our professional roots. Beyond this, we wanted to assert the place of beliefs, values, culture, biography and narrative: to give these concepts space in the foreground of career decision-making. Why? Despite (or maybe because of) the haemorrhaging of talent in some sectors, it is essential that we retain, but also develop relevant career guidance interventions for the 21st century. It is all too easy for these core values to get lost in the call for ‘realism’ in an economic recession. Of course, with reduced and restricted opportunities clients, students and practitioners have to be resilient. But supporting the development of resilience and reflexivity is different from encouraging a person to take any opportunity available. Knowing what is important to us; spending time reflecting on our beliefs and values can aid effective decision-making: it is not just ‘wishful thinking’ or dreaming. As Savickas states, ‘Intentionality serves biographical construction in times of uncertainty. During transitions, individuals should engage in autobiographical reasoning to cope with change and risk’ (2011:131).
Recognising that career education, development and/or guidance does not take place in a neutral context, all the presentations at the conference and the papers in this collection reflect our desire to understand better and do things differently. Take a look!
Savickas, M.L. (2011) Career Counselling, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.