02/01/2010

Four World-Wide Goals Set at Fifth International Symposium

By Marilyn E. Maze

The Fifth International Symposium for Career Development and Public Policy met in Wellington, New Zealand, in November 2009.  The purpose of this invitation-only symposium was to:

  • Explore the impact of current trends on career development polices, strategies, and operations.
  • Build stronger linkages between career practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers related to lifelong learning, career development, economic development, and social inclusion.
  • Seek stronger involvement across Pacific nations and build a sustainable careers network.
  • Move forward on the plans developed at the 2007 symposium in Scotland.

Seventy-six delegates represented 23 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries, among others.  The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, the Honorable Georgina Te HeuHeu attended, along with representatives of five Pacific island nations, to initiate the Pacific Careers Network.  Several international career development associations, such as the International Association for Education and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG), were represented.  The International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP), located in France, accepted responsibility for addressing the action plans adopted at this symposium and facilitating communication through its website (www.iccdpp.org).

The symposium was organized around four themes, which have become action plans:

1. Prove It Works

In order to inform public policy and improve career development practices, services need to demonstrate accountability.  The countries represented at the symposium agreed to encourage research on the effectiveness of different types of service delivery, to develop and share accountability frameworks, and to identify cost/benefit analyses.  The ICCDPP will develop a common accountability framework and, on its website, provide a repository of relevant research.

2. Culture Counts

Career development practices must be informed by cultural contexts and career practitioners need to possess cultural competencies.  Countries with diverse populations are encouraged to work with training institutions to provide cultural competency training, engage natural leaders and influencers to guide career service delivery, and recruit culturally diverse staff to deliver career services.  The ICCDPP will expand the materials on its website that address cultural diversity and highlight research that provides insights.

3. Transformational Technology

Appropriate use of technology has been found effective in enhancing and transforming career development services.  Countries are encouraged to use technology that is sustainable and appropriate to the need, to address privacy issues, to involve the consumer in the design of the software, and to provide training in the use of technology for career development services.  The ICCDPP will develop a resource bank of materials that address good practices related to the use of technology.

4.  Role of the Citizen

Attendees of the symposium agreed that public career services have a moral and political obligation to consult with end-users.  In addition to providing feedback, users need to be engaged in the design of services and the policies underpinning them.  Countries agreed to make their values explicit as a basis for their strategies and policies, to share methods of measuring citizen engagement, and to share strategies for involving end-users in the design of career development services.

The next meeting of this symposium will be held in 2011, when countries will report back on their progress toward these goals.  In the mean time, the ICCDPP will encourage progress on these four themes.  For each theme, it will identify coordinators and a task force, who will design and implement an action plan.  Resources and progress reports will be posted on the ICCDPP website.  The ICCDPP will also encourage and support mentoring and co-mentoring between countries. 

The symposium was co-chaired by Lester Oakes and Kaye Turner of New Zealand and the summary was provided by Professor Tony Watts (United Kingdom) and Lynne Bezanson (Canada).  Please visit the ICCDPP website at www.iccdpp.org for more details.


Marilyn Maze 2009 Marilyn Maze, Ph.D, is a Principal Research Associate for ACT, Inc. and one of the developers of DISCOVER, a computerized career guidance program that includes extensive information about occupations, majors, schools, and other aspects of career planning.  She also conducts research using ACT's extensive data related to career choices of youth and adults.  Contact:  410-584-8000 or maze@act.org.


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