Recognizing that the world of work is experiencing rapid and complex changes, fueled by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, advances in technology, and climate change, the Future Skills Centre (https://fsc-ccf.ca/) has made “Responsive Career Pathways” a strategic priority. With Blueprint ADE (https://www.blueprint-ade.ca/), work is being done related to how career and employment services help Canadians navigate, adapt, and thrive in ever-changing labour markets.
As part of an ambitious research agenda, Blueprint ADE/Future Skills Centre engaged with an array of national and international experts, publishing several papers (https://www.blueprint-ade.ca/case-studies/responsive-career-pathways) generating ideas for strengthening career and employment services, across such factors as
- fragmented systems and policies
- improved evidence
- enhanced labour market information
- removal of various barriers in accessing services, and
- improved working conditions and training opportunities for career development practitioners.
In considering this last factor, several challenges were identified, along with a possible solution.
Unclear standards, training gaps, poor wages, a need for evidence-informed policy and practice.
- Canada’s career development sector is filled with strong, vibrant, talented professionals who are committed to helping clients. While training options exist, Career Development Professionals (CDPs) often struggle to access targeted and timely training and professional development as there is no consistent minimum requirements or standards, no central hub for information about available training, variable support from employers, and limited access to professional development funds;
- The work of CDPs calls for a sophisticated constellation of competencies. While there are high quality training opportunities in our sector, many CDPs have not accessed foundational training in career development as a underpinning for more specialized training and truly reflective practice;
- Efforts to overcome this – such as certification requirements – have traditionally privileged some aspects of practice (e.g., knowledge in theories and ethics) while focusing less on others (e.g., career development process);
- Gaps also exist in specialized skills and competencies (e.g., working directly with employers or industries during labour market disruption);
- Sector workers are often underpaid, especially in relation to colleagues in similar professions yet see increasingly complex cases in ever-changing and chaotic economies; and
- External stakeholder (e.g., funders, employers) often struggle to assess the impact CDPs have on critical outcomes beyond employment/training and CDPs have not had access to training and/or tools to articulate the full impact and benefits of their work.
A home for professional standards, affordable foundational training, and a vibrant online community of practice
- In response to the challenges, FSC asked the Canadian Career Development Foundation and MixtMode Consulting to explore the feasibility of establishing a national Career Development Professional Institute that could:
- Be the ‘home’ for our own professional standards;
- Support broad access to foundational training to promote common language and a shared understanding of the full scope of career development practice;
- Provide a forum for our community to exchange and grow with respect to our practice, application of learning, and ongoing development needs; and
- Serve as a "one stop" for CDPs to find out about the full range of existing training available to them, as well as professional supports/associations and national/international developments that matter to our profession.