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Career education and guidance is a dynamic field. Rapid changes in work, tertiary education and industry training necessitate ongoing professional development in schools. Careers professionals are constantly refining career concepts and researching effective practice.

Professional development is essential for career education and guidance specialists and career education leaders. It is also necessary for all teachers so they understand the aims and processes of career education and guidance. Many schools have taken steps to ensure that “all teachers are careers teachers”. In schools where career education is seen as integral to pastoral care and classroom teaching, this role is not seen as additional or burdensome.

Professional learning

Professional development opportunities can be provided for teachers and career education leaders to:

  • update their skills and knowledge through conferences, workshops, seminars and peer mentoring
  • develop skills in using technology to access career information
  • understand the family and cultural contexts in which students make decisions
  • learn to advise students on career management and pathways
  • learn to meet the needs of students with particular career education needs
  • undertake action research into career education in their curriculum areas.

Whole-school understanding of career education and guidance can be enhanced by:

  • incorporating career education and guidance in pastoral care and giving the teachers involved the skills and resources they need
  • including a career education focus in other professional development activities in the school, for example, on monitoring students’ development of the key competencies, or reviewing a school’s approach to teaching and learning in year 9
  • systematic efforts to raise awareness of how career pathways can relate to each curriculum learning area
  • career education workshops for staff run by the careers lead team
  • involving teachers in career education visits to businesses, tertiary education providers, industry training events, etc.
  • enhancing staff awareness of career pathways that are involved in events and enterprises they are involved in, such as sport, arts and subject-related visits.

Specialist learning

Career education leaders could be encouraged to:

  • undertake specialised training in guidance and counselling
  • gain formal qualifications in career education
  • join career industry professional associations, for example, the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) and the Careers and Transition Education Association (CATE).

'The college has a forward-looking philosophy to education. It’s a school policy to engage with the world of work – to give purpose and relevance to learning and for career planning purposes. All students visit a tertiary education campus before they enter year 11. They go to many workplaces, and teachers go with them. In fact, getting teachers out of the school and into work environments related to their subjects has become a major element of our professional development. The experience equips them to think of where students will go when they leave this college, which makes them better subject teachers.'

Deputy principal, Teaching and Learning, St Thomas of Canterbury College

Published on: 04 Aug 2009