Meeting with Mark Venning in Toronto

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While I was in Toronto I met with Mark Venning of Change Rangers. Mark is an enthusiastic advocate for career work in Canada and is particular engaging on the topics of private sector careers work and what he calls “career longevity” which particular looks at careers in later life, the interface with retirement etc etc.

After an earlier career in retail management Mark moved into careers work within Bell Canada working at their careers centre supporting career transition and change. Having formed his perspective on careers work through a private sector organisation make Mark unusual, but offers him some serious insights about the way in which individual and organisational development interface. He continues to undertake some similar work both through Change Rangers and his work with other career solutions companies.

Mark is strong advocate for the ACPI and works to bring together careers professionals and to engage them in discussion and professional development. He has been described to me a thought leader in the Canadian career development system and as such he has strong opinions about the future development of the profession. One of the most challenging things that he said to me was that as a sector we still haven’t worked out how to market ourselves. Public recognition of career development “brands” or even of the idea of career development is very low. Mark prefers to see this as an opportunity than a crisis and talked enthusiastically about the possibility of us rebranding as being in the “people development business”. The current economic situation clearly gives people a need to get good at managing their career. As of yet the majority haven’t been persuaded that they need to pay for help with that, but where there is a need there is the possibility of developing a response to that need.

Mark is also very enthusiastic about the possibilities of new technology for careers work. He is an enthusiastic blogger who has used the blog as a space to set out his “career longevity” perspective. Have a look at his posts on

Essentially is grappling with the big issue of the age – an issue which the careers world has been amazing quiet on – what does career mean for a boomer generation reaching what would would have been the age of retirement? This is a political and a policy issue, but also a personal and career one – how do we come up with solutions on all of these different levels.

At iCeGS we’ve done a bit of work on this too. If you want to think about career longevity you might want to check out some of these reports.

But, I think on the whole these issues about demographic change seem to be even sharper in Canada and also to be being addressed more actively. This is clearly a major theme that the career development world will have to think about more as we move forward.

Thanks to Mark for sparking all of these thoughts (and more).

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