I’m just heading off to the Institute of Career Guidance (ICG) conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon. This is going to be the last ever conference of the ICG as sometime early next year all of the main professional associations will be drawing together into a new body which will probably be called the Career Development Institute.
So the next couple of days represent the end of an era, but also hopefully the beginning of a new one.
As regular readers of this blog will know the careers world and the careers workforce have been going through a lot of change recently. By and large the current government hasn’t been our friend and we’ve consequently seen the winding down of Connexions, the false dawn of the National Careers Service and the confusion in schools and colleges that has resulted from the Education Act 2011. Nonetheless the professional associations (such as the ICG) have carried on battling for the importance of careers work and with the birth of the new association I don’t think that it is false optimism to say that things can only get better.
So what am I looking for from this conference? Well, I want to catch up with old friends and colleagues, meet some new people, hatch a plot or plan or two over a late night drink and ideally learn something. I’m looking forward to hearing from Tony Watts, Gideon Arulmani, Jenny Bimrose and Deirdre Hughes amongst others. I suspect that the highlight might be the careers sector panel on Friday afternoon as they’ve brought together a pretty interesting group of people and it should give us all a chance to air our views.
Apart from all of that usual conference stuff I’m hoping that this conference will also provide an opportunity to set out a vision for careers work that will carry into the new professional association. For me this has to be about positioning careers development as a lifelong learning process that is open to everyone and which benefits all. It should also (IMHO) recognised the multi-modal nature of careers work (one-to-one, curriculum based, online, face-to-face, in work, out of work, in learning etc.) and acknowledge professionalism that exists across the entire spectrum. One of the key messages of careers workers has always been that embracing change is critical to remaining employability. I hope that we are hearing our own message as we go forward from here.