New article – Theorising career guidance policymaking: watching the sausage get made – free copies available

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I’ve just published a new article with Lorraine Godden entitled Theorising career guidance policymaking: watching the sausage get made. In it we look at the process of policymaking and ask how this shapes the kind of career guidance policy that gets made.

We propose a framework for understanding career guidance policy which uses a systems theory approach informed by Gramscian theories of politics and power to make sense of the complexity. Firstly, we argue that career guidance policy is made by and for people and that there is a need to recognise all of the political and civil society actors involved. Secondly, we argue that policymaking comprises a series of ideological, technical and practical processes. Finally, we contend that policymaking takes place in a complex, multi-level environment which is can be described across three levels as the policy framing, middle and street level tiers.

We hope that this framework and the paper that supports it will be useful both to those interested in analysing career guidance policy and to those involved in making and influencing it.

Download a free copy of the paper (available to the first 50 visitors).

Theorising career guidance policymaking: watching the sausage get made


One comment

  1. Thank you for the paper! This framework with its three levels is useful in analysing career guidance policy. We have experience in testing a similar systemic model for networked guidance services in Finland some years ago. The data for the model was collected during 15 years within emancipatory learning cycles among practitioners and managers from comprehensive education, upper secondary level education and tertiary education as well as from PES, youth and social sectors. The main difference in our model was that we examined the same three layers with cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary perspectives. For example, we extended the “The Middle Tier” into a network of regional and local guidance service providers. We also worked on a manual for implementation of the model – how to integrate analogical strategic learning processes in the system within its all three layers. Similarly, we distinguished the top-down and bottom-up communication to illustrate the importance of co-constructing a joint understanding for the system development and implementation among all the key actors. We also found that it is crucial to take into account the learning spaces which are located between the three layers and also between different sectors in charge of the career guidance policy development and implementation. A brief translation of the model and the subsequent key questions to support the strategic learning and development of networked career guidance practice and policy are available at:

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