In a complex changing labour market, lifelong learning aims to equip the individual to cope with ongoing transitions through re-skilling, up-skilling and the identification of transferable skills. The way careers are managed in large organisations has far-reaching effects on both the organisations and their employees. The following paper explores why career development is a problematic subject for managers and HR professionals (Hirsh & Jackson, 2004) Managing Careers in Large Organisations, produced for the Work Foundation, is based on eleven organisational case studies and illustrates strategies and practices. These illustrations have been selected as interesting, progressive or unusual approaches.
The paper by Deirdre Hughes (2004) on Investing in Career: Prosperity for Citizens, Windfalls for Government makes the case for investment in career development. It:
briefly reviews current changes and developments in the UK economy and industry in
terms of their implications for individuals, and their ability to manage their career in a
climate of regular and rapid change;
outlines the key role of guidance (including career exploration support in the workplace, in helping people to make well-informed decisions) and defines the objectives and some main activities of guidance;
emphasises the importance of helping people to acquire career management skills so that they are better able to manage their own careers;
itemises selected key competencies and performance indicators from the national career management skills framework in Canada in order to indicate the potential value of the framework for adult guidance in the UK.
Key points include the following:
transformations are taking place in the world of learning and work, which require more frequent and more complex choices from individuals than ever before;
the quality of these choices is crucial not only for individuals but also for the harmony
and prosperity of society as a whole;
all individuals need to develop the skills to manage these choices throughout life;
Career development has a key role to play in removing friction in labour markets, and in ensuring that individual potential is fully utilised, including the potential of those who are in socially and economically excluded groups;
The opposite of career guidance is trial and error - an economically expensive process for both individuals and employers;
New approaches to UK career education and guidance can help individuals to develop
their career exploration and management skills, and provide them with the information and support necessary to implement these skills effectively; Investment in career exploration and development could produce considerable cost
benefits and cost savings for individuals, local communities and the national economy.
Information, Advice and Guidance for Adults National Policy Framework and Action Plan
The Information, Advice and Guidance for Adults National Policy Framework and Action Plan (2003) sets out how Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services are seen as having a pivotal role to play in delivering the national Skills Strategy. The LSC (2004) have then produced a document on Coherent Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG)Services for Adults that outlines a strategy for implementation.
Research on effective career discussions at work
Hirsh et al. (2001) Straight Talking: Effective Career Discussions at Work argue that employees need access to information and advice on their careers in order to manage their own career development effectively. Accounts of over a hundred managers and professionals indicate that effective career discussion often leads to practical actions and can be highly motivating for employees.
DfES with LSC and UfI (2003) The Information, Advice and Guidance for Adults National Policy Framework and Action Plan, London:DfES.
Guidance Council (2004) Catalysts for growth in career guidance, Winchester: The Guidance Council.
LSC (2004) Coherent Information,Advice and Guidance (IAG)Services for Adults, Coventry: LSC
Hirsh, W., Jackson, C. and Kidd, J. (2001) Straight Talking: Effective Career Discussions at Work, NICEC Briefing, Cambridge: NICEC.
Hughes, D. (2004) Investing in Career: Prosperity for Citizens, Windfalls for Government, Winchester: The Guidance Council.
Discussions exploring the role of guidance in meeting the needs of the labour market
Two distinct discussion strands that provide pointers to additional resources relating to the contested notion of a rapidly changing labour market and impartiality in guidance.